Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chossudovsky: U.S. Propaganda "Out of Whack"

As I've argued before in this space, the disconnect between language and action in U.S.-Iran interactions has created room for broad (mis)interpretation. If the United States wants its message abroad to be clear, the language and actions of its representatives must be coordinated and consistent.

On RT, Canadian Michel Chossudovsky argues that the United States is beating the drums of World War III--specifically by stockpiling weapons and building public support for military activity.

What [the United States, NATO and Israel] want is to essentially have the support of public opinion, present Iran as a threat to global security due to its alleged nuclear weapons, which it doesn't have, and of course present a justification and a pretext for humanitarian intervention on behalf of the international community.... It's a clear case of distortion and double standards, it's to build a war pretext. And I think what is very serious here is that any kind of military action directed against Iran will immediately lead to escalation...

Those who decide on these military actions believe their own propaganda. They actually believe that they are going to make the world safer by waging a nuclear attack on Iran, and they may also believe that Iran is a threat. And so the whole propaganda ploy which is presented in the Western media has gotten completely out of whack.

I may not agree with Chossudovsky's analysis--but others clearly do. While some U.S. politicians have advocated for dialogue and an open hand, others have adopted what is clearly being interpreted as an aggressive tone. Is there a solution? I would argue that there is a great need for clarity and cohesion in traditional and public diplomacy efforts, to reduce the risk of misunderstanding. And, as always, targeted public diplomacy outreach could go a long way towards generating goodwill and better understanding of U.S. objectives abroad.

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