According to the latest data leak from the state Department, Secretary Rex Tillerson is not interested in one of the traditional missions of this Department — that is, to spread democracy abroad. However, may suspend these attempts — quite a reasonable step, especially in this certainly inconvenient time for the United States?
Josh Rogin (Josh Rogin) reports in the Washington Post that the state Department is going to restate its Declaration of mission, by removing from it words about the “… formation of a just and democratic world.” Politico writes that Tillerson doesn’t want to use 79,8 million dollars, designed under President Barack Obama to counter the propaganda of Russia and the “Islamic state” (organization banned in Russia — approx. transl.). This is visible to a certain system. Tillerson, intention to downsize his Department, says that part of his work which relates to the conduct of negotiations is more important than the part that is associated with soft power. He directly talked about this, warning his subordinates that the excessive propaganda of American values “seriously interferes with us to protect our interests in national security and our economic interests.”
For obvious reasons, this approach disturbs many members of the older generation. What is happening see the reflection of the isolationism of the administration of the tramp, the absence of her solid principles, and even its Pro-Russian position (otherwise why Tillerson refused to Finance the fight against Russian propaganda?). However, in reality it could be only natural for the former businessman’s dislike of unnecessary costs.
The report “Soft power: the first thirty”, published this year by the London company of Portland, placing the US in third place in the world on this parameter after France and Britain. The report highlights the unique advantages of America: its role as a global center of higher education, the incredible popularity of its culture, its power in the field of new technologies. However, it also explains why France was able to overtake the United States. “If the us government will continue to follow the slogan “America above all”, to resort to nationalist rhetoric to devalue international alliances and give priority to hard power, not soft, it will seriously threaten the soft power of the United States,” reads the report. As shown by surveys of Portland and the Pew Research Center, under the administration of the trump international image of the United States significantly affected.
Among other things, Portland recommends Tillerson not to weaken the public relations functions of the Department of state, as it “will reduce America to use available tools of soft power.” However, given the controversial past of the President, his tendency to distort even the well-known facts and habits to change views, attempts of the administration to trump the world to dictate a certain set of values, would probably look lame.
Even Obama is a much more traditional world leader — not too good with soft power. The hopes for democratization of the Arab world was deceptive, in Europe intensified populist parties, Russia has expelled from its territory, the US-backed organization to interact with civil society.
Apparently, the United States has always turned out better to use soft power through the private sector rather than through government channels. Hollywood, the music and technology industry, and also quality and dynamic of the American media to evoke admiration all over the world. Their success is inseparable from American values — such as a wider than in most other countries, freedom of expression, openness to diversity, economic freedom, in constant search for new. American culture is saturated with genuine energy — anyone who has been in the United States, certainly felt it in everyday life. Can the government somehow amplify that feeling? Unlikely. However, the administration of the tramp — as part of this culture — it is able to contribute to the promotion of American values. Just look how hard American journalists pursuing the President and his entourage. Countries where there is a vibrant and exciting confrontation, very little.
I grew up in the Soviet Union, where the state propaganda all the time out of their eyes and ears. As a result, I — and my surroundings — reaching for American and European movies, books, magazines, music, clothing. They were not provided by the state and it only increased their appeal. The Soviet propaganda machine failed, unable to withstand competition with Western private initiative.
Now the private sector continues to resist Russian state propaganda. RT, shall communicate to the American audience the point of view of the Kremlin, even not included in the Nielsen ratings (the inclusion of which he would certainly have paid if it had seen many). The fact that the market is dominated by non-state of American mass media. But if some of them support the position of the RT, just because it conforms to the prejudices of their audience. How would use the state Department allocated to counter Russian propaganda millions of dollars? Most likely, he would have spent them on something without it doing much better than he, — American media and community organizations.
Last year, Michael Lumpkin (Michael Lumpkin), coordinator of unsuccessfully trying to get money from Tillerson, Center for global interaction of the Department of state, told how his organization is fighting with the “Islamic state”. “We have created in East Africa online radio station in Kiswahili (Swahili), which is operated by the leading and young that counteracts the rise in the region of the shaft of the propaganda of extremism and violence, he said. — First of all, transmission is addressed to the local youth of areas in which the most actively recruit militant extremists.” Meanwhile in Africa in the sector of community radio are many players — from bill and Melinda gates Foundation to the United Nations. While all of them have one advantage over the American government — they are more neutral and obtained funding nobody can put radio stations in reproach.
Instead of spending 80 million dollars on a propaganda war in which the authoritarian regimes and terrorist organizations trying to involve the USA, America should just give the media to do their work. Tax incentives for the expansion of the international reporter’s network and for the creation of foreign versions are much more effective than direct investment in counter-propaganda, i.e., in the same state propaganda. Every African journalist with experience in cooperation with the American press is worth a dozen state public relations projects. Because the site that this person will one day create will be honest and convincing to impose a democratic and humanistic values.
The US does best to promote their values spontaneously, by his own example. The only reason Russia and other authoritarian regimes create a state propaganda machine, is that they do not know how. In my opinion, refusing to spend on imitation American taxpayers ‘ money, Tillerson demonstrates an understanding of how American soft power. He concludes the transaction, but the American press and civil society may consider these transactions from the point of view of values. It should work like the American system — and that is what attracts people all over the world.