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Propaganda and Foreign Policy - Essay Example

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Propaganda is an important tool used my many nations, including the US, in their respective foreign policies. Given that politics on an international level entails a great deal of competition amongst nations, policies have to be framed in deciding the kind of resources that a nation will compete for by adopting different political strategies. …
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Propaganda and Foreign Policy
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Download file to see previous pages According to Noam Chomsky (1999), “within the reigning social order, the general public must remain an object of manipulation, not a participant in thought, debate and decision” (Noam Chomsky, 1999, p.131). Propaganda is also defined as, "Propaganda is not the same as advertising or art. Art today is preoccupied with abstract ideas; advertising tries to get you to buy something. Propaganda, on the other hand, is interested in making you believe something. It is the stronger societal force; once you start believing in an idea or ideology you will buy anything – metaphorical or literal – it tries to sell you. Once the public was scared into believing Iraq was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction, they didn’t seem to mind that they were being fed lies over and over. Untruths and misleading statements were quickly accepted as reinforcement and justification for a particular point of view, even when proven false. Propaganda is that strong" (MLC, 2012, p.1). This paper will examine this statement in determining the views of society with reference to the roles played by the elites and the media. The relationship between the mass media and propaganda is indeed complex and by no means a linear process. The paper will consider whether the mass media reflects the ruling elite ideology and whether it is inevitable. An analysis will be made of how development in communications impacts propaganda and whether such developments make propaganda more or less important and effective. An examination will also be made of whether instant communication options such as satellite TV provide the truth concerning events in the context of representing objective reality or mediating the reality. Harold Lasswell, who was a sociologist, had written after the end of the First World War that there was a distinct relationship amongst the war and propaganda. He was of the opinion that moist Americans had just started learning at that time, although not a century later: “A new and subtler instrument must weld thousands and even millions of human beings into one amalgamated mass of hate will and hope. A new will must burn out of the canker of dissent and temper the steel of bellicose enthusiasm. The name of this new hammer and anvil of social solidarity is propaganda. Talk must take the place of drill; print must supply the dance. War dances live in literature, and at the fringes of modern earth; war propaganda breathes and fumes in the capitals and provinces of the world.” Another example is of what happened, immediately after the end of the Second World War; Germany had become an important economic and political global resource for the allied nations, particularly the US and the USSR. It is correct to say in this context that all battles are fought on two fronts; the war front and people’s minds, through propaganda. It is thus true that the nice people and the bad people can be held guilty of misguiding their citizens through fabricated, inaccurate, subjective and exaggerated news and information, with the prime objective of receiving support and a feeling of legitimacy. Propaganda serves well in rallying citizens for a given cause but it is mostly done through exaggeration and misrepresentation relative to the given issues in order to get people’s approval and support (Hale, 1975). Propaganda cannot be said to be new in war. It has always been a part of all conflicts and is considered a means that is used by governments for demoralizing their enemies and mobilizing their nations. It is evident that while fighting a war, there is a need for the creation and maintenance of sentiments amongst soldiers and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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