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Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

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Tuan
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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 02 Mar 2017 20:41

Stavridis: Mistake to increase defense budget over soft power
http://www.msnbc.com/andrea-mitchell-reports/watch/adm-stavridis-mistake-to-increase-defense-budget-over-soft-power-886645315519

I agree with the Admiral, even though he is not the first one to state this. Many scholars and strategic thinkers foretold that the fusion of hard and soft power systems, which is known as the “smart power” is the one that is ideal for advancing America’s foreign policy. But it is no surprise that Trump administration is doing this, because in higher academia, it is the “Realist” school of thought (republicans) that tend to emphasize hard power, especially the hard power of states, while “Liberal” institutionalist scholars (democrats) emphasize soft power as an essential resource of statecraft. Therefore, the current administration must strategize a combination/fusion of “Realist-cum-Liberalist” doctrine to survive and succeed in this new global information age.

Here’s a paper that I wrote on this subject:
https://www.academia.edu/31329846/Recognizing_Outdated_Power_and_Eliminating_the_Divide_Countering_Terrorism_through_Smart_Power

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 30 Apr 2017 23:16

While Trump's hardcore enemies flex their military muscles, Trudeau for one, represents and defends Canada's traditional soft power

Image

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 09 Oct 2017 20:40

Assessing India’s “soft” power: Viable in relations with Af-Pak?

While experts have conferred India with an “emerging nation” title, the nation too, in an effort to maintain regional and national politico-economic stability, took some major “progressive” steps. Over the years, India has employed essential measures in its foreign policy particularly the “soft” power approach in order to strengthen its geo-strategic position in South Asia, India too has reinforced its security establishment with stringent laws and “alert” political leadership. This has further boosted India’s dominance in South Asia, not only on the seas but also at the diplomatic corridors. The contribution of India’s “soft” power approach with a blend of strong leadership has not only been successful in maintaining its “dominance” in South Asia, but also strengthened its diplomatic engagements with South Asia and beyond.

The concept of “soft power”, defined by philosopher and thinker Joseph Nye Jr. depends largely on the nation’s ability to put forward its foreign policy “aggressively” but also “attractive” enough for the neighbouring nations to accept them eliminating the “hostility” and “coercion” among the neighbours. On a global front, right after the end of the post-Cold war, there was a large vacuum within the ranks of then power nations, which paved a way even for regional countries to contest for a “seat at the table”. In the light of this contest, the global order saw tremendous military “entanglements” along with practical demonstrations of “hard” power. In the light of a “globalized” world with seemingly complex “global order”, massive transitions of former dictatorship to democracy, aggressive interference of violent non-state actors, the game of “diplomacy” has now largely evolved and the earlier “display” of military power by nations has been replaced by “soft” power diplomacy, a new game at the old arena of international relations.

India’s reinforced foreign policy is not only limited to “extending India’s image in the global order”, under a new political leadership, New Delhi is increasingly enhancing the role of “soft” power in its diplomacy particularly in refurbishing India’s image for its neighbours. This makes the concept of “soft” power in India’s diplomacy particularly important in its relations with the West -Pakistan and Afghanistan. India’s previous rigorous entanglements with Pakistan share lesser “value” during the discussion of “soft” power approaches New Delhi employs against Islamabad, the main attention through this paper will be on two key elements.

Firstly, the events occurred during post-election and rise of a new political leadership, the oath taking ceremony of Prime Minister Modi and an aggressive foreign policy dedicated towards India’s neighbours.

Secondly, the militant attack at Uri in the September of 2016 which forced New Delhi to pursue a policy of “aggression”, limiting the “neighbourhood first” policy to all border sharing countries minus Pakistan, ultimately burning the same “bridges of friendship” which Prime Minister Modi tried to retain with Pakistan. Overall approach would be to understand and assess India’s strategic perspective within the background of New Delhi’s “soft” power approach towards Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Even maintaining extensive external relations, India’s foreign policy gives a priority to India’s “external security”, particularly after back-to-back incidents of “foreign trained” elements crossing the borders into India. This has largely been the foundation of India’s external relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Islamabad’s “frequent” denial of militant groups operating within its territory, followed by its rigorous efforts in fuelling anti-India sentiments in its masses and dedicating its attention on rhetoric sentiments of “Kashmir hum leke rahenge” followed by territorial aggression in Kashmir through financing “local radical elements” in an effort to destabilize the region amid frequent and repetitive cease fire violations at the LOC, have majorly effected India’s relations with Pakistan. Influenced by radical Islamic fundamentalism, many violent non-state actors have been receiving massive “support” from Islamabad. Militants groups such as Sunni militia’s, or pro-Pashtun terror group such as the Taliban in Afghanistan, play an active role in Pakistan’s foreign policy. The militant attack at Uri raised some important questions regarding India’s national security. Leaving behind a “tendency” of “passive resistance”, Prime Minister Modi assertion on India’s capability to protect its borders and “hunt militant launching pads” which later resulted in a successful surgical strike, shocked not only India’s immediate neighbours but also power nations. New Delhi did not limit the “aggression” within the military elements, but also targeted Pakistan’s “basic security”, playing what experts termed as “hydro-diplomacy” and targeted Pakistan’s “everyday life”.

Prime Minister Modi, on numerous occasions, stretched on New Delhi’s extensive cooperation in regional socio-economic groups. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), largely an “ineffective” group, has been inefficient and ineffective due to differences between nations. This too Prime Minister bridged, when, on the onset of Modi’s oath taking ceremony, he invited all the leaders of SAARC in an effort to reinforce India’s bond with its neighbours and regional members of the group using “economic cooperation and political support” as starters.

Afghanistan’s strategic position followed by a long-standing relationship with India makes it a viable partner and a “trusted ally”. Geography places Afghanistan between South Asia and the oil rich countries of the West and Central Asia, making it the corridors for extending economic opportunities. In the light of Afghanistan’s strategic importance, India began its pursuit for Afghanistan’s membership at SAARC as early as 2007. While noting India’s “value for partnership” within this context, it can be stated that economic and security is a priority for New Delhi which plays a principle role in designing India’s strategic security policy, it’s ability to actively support agendas of its neighbours reflects New Delhi’s foreign policy “honouring” the peaceful co-existence and regional cooperation.

It is important to note that, India’s foreign relations with Pakistan is largely focussed on Kashmir issue, “water-diplomacy” can also be linked to India’s strategic security policy particularly towards Pakistan. Similarly, Indo-Afghan relationship largely exists on joint task force against terrorism and stresses majorly on maintaining peace and order in the region, which is largely effected by insurgency and havoc wretched by Taliban. Moreover, it is important for policy makers to understand the link between national security, nation’s interests with key factors of “soft” power such as socio-political, cultural and economics.

The bigger question is “In the light of India’s foreign relations with the West, did New Delhi’s soft power approach in India’s foreign policy successfully achieve its strategic interests?”

(This is the first article in the two part series)

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 09 Oct 2017 21:00

Tuan: Trudeau for one, represents and defends Canada's traditional soft power


Seriously, what has Trudeau's "soft power" brought Canada so far? Throwing in "economics" as soft power is utter nonsense. Economics/business is hard power, as the chinese and the US demonstrate on a regular basis.

what is all these "strategic interests" that got achieved by India's soft power?? Indian commerce is not the same as "soft power", which is traditionally described as "socio-political and cultural" influence. Arguably, Saudi Arabia has manage to acquire a lot more soft power via its global Jihad Inc. than either India and Canada with their dancing and singing. Exporting religion is the only viable soft power that can create influence, and colonial powers and now the islamist states continue to exploit this to the hilt...while "secular liberal" morons pretend that their "civilized behaviour" will somehow stop of the onslaught this xtian/islamic mindfk to turn people of the same background against one another via religious brainwashing that breeds bigotry and self-loathing against the native populace and culture.

As the saying goes, "soft power" (as in cultural power) and 15 rupees and can get you a cup of coffee at Adiga's. What usually happens is the culture gets absorbed and modified in the target country without necessarily brining any influence.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 10 Oct 2017 00:00

Periaswamy, you do have a point. Economic power is not always considered a “soft power” tool because the powerful can manipulate the weaker and the vulnerable using economic embargo, what is exactly happening to North Korea right now.

The American political scientist Joseph Nye, who coined the term “soft power” says it is not a form of idealism or liberalism. It is simply a form of power, one way of getting desired outcomes.

Let me quote one of his articles:

Think Again: Soft Power
http://foreignpolicy.com/2006/02/23/thi ... oft-power/

Soft Power Is Cultural Power Partly.

Power is the ability to alter the behavior of others to get what you want. There are basically three ways to do that: coercion (sticks), payments (carrots), and attraction (soft power). British historian Niall Ferguson described soft power as non-traditional forces such as cultural and commercial goods and then promptly dismissed it on the grounds that its, well, soft. Of course, the fact that a foreigner drinks Coca-Cola or wears a Michael Jordan T-shirt does not in itself mean that America has power over him. This view confuses resources with behavior. Whether power resources produce a favorable outcome depends upon the context. This reality is not unique to soft-power resources: Having a larger tank army may produce military victory if a battle is fought in the desert, but not if it is fought in swampy jungles such as Vietnam.

A country’s soft power can come from three resources: its culture (in places where it is attractive to others), its political values (when it lives up to them at home and abroad), and its foreign policies (when they are seen as legitimate and having moral authority). Consider Iran. Western music and videos are anathema to the ruling mullahs, but attractive to many of the younger generation to whom they transmit ideas of freedom and choice. American culture produces soft power among some Iranians, but not others.

Economic Strength Is Soft Power

No. In a recent article on options for dealing with Iran, Peter Brookes of the Heritage Foundation refers to soft power options such as economic sanctions. But there is nothing soft about sanctions if you are on the receiving end. They are clearly intended to coerce and are thus a form of hard power. Economic strength can be converted into hard or soft power: You can coerce countries with sanctions or woo them with wealth. As Walter Russell Mead has argued, economic power is sticky power; it seduces as much as it compels. There’s no doubt that a successful economy is an important source of attraction. Sometimes in real-world situations, it is difficult to distinguish what part of an economic relationship is comprised of hard and soft power. European leaders describe other countries desire to accede to the European Union (EU) as a sign of Europe’s soft power. Turkey today is making changes in its human rights policies and domestic law to adjust to EU standards. How much of this change is driven by the economic inducement of market access, and how much by the attractiveness of Europe’s successful economic and political system? Its clear that some Turks are replying more to the hard power of inducement, whereas others are attracted to the European model of human rights and economic freedom.

Soft Power Is More Humane Than Hard Power

Not necessarily. Because soft power has been hyped as an alternative to raw power politics, it is often embraced by ethically minded scholars and policymakers. But soft power is a description, not an ethical prescription. Like any form of power, it can be wielded for good or ill. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, after all, possessed a great deal of soft power in the eyes of their acolytes. It is not necessarily better to twist minds than to twist arms. If I want to steal your money, I can threaten you with a gun, or I can swindle you with a get-rich-quick scheme in which you invest, or I can persuade you to hand over your estate as part of a spiritual journey. The third way is through soft power, but the result is still theft.

Although soft power in the wrong hands can have horrible consequences, it can in some cases offer morally superior means to certain goals. Contrast the consequences of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr's choice of soft power with Yasir Arafat’s choice of the gun. Gandhi and King were able to attract moderate majorities over time, and the consequences were impressive both in effectiveness and in ethical terms. Arafat’s strategy of hard power, by contrast, killed innocent Israelis and drove Israeli moderates into the arms of the hard right.

Hard power Can Be measured, and Soft Power Cannot

False. Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland has complained that soft power, like globalization, is too elastic a concept to be useful. Like others, he fails to understand the difference between power resources and behavior. In fact, its quite possible to quantify sources of soft power. One can, for example, measure and compare the cultural, communications, and diplomatic resources that might produce soft power for a country. Public opinion polls can quantify changes in a country's attractiveness over time. Nor is hard power as easy to quantify as Hoagland seems to believe. The apparent precision of the measurement of hard power resources is often spurious and might be called the concrete fallacy the notion that the only important resources are those that can be dropped on your foot (or on a city). That’s a mistake. The United States had far more measurable military resources than North Vietnam, but it nonetheless lost the Vietnam War. Whether soft power produces behavior that we want will depend on the context and the skills with which the resources are converted into outcomes.

Europe Counts Too Much on Soft Power and the United States Too Much on Hard Power

True. Robert Kagans clever phrase that Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus is an overstatement, but it contains a core of truth. Europe has successfully used the attraction of its successful political and economic integration to obtain outcomes it wants, and the United States has often acted as though its military preeminence can solve all problems. But it is a mistake to rely on hard or soft power alone. The ability to combine them effectively might be termed smart power. During the Cold War, the West used hard power to deter Soviet aggression, while it also used soft power to erode faith in Communism behind the iron curtain. That was smart power. To be smart today, Europe should invest more in its hard-power resources, and the United States should pay more attention to its soft power.

The Bush Administration Neglects Americas Soft Power

More true in the first term than the second. When Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked about soft power in 2003, he replied I don't know what it means. The administration and the country paid a high price for that ignorance. Fortunately, in Bush's second term, with Condoleezza Rice and Karen Hughes at the State Department and Rumsfeld's reputation dented by the kind of failures the private sector would never tolerate, the second term team has shown an increased concern about Americas soft power. The president has stressed values in foreign policy and has increased the budget for public diplomacy.

Some Goals Can Only Be Achieved by Hard Power

No Doubt. North Korean dictator Kim Jong Ils penchant for Hollywood movies is unlikely to affect his decision on developing nuclear weapons. Hard power just might dissuade him, particularly if China agreed to economic sanctions. Nor will soft power be sufficient to stop the Iranian nuclear program, though the legitimacy of the administrations current multilateral approach may help to recruit other countries to a coalition that isolates Iran. And soft power got nowhere in luring the Taliban away from al Qaeda in the 1990s. It took American military might to do that. But other goals, such as the promotion of democracy and human rights are better achieved by soft power. Coercive democratization has its limits as the United States has (re)discovered in Iraq.

Military Resources Produce Only Hard Power

No. The mention of hard power immediately conjures up images of tanks, fighters, and missiles. But military prowess and competence can sometimes create soft power. Dictators such as Hitler and Stalin cultivated myths of invincibility and inevitability to structure expectations and attract others to join their cause. As Osama bin Laden has said, people are attracted to a strong horse rather than a weak horse. A well-run military can be a source of admiration. The impressive job of the U.S. military in providing humanitarian relief after the Indian Ocean tsunami and the South Asian earthquake in 2005 helped restore the attractiveness of the United States. Military-to-military cooperation and training programs, for example, can establish transnational networks that enhance a country's soft power.

Of course, misuse of military resources can also undercut soft power. The Soviets had a great deal of soft power in the years after World War II, but they destroyed it by the way they used their hard power against Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Brutality and indifference to just war principles of discrimination and proportionality can also destroy legitimacy. The efficiency of the initial U.S. military invasion of Iraq in 2003 created admiration in the eyes of some foreigners, but that soft power was undercut by the subsequent inefficiency of the occupation and the scenes of mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.


Soft Power Is Difficult to Use.

Partly true. Governments can control and change foreign policies. They can spend money on public diplomacy, broadcasting, and exchange programs. They can promote, but not control popular culture. In that sense, one of the key resources that produce soft power is largely independent of government control. That is why the Council on Foreign Relations recently suggested the formation of a Corporation for Public Diplomacymodeled on the U.S. Corporation for Public Broadcasting to engage wider participation among private groups and individuals (who are often unwilling to be part of official government productions).

Soft Power Is Irrelevant to the Current Terrorist Threat

False. There is a small likelihood that the West will ever attract such people as Mohammed Atta or Osama bin Laden. We need hard power to deal with people like them. But the current terrorist threat is not Samuel Huntington's clash of civilizations. It is a civil war within Islam between a majority of moderates and a small minority who want to coerce others into an extremist and oversimplified version of their religion. The United States cannot win unless the moderates win. We cannot win unless the number of people the extremists are recruiting is lower than the number we are killing and deterring. Rumsfeld himself asked in a 2003 memo: Are we capturing, killing, or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrasas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training, and deploying against us? That equation will be very hard to balance without a strategy to win hearts and minds. Soft power is more relevant than ever.


In my opinion, however, while counterterrorism operations most often require “hard power” apparatuses, which include intelligence, law, policing, and military power, it must increasingly make use of "soft power" tools that consist of political, social, cultural and religious tools, alongside broader policy initiatives dealing with the environment, development, critical infrastructure, migration, and humanitarian intervention, in which a nation's civil society plays a vital role. Nonetheless, Nye concluded, a great nation’s interests in world politics can be better achieved by "smart power", a combination of both soft and hard power.
Last edited by Tuan on 10 Oct 2017 02:16, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 10 Oct 2017 00:05

Tuan, I think Nye is full of it, but he has to earn his keep by writing stuff that can be repeated by people who think he is saying something new. Clearly, "smart power" "soft power" "squishy power" are just random terms that have been conjured up the likes of Nye and terms that are provided meaning due to their alleged effectiveness in pushing national interests. History has shown that the only surefire way to grab hearts and minds is to go for the family jewels. Just because US culture is popular in India, has not stopped either country from pushing their own core interests against the other country. So what good is a so called "power leverage" that has no effect on the behavior of an adversary who has no intention of sacrificing core interests?

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 10 Oct 2017 00:15

periaswamy wrote:So what good is a so called "power leverage" that has no effect on the behavior of an adversary who has no intention of sacrificing core interests?


What do you mean? and who do you imply?

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 10 Oct 2017 00:18

What do you mean? and who do you imply?


Examples abound as to when soft power has not done the trick in defending sovereign interests -- Raj Kapoor songs being popular in China before the 1962 war, to name one example. Probably easier for you to provide an example or two of when this "soft power" has created leverage in moderating the behavior of an adversarial state.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 10 Oct 2017 00:27

periaswamy wrote:
What do you mean? and who do you imply?


Examples abound as to when soft power has not done the trick in defending sovereign interests -- Raj Kapoor songs being popular in China before the 1962 war, to name one example. Probably easier for you to provide an example or two of when this "soft power" has created leverage in moderating the behavior of an adversarial state.


A good example I can give you is that the Rock and roll music had successfully been a soft power element that intrigued the Soviet people and undermined the idea of communism.

The Beatles ignited a cultural revolution in the Soviet youth that helped overthrow the USSR: former spy
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/b ... -1.1360024

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 10 Oct 2017 00:39

The Beatles ignited a cultural revolution in the Soviet youth that helped overthrow the USSR: former spy


What utter nonsense. Just because such things are written in some newspaper attributed to a "former spy", does not make it true. USSR's centralized economy and its inability to exploit its own abundant resources to become an economic power caused it to balkanize in the end in the 1990s. The Beatles disbanded by 1970. Just because they were popular in the USSR at the time of breakup or before, does not mean Beatles music was relevant to the breakup. Correlation is not causation.

You would have to provide some example where some cultural icon or event motivated internal subversion in some adversarial state, resulting in loss of power. All you need is a few guns and some tanks to put an end to all such cultural "soft power" if it challenges authority..there are lots of examples of this kind of thing, one such example being Tiananmen.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 10 Oct 2017 00:50

periaswamy wrote:
The Beatles ignited a cultural revolution in the Soviet youth that helped overthrow the USSR: former spy


What utter nonsense. Just because such things are written in some newspaper attributed to a "former spy", does not make it true. USSR's centralized economy and its inability to exploit its own abundant resources to become an economic power caused it to balkanize in the end in the 1990s. The Beatles disbanded by 1970. Just because they were popular in the USSR at the time of breakup or before, does not mean Beatles music was relevant to the breakup. Correlation is not causation.

You would have to provide some example where some cultural icon or event motivated internal subversion in some adversarial state, resulting a loss of power.


You're overlooking the obvious though. Why don't you do some research on this subject:
Here are some other links:

How the Beatles rocked the Eastern Bloc
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8232235.stm

Beatles 'brought down Communism'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1028603.stm

How the Beatles rocked the Kremlin
http://www.thirteen.org/beatles/

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 10 Oct 2017 00:56

You're overlooking the obvious though. Why don't do some research on this subject:


I suggest you read up on causes for the breakup of the USSR. This nonsense about Beatles being an influencing agent is utterly false. Don't believe everything you read. The real causes for USSR's inability to hold together are well documented and pretending the Beatles were somehow relevant to all that is just hilarious.

If you grew up in the 70s in India, you were regularly bombarded by Soviet propaganda books and magazines (New Century Book House), and american propaganda books and magazines, both trying to use "soft power" to grab the hearts and minds of countries that were on the fence during the cold war. None of it really mattered a damn in the end. Images of long queues in bread shops (similar to Indians standing in similarly long queues in ration shops in India) and the lack of such in the US, were probably more influential in terms of contrasting the cultures, and more than ballerinas trotting around in ballet attire or Bruce Springsteen singing "Born in the USA".
Last edited by periaswamy on 10 Oct 2017 01:03, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 10 Oct 2017 00:58

Here is just another example of how the Indian musician A.R. Rahman's music indoctrinated a LTTE cadre to defect

Strategy Silos and Counterterrorist ‘Smart’ Power: Fusing Hard Militaries and Soft Cultures to Fight Extremism
http://moderndiplomacy.eu/index.php?opt ... -extremism

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Gerard » 10 Oct 2017 01:01

How much of this soft power just another facet of Hybrid War?

Sergey Lavrov:
It is an interesting term, but I would apply it above all to the United States and its war strategy – it is truly a hybrid war aimed not so much at defeating the enemy militarily as at changing the regimes in the states that pursue a policy Washington does not like. It is using financial and economic pressure, information attacks, using others on the perimeter of a corresponding state as proxies and of course information and ideological pressure through externally financed non-governmental organisations. Is it not a hybrid process and not what we call war?


Volodymyr Horbulin:
One of the main characteristic features of modern hybrid war is its destructive impact in the field of information. Access to information is almost unlimited now. But one must know how to use this information. That is why we should describe education not only as knowledge, but more in terms of understanding, the ability to develop critical thinking in citizens; education should be measured by in one’s critical approach to information flow, the ability to analyze and draw conclusions, an ability to form accurate opinions based on reality. In this case, an educated person won’t become a victim of information and psychological manipulation, especially via social networks.

Certain tools of hybrid aggression have been already used by Russia against Ukraine: it is economic pressure, as well as information. I would say it is merciless exploitation of opportunities of an open information space with regard to our people. But when the military intervention in Ukraine began, all the available arsenal of a hybrid war was involved openly. We have long lived in the conditions of a hybrid war, but we’ve never felt the fact that the whole world is in a web of hybrid war elements, which is being weaved against us.


Philip Breedlove:
Together, Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve
Informationally, this is probably the most impressive new part of this hybrid war, all of the different tools to create a false narrative... We begin to talk about the speed and the power of a lie, how to get a false narrative out, and then how to sustain that false narrative through all of the new tools that are out there... Military tools remain relatively unchanged ... But how they are used or how they are hidden in their use, is the new part of this hybrid war. How do we recognize, how do we characterize and then how do we attribute this new employment of the military in a way that is built to bring about ambiguity?

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 10 Oct 2017 01:22

Gerard, I do agree with what you have quoted above.
To sum it up, what is going on in Iraq and Syria today is a “hybrid warfare” which needs a multipronged response. While hard power can address a solution militarily alone, soft power, on the other hand, could bring about a solution politically, diplomatically, economically, socially, culturally, religiously, and educationally. The latter is what I consider a multipronged response to a hybrid threat.
http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/arti ... esnt-want/
Last edited by Tuan on 10 Oct 2017 01:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 10 Oct 2017 01:25

It does not seem like twitter, google, and facebook and similar social media platforms are instruments of soft power --- the real power of these two platforms seem to be that private corporations can successfully suppress or amplify specific view points in a targeted manner. Since the power of these platforms belongs to those who can control the flow of information, i.e., the people own the source code that run these platforms, this falls in the domain of hard scientific/engineering power that is used to spread propaganda or disinformation. The "soft power" part of this is the creation of agents of influence like pewdiepie and other unlikely individuals who have enormous influence outside the mainstream.

The promise of these platforms is that they provide a basis for quickly disseminating disinformation, but this is a double-edged sword, especially when the influencing agents for different cross-sections of society are different, and each group wallows in its own echo chamber for the most part.

Once "trusted voices" with a large number of followers can spread information fast, and this information goes against the grain of the narrative of the sovereign power in charge, the companies that run these platforms cooperate with the govt. in suppressing narratives that are not "helpful".

When this happens (and it does happen very often) Twitter. Google, and Facebook have no compunctions about suppressing the spread of information by muting those sources of information or restricting them to certain locales. These companies have been indulging in such behavior pretty aggressively these days. Even traditional media companies join in creating specific narratives carved using influential journalists and talking heads.

One example is how the fake narrative of the four-year old "syrian rebel child" Bana Alabed who curiously speaks like an ISIS agent being given airplay by all the talking heads in CNN and NBC and other mainstream media sites...not that everyone buys this bogus narrative. But just giving an example.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 10 Oct 2017 02:49

Tuan: soft power, on the other hand, could bring about a solution politically, diplomatically, economically, socially, culturally, religiously, and educationally.


You keep saying this over and over again, and all you can provide is some dubious example of Beatles causing the down fall of USSR and AR Rahman destroying the LTTE. Both these examples are bogus: LTTE was destroyed militarily and by ruthlessly eliminating the entire top cadre of the group, notwithstanding the size of AR Rahman's fan base among the LTTE cadre.

The two elements in the above list that provide actual leverage are the economic and religious ones. ISIS is an example of the latter kind of "soft power" from the ME kingdoms...one could go so far as to say that "soft power" has been the root cause for inflaming this conflict rather than bringing it closer to a solution. Incessant bombing of the ISIS rats and killing them off has been the core of bringing back peace to the region.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 10 Oct 2017 03:28

periaswamy wrote:
Tuan: soft power, on the other hand, could bring about a solution politically, diplomatically, economically, socially, culturally, religiously, and educationally.


You keep saying this over and over again, and all you can provide is some dubious example of Beatles causing the down fall of USSR and AR Rahman destroying the LTTE. Both these examples are bogus: LTTE was destroyed militarily and by ruthlessly eliminating the entire top cadre of the group, notwithstanding the size of AR Rahman's fan base among the LTTE cadre.

The two elements in the above list that provide actual leverage are the economic and religious ones. ISIS is an example of the latter kind of "soft power" from the ME kingdoms...one could go so far as to say that "soft power" has been the root cause for inflaming this conflict rather than bringing it closer to a solution. Incessant bombing of the ISIS rats and killing them off has been the core of bringing back peace to the region.


You are misinformed. Intelligence was capital in counterterrorism operations against the LTTE, which was only possible through the defection of many LTTE top cadres, that eventually led to the demise of the organization. Soft power plays a great role in engineering such defection.

There are so much going on behind closed doors of the intelligence community that you and I don't know of yet. For instance, instead of dropping bombs, the NATO has just begun a psychological warfare project in Iraq and dropping soccer balls with the message to ISIS fighters that "leave Daesh and join us to play soccer", which was backed by the Iraqi forces offensive ultimately led to the surrender of thousands of Daesh fighters recently.

Have you read anything about this in the media? You just don't believe what you can't explain.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Pathik » 10 Oct 2017 08:35

This is a very interesting and an oft overlooked topic indeed. Using soft power is as strategic as it gets. Though I would agree with most posters on BRF on the discrete use of soft power, we generally tend to look at tactical solutions (rather than strategic) to issues of indian interest. This could be due to several reasons:
1. Indian polity and nation buliding as a whole started very late for a democracy this size vis-a-vis the ROW
2. Indian politics and political parties have mostly relied on short term objectives and short public memories to achieve their goals
3. We haven't had enough case studies in general public discourse on strategic solutions to national issues, which unfortunately includes the MSM and now the SM
4. Past experiments with the truth (no pun intended) haven't really worked in favour of national interests
5. Most people want issues to be resolved within their half or full life times

People made fun when baba Ramdev said that yoga and meditation can end naxal problem. There is an element of truth in this statement. Ramdev is by no means a Gandhi and well understands the power of the danda over 'Lathi' but knows that after tackling the immediate problem with the use of force, the long term solution for the root cause is to cleanse the ideology by a medium like yoga and dharma.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 10 Oct 2017 19:00

Tuan wrote:You are misinformed. Intelligence was capital in counterterrorism operations against the LTTE, which was only possible through the defection of many LTTE top cadres, that eventually led to the demise of the organization. Soft power plays a great role in engineering such defection.


If you are talking about developing spies in enemy organizations, it is well known that only people are already on the fence and predisposed to switching sides are targeted. People who are not as strongly motivated about the ideology and have become disillusioned down the line. "Soft power" playing a major role is basically saying that emotionally manipulating people who are already on the fence is key, and that is not something to disagree with. However, this is NOT "soft power as a strategy" which is what you are talking about here. "soft power" the way you refer to it claims to create mass psychological leverage via cultural and emotional manipulation -- that completely ignores the fact that such claims can only be validated if they have the power to subvert power centers of the adversary. After all, when we refer to "hard power", we are talking about coercing power centers in adversarial states via military and economic means, so one would have to demand similar outcomes from "soft power" if the claim is that it has strategic uses in weakening power centers, like "hard power" does.


Tuan wrote:There are so much going on behind closed doors of the intelligence community that you and I don't know of yet. For instance, instead of dropping bombs, the NATO has just begun a psychological warfare project in Iraq and dropping soccer balls with the message to ISIS fighters that "leave Daesh and join us to play soccer", which was backed by the Iraqi forces offensive ultimately led to the surrender of thousands of Daesh fighters recently.

Have you read anything about this in the media? You just don't believe what you can't explain.



There have been many reports in the media about ISIS cadre being disillusioned with the group and its leadership, and many ISIS fighters have abandoned the war, and some have even managed to get out without being killed. Do you really think the ISIS guys are a bunch of innocent fools to think that people throwing footballs from airplanes are full of freedom and goodness to change their minds? Or do you think it is a means of reminding people on the fence that there is a way out for them if they want it?

which was backed by the Iraqi forces offensive ultimately led to the surrender of thousands of Daesh fighters recently.


Oh please. If you go and catch up with Levant Crisis thread, it is very clear that the Russian and Syrian forces are crushing ISIS and slaughtering them...giving credit for all this to "NATO psychological warfare" is utterly ridiculous. Don't believe the western mass media -- they have been lying about ISIS and syria for many years now, and that much is obvious.
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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 10 Oct 2017 20:10

"hybrid power" seems to suggest that soft power can be combined with hard power to create channeled propaganda and disinformation to large groups of people. For this you need a hard power such as a social media platform with the source code owned by a corporation that owes its allegiance to a foreign govt. and (b) a set of voices that operate on these social media platforms and manage to gain the trust of the local populace on local issues to the extent of being able to influence their behavior and attitude towards the govt. of the day. All that remains is manipulating these social media power centers psychologically or otherwise, to push the agenda of the foreign entity that owns the social media platform.

The Chinese and Russians are ahead of the game by ensuring that their largest social media companies are local companies that operate under local ownership, unlike India. Countries like India that depend on foreign companies like Facebook and Twitter to provide a local social media platform are more vulnerable to such manipulation. If India does not manage to create a weibo or its equivalent and let the Googles and Facebook have the monopoly on social media platforms like they do today, it is going to be rough to keep ahead of the cycles of propaganda/disinformation down the line without shutting down the entire platform, which may not be feasible if such platforms are tied into the local commercial and business networks in the country.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 10 Oct 2017 22:42

Pathik wrote:1. Indian polity and nation buliding as a whole started very late for a democracy this size vis-a-vis the ROW
2. Indian politics and political parties have mostly relied on short term objectives and short public memories to achieve their goals
3. We haven't had enough case studies in general public discourse on strategic solutions to national issues, which unfortunately includes the MSM and now the SM
4. Past experiments with the truth (no pun intended) haven't really worked in favour of national interests
5. Most people want issues to be resolved within their half or full life times


I think the Indian govt. does understand this to an extent and tends not to wield brute force against the public precisely to spread the image that it is not an enemy of the people,though you would not think that if you followed communist-infested Indian "liberal" media that has always worked against Indian strategic interests. In this sense, "soft power" just seems to suggest to people who want to break from the republic that (1) they have a stake in the republic (2) they can be involved in the affairs of the republic as long as they refrain from violence and (3) they will not be killed for challenging ideas ... any naxal cadre who has seen the true, totalitarian and violent face of the naxal or other separatist movements will find these ideas appealing. recent successes with Naxals and others seem to have followed such an approach by offering a way out via dialogue, which continuing to put down violent elements using force.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby bharotshontan » 10 Oct 2017 23:16

Different audience means different effective strategy. Tamil separatism or Naxal insurgency or northeast non-Christian ethnic separatism call for implementation of soft and hybrid power. With Islamists from Kashmir to Kerala, nothing but shaft power works. And by shaft I mean underhanded demographic warfare similar to how Israelis settle in Palestine or how Burmese are reversing Islamist demographics in Rakhine.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 12 Oct 2017 20:45

Re: Hybrid power -- Facebook and Twitter are two of the worst culprits when it comes to underhanded information control.

Facebook is well known to allow islamist sites to flourish while taking down/blocking accounts that even try to state the facts about islam. Now we see Facebook India do a similar thing by blocking users who even try to post an appeal to fund an NGO...any guesses as to whether this user would have been blocked if they had been pimping a xtian or islamic charity org?

http://www.opindia.com/?p=58227

These private organizations run by foreign corporations hide under the vague term "community standards" to censor speech they disagree with and only push viewpoints deemed correct by these corporations. It is increasingly clear that the real enemy of free speech are the facebooks, twitters and googles of the world, not governments -- and these corporations are legally protected too. If Facebook starts to silently prune the accounts of movements that it does not agree with, they can easily create a "colour revolution" in any country where they have a foot hold. China is immune from such threats but India is not.

Of course, India's first amendment to the constitution screwed free speech of all Indians forever, so maybe all of this is not relevant for India. We are all effed anyway.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby ramana » 12 Oct 2017 23:12

Soft power unless backed by hard power is ineffective.

Same thing is said by diplomats that
Diplomacy unless backed by hard military power is ineffective.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 13 Oct 2017 02:36

ramana wrote:Soft power unless backed by hard power is ineffective.

Same thing is said by diplomats that
Diplomacy unless backed by hard military power is ineffective.


I agree. Theodore Roosevelt relates to this: "speak softly, and carry a big stick". In referencing foreign policy, Roosevelt explained that this involves: "the exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis"

The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote that: "For globalization to work, America can't be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is...The hidden hand of the market will never work without the hidden fist -- McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps."

To come back to the topic, in order to combat terrorism smartly in today's global information age, nations must backstop and infuse conventional hard power tactics with more flexible and cunning cultural soft power strategies. In other words, countries should apply FUSED military and non-military strategies.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 13 Oct 2017 03:13

Military muscle must back economic power -- a recent example of GoI not doing so when it should have is Maldives and the GoI sat on its hands as a much smaller Maldives effectively screwed with an Indian company and allowed to Chinese to establish a military presence in the Maldives. Now, Maldives is effectively run by hard-core islamists who carried out a successful coup against an India-friendly elected govt. Nepal is an example of how the GoI successfully managed to keep the Nepali govt. from swinging to China in recent times.

However, military power is less useful when the country is geographically distant and in such cases, enabling technologies that will allow propaganda and psychological warfare to mobilize citizens of a foreign nation have less political cost and are far more viable. NGOs are known to be useful tools in creating a network of individuals to push agendas of their host country in foreign nations under the guise of social work, and social media platforms enhance the ability of these networks to communicate and operate on foreign soil to further subversive goals. All the colour revolutions in Eastern Europe were of this nature. Unlike the ideological "cold wars" of the past, these kind of wars/subversion seems to have an economic motive these days. JMTs

AFAICT, these fused soft-power methods used by the military in Afghanisthan and elsewhere are not achieving anything noteworthy.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby ramana » 13 Oct 2017 04:39

periaswamy now that we have enough info why don't you write an article from your POV?

Tuan I suppose this thread is to collect thoughts for your POV?

let both articles be posted here as Opposing points of view.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 13 Oct 2017 09:09

ramana wrote:periaswamy now that we have enough info why don't you write an article from your POV?

Tuan I suppose this thread is to collect thoughts for your POV?

let both articles be posted here as Opposing points of view.


Ramanaji, my purpose of starting this thread on BRF and many other defence forums goes far beyond collecting thoughts for POV. For the record, I am a keynote speaker on this subject matter in numerous conferences in North America and Europe.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby chetak » 13 Oct 2017 15:03

periaswamy wrote:Military muscle must back economic power -- a recent example of GoI not doing so when it should have is Maldives and the GoI sat on its hands as a much smaller Maldives effectively screwed with an Indian company and allowed to Chinese to establish a military presence in the Maldives. Now, Maldives is effectively run by hard-core islamists who carried out a successful coup against an India-friendly elected govt. Nepal is an example of how the GoI successfully managed to keep the Nepali govt. from swinging to China in recent times.

However, military power is less useful when the country is geographically distant and in such cases, enabling technologies that will allow propaganda and psychological warfare to mobilize citizens of a foreign nation have less political cost and are far more viable. NGOs are known to be useful tools in creating a network of individuals to push agendas of their host country in foreign nations under the guise of social work, and social media platforms enhance the ability of these networks to communicate and operate on foreign soil to further subversive goals. All the colour revolutions in Eastern Europe were of this nature. Unlike the ideological "cold wars" of the past, these kind of wars/subversion seems to have an economic motive these days. JMTs

AFAICT, these fused soft-power methods used by the military in Afghanisthan and elsewhere are not achieving anything noteworthy.



periaswamy ji,

all things apart, try and read the terms set by the "Indian" company for the operation of the airport and also the payment terms.

Any amreki gangster would have been proud and honoured to be part of such an operation.

in nepal, where we once had pre eminence, we have lost the plot completely with the nepalis. we now have the same unfortunate position in nepal that the pakis have in afghanistan.

The nepalis are now simply out to get whatever they can get from India before an unavoidable formal border and the inevitable security fence comes up.

pragmatically, its time to cut losses in nepal as well as the maldives.

the beedis are also headed down the same well trodden anti India path. It will be formalised very soon when the current beedi govt changes but right now they are keenly focussed on grabbing all the teesta waters from India.

The greedy and wily lankans panicked with their growing han debt situation and came crawling back to us, but that is just for a while before more goodies are dangled in front of them by another interested party.

We should really wake up and smell the rapacious neighbourhood coffee, no??.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 13 Oct 2017 18:24

all things apart, try and read the terms set by the "Indian" company for the operation of the airport and also the payment terms.


chetakji, you seriously think the chinese have kinder repayment terms for the same project?

pragmatically, its time to cut losses in nepal as well as the maldives.


There is no such thing as cutting losses when it comes to maintaining influence on nearby smaller states -- if these states become military bases for China or other foreign powers, would you consider that a "gain", if engaging them is a loss.

We should really wake up and smell the rapacious neighbourhood coffee, no??.


That is the whole point of hard power backed by diplomacy, the topic under discussion, no? Maldives and Nepal cannot become bases for China or the Islamist thugs. "cutting losses" by disengaging just leaves the field wide open for these external players to become a security threat to India. Think what happens if these states start to host military bases and nuclear missiles for external powers down the line -- you think you want to try and engage them after they become a threat?

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby chetak » 13 Oct 2017 20:03

periaswamy wrote:
all things apart, try and read the terms set by the "Indian" company for the operation of the airport and also the payment terms.


chetakji, you seriously think the chinese have kinder repayment terms for the same project?

pragmatically, its time to cut losses in nepal as well as the maldives.


There is no such thing as cutting losses when it comes to maintaining influence on nearby smaller states -- if these states become military bases for China or other foreign powers, would you consider that a "gain", if engaging them is a loss.

We should really wake up and smell the rapacious neighbourhood coffee, no??.


That is the whole point of hard power backed by diplomacy, the topic under discussion, no? Maldives and Nepal cannot become bases for China or the Islamist thugs. "cutting losses" by disengaging just leaves the field wide open for these external players to become a security threat to India. Think what happens if these states start to host military bases and nuclear missiles for external powers down the line -- you think you want to try and engage them after they become a threat?


find and read inputs on the agreement, saar.

What the hans did is neither germane nor relevant. Its what an Indian company did that's a revelation to our understanding of "international" business practices.

maldives, nepal etc have already gone the han way. They look to India for "housekeeping" services and we oblige in the hope that we will have a say in their affairs.

The next thing will be large scale cross border inflow of illegal han "exports" via unregulated borders. Thats what I meant by cut losses and wise up. the hans will not provide as many cheap services like India does. Make an example and show the guys that there is a price to pay for cosying up to the hans.

lanka simply does not care how many Indian fishermen they arrest because they are protecting their boundaries. They will rightly continue to do so forever. If they can, we can.

nothing to gain by being mr nice guy. Can we provide the beedis with submarines?? do we want to?? In these matters, as in many others, we are not even in the same league.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 13 Oct 2017 20:18

What the hans did is neither germane nor relevant. Its what an Indian company did that's a revelation to our understanding of "international" business practices.


You can pretend that is not relevant, but that does not make it true. Using Hard power is all about being able to resolve these issues without losing the game to competitors, which makes this entirely germane to this discussion.

maldives, nepal etc have already gone the han way. They look to India for "housekeeping" services and we oblige in the hope that we will have a say in their affairs.


Right, giving up early and often is how you maintain a foothold in the long term to secure Indian interests, is it? Because that is what you are suggesting -- just because China has a foothold there because the Indian govt. practically handed it to them (and there is a precedent of Indian govt. intervening in the Maldives to protect Indian interests in the past, if you do read up on this). This means that now India has to regain lost ground, ground that was lost because India did not use its power to get Maldives to behave and instead allowed the case to go to "interntional court". Application of Hard power is about resolving such issues with much weaker powers without dragging them to international courts.

Make an example and show the guys that there is a price to pay for cosying up to the hans.


So let me get this straight. The plan is: 1) We first lose ground and lose influence in maldives and allow a military coup backed by outside powers to gain control of the country 2) we the give up and say there is nothing to be done now that the Chinese coopt this hostile regime 3) then, we "make an example of them" for cosying up to China. Perhaps we can avoid step 1 so that steps 2 and 3 are unnecessary?

lanka simply does not care how many Indian fishermen they arrest because they are protecting their boundaries. They will rightly continue to do so forever. If they can, we can.


Yes, and your point is?

The issue here is that allegedly friendly govts. in the neighbourhood must cooperate with India to help secure India's borders, and in return India can be a security guarantor and help with creating a common market etc., which is exactly what the GoI is doing. The point of contention here is that India could have very easily intervened and stopped the islamist thugs supported by the Gayoom loyalists from overthrowing the elected India-friendly govt. under PM Nasheed. If Indian military power cannot ensure that nearby tiny countries don't fall victim to military coups engineered by faraway power, why bother with all the military spending for threats in the future, when we cannot deal with these easily resolvable issues to stave off security problems that will cost a lot more to resolve down the line?

nothing to gain by being mr nice guy. Can we provide the beedis with submarines?? do we want to?? In these matters, as in many others, we are not even in the same league.


This is irrelevant hyperbole. Of course, India cannot hand over capabilities to nearby states that can cause problems for India if the intentions of these "friendly states" change down the line. However, if India has the capability to ensure that these state remain friendly to Indian interests, then perhaps it should use such capabilities.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 14 Oct 2017 00:01

periaswamy wrote:
Tuan wrote:You are misinformed. Intelligence was capital in counterterrorism operations against the LTTE, which was only possible through the defection of many LTTE top cadres, that eventually led to the demise of the organization. Soft power plays a great role in engineering such defection.


If you are talking about developing spies in enemy organizations, it is well known that only people are already on the fence and predisposed to switching sides are targeted. People who are not as strongly motivated about the ideology and have become disillusioned down the line. "Soft power" playing a major role is basically saying that emotionally manipulating people who are already on the fence is key, and that is not something to disagree with. However, this is NOT "soft power as a strategy" which is what you are talking about here. "soft power" the way you refer to it claims to create mass psychological leverage via cultural and emotional manipulation -- that completely ignores the fact that such claims can only be validated if they have the power to subvert power centers of the adversary. After all, when we refer to "hard power", we are talking about coercing power centers in adversarial states via military and economic means, so one would have to demand similar outcomes from "soft power" if the claim is that it has strategic uses in weakening power centers, like "hard power" does.


Tuan wrote:There are so much going on behind closed doors of the intelligence community that you and I don't know of yet. For instance, instead of dropping bombs, the NATO has just begun a psychological warfare project in Iraq and dropping soccer balls with the message to ISIS fighters that "leave Daesh and join us to play soccer", which was backed by the Iraqi forces offensive ultimately led to the surrender of thousands of Daesh fighters recently.

Have you read anything about this in the media? You just don't believe what you can't explain.



There have been many reports in the media about ISIS cadre being disillusioned with the group and its leadership, and many ISIS fighters have abandoned the war, and some have even managed to get out without being killed. Do you really think the ISIS guys are a bunch of innocent fools to think that people throwing footballs from airplanes are full of freedom and goodness to change their minds? Or do you think it is a means of reminding people on the fence that there is a way out for them if they want it?

which was backed by the Iraqi forces offensive ultimately led to the surrender of thousands of Daesh fighters recently.


Oh please. If you go and catch up with Levant Crisis thread, it is very clear that the Russian and Syrian forces are crushing ISIS and slaughtering them...giving credit for all this to "NATO psychological warfare" is utterly ridiculous. Don't believe the western mass media -- they have been lying about ISIS and syria for many years now, and that much is obvious.


How soccer became a weapon in the War in Iraq
https://www.theguardian.com/football/20 ... are_btn_tw

"The battle for hearts and minds has taken on a sporting dimension, but the US army has found the beautiful game is more than just a load of balls..."

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 14 Oct 2017 00:08

Tuan: How soccer became a weapon in the War in Iraq
https://www.theguardian.com/football/20 ... are_btn_tw


Okay, I am not following your thought process here. The article says this:

The troops were ordered to hand the balls out anyway, the officer in charge reasoning that recipients should be damn grateful to be getting any balls at all. Unfortunately, the Iraqis were not terribly impressed with the gesture. "They were like, 'What are you doing? What are we supposed to do with this?'" says Garett Reppenhagen. "Kids were wearing these soccer balls as hats. They were kicking them around. They were in trees. They were floating in canals. They were everywhere. There were so many soccer balls."


How does this translate to a soft power victory, if the main target of this soft power finds this entire exercise ridiculous?
Let us even say they did not understand the cunning plan behind this soft power strategy. How did this exercise help US "win the war in Iraq"...we know that the US withdrew and left behind a smaller force during Obama's time. All that the article says is that army managed to find a way to connect with the locals to some extent and made their job of dealing with dangerous ground situation easier. Seems more like a tactic than a "soft power" strategy to win the war -- most of your examples indicate that there is a psychological aspect that makes the application of hard power easier, but is that really a "power", as opposed to one prong of a multi-pronged strategy to gain allies and defeat enemies? Maybe it is the journalist but the motivation for all this seems rather ad hoc:

"We could start an Iraqi women's soccer movement. Why not? I want to be able to give a soccer ball to that shy little girl standing behind the boys, watching her angelic face become a bright shining light as I reach over the boy's heads to place a ball into her hands. Of course there will be so many balls that the boys standing in front of her will have already received one.


Right, so go to a place where women are not allowed to do a lot of things including reveal their identity and given them a soccer ball to play...what about the rest of what's needed for a game? other women players and a women-only playing field, given the local islamic customs? How is just handing a ball over to some woman or group of women going to achieve anything under these circumstances?

and finally this:
The US attempts to use soccer have met with mixed results. And it's not just the fact that every single time an Iraqi soccer player sees a microphone, they use it to condemn the US occupation, including the captain Younis Mahmoud.


this seems to be another example of failed "soft power", rather than a success story.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 14 Oct 2017 00:30

I hear ya. It may well be a tactic on the part of US military to win the hearts and minds of the general populace since it is part and parcel of their COIN doctrine.

However, the point I am trying to make here is that even an initiative of obvious military dimension can be a source of admiration thereby promoting America's soft power. It is an example of how these "power" (hard and soft) is wielded and interconnected.
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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 14 Oct 2017 00:35

However, the point I am trying to make here is that even an initiative of obvious military dimension can be a source of admiration thereby promoting America's soft power.


That's the bit I do not see in the article, i.e., iraqi admiration for american efforts in bringing in soccer. Iraq had a good national football team even during Saddam's time before all the sanctions, IIRC.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby Tuan » 14 Oct 2017 00:43

periaswamy wrote:
However, the point I am trying to make here is that even an initiative of obvious military dimension can be a source of admiration thereby promoting America's soft power.


That's the bit I do not see in the article, i.e., iraqi admiration for american efforts in bringing in soccer. Iraq had a good national football team even during Saddam's time before all the sanctions, IIRC.


Well, if you read the article fully and summarize it you might get the point, instead of extracting bits and pieces from it..ha ha.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby brvarsh » 14 Oct 2017 00:47

The difference between hard power and soft power is you make your enemies believe they can compromise and run away with the soft power, while we use it as a stretchy glue that sticks with them enabling us to pull it back as needed. Bollywood has served as a great soft power and leverage India has in the context of its national security. It not only provides entertainment that is sewn in the regional culture but also humongous opportunity to be on the dark side of the society.

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Re: Combating Terrorism Using Soft Power

Postby periaswamy » 14 Oct 2017 00:56

Well, if you read the article fully and summarize it you might get the point, instead of extracting bits and pieces from it..ha ha.


What you imagine the article is saying is not at all what the article says. But confirmation bias is obviously at play here: you believe strongly this concept of "soft power" and place more emphasis on the limited success of soccer in a war zone. For "soft power" to be put on the same plane as "hard power", I expect to see obvious outcomes that were purely a result of soft power, and the article has nothing to offer on that front. Not just this article, but all the other ones you have linked.


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