Public Diplomacy

Neoliberalism and neoconservatism are not an accident of history. They are the ideological components of a sophisticated and largely successful counterattack on the New Deal, that commenced within seconds of the signing of the progressive legislation by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. At the time, FDR recognized the hostility of Americas ruling elite and understood that they would never stand for these reforms. In 2015, it’s unfortunate that too many Americans have lost sight of this essential political calculation.

This successful counterattack on the political and economic reforms of the New Deal has had a deleterious effect on the non-wealthy American populace. This counterattack has also brought about a new political and economic reality where America is not so much a democratic republic, but a plutocracy–a government controlled by the wealthy and the corporations and banks they control, all protected by the intelligence agencies, military and police.

The long term counterattack against New Deal reforms has been aided enormously by manipulative advertising, public relations and outright propaganda. Investigative reporter Robert Parry has been reporting on these efforts to manage public perceptions since the 1980’s. For his efforts, he can’t work in the mainstream news media, but now writes at Consortiumnews.com, where he provides an invaluable service in the pursuit of accurate information.

In a recent article entitled The Victory of Perception Management, Parry discusses newly discovered documents pertaining to the Iran/Contra scandal that demonstrate that the US government under President Reagan waged a widespread perception management campaign against the American public.

From documents declassified or leaked over the past several decades, including an unpublished draft chapter of the congressional Iran-Contra investigation, we now know a great deal about how this remarkable project was undertaken and who the key players were.

Perhaps not surprisingly much of the initiative came from the Central Intelligence Agency, which housed the expertise for manipulating target populations through propaganda and disinformation. The only difference this time would be that the American people would be the target population.

For this project, Ronald Reagan’s CIA Director William J. Casey sent his top propaganda specialist Walter Raymond Jr. to the National Security Council staff to manage the inter-agency task forces that would brainstorm and coordinate this “public diplomacy” strategy.”

Essentially, the US elite believe that the American public must never be allowed to look critically at what they are doing. If that means outright propaganda, so be it. Any critical observer can see this ongoing effort on a daily basis, especially in regard to Putin and Russia–I’m looking at you–New York Times.

While Parry won’t say it, I will–The Cold War against communism was and is a key component in the ongoing counterattack against the New Deal reforms. Examining US foreign policy historically reveals that domestic concerns frequently trump strategic considerations. With this idea in mind, I believe that the Cold War, while a real life struggle between the Soviet Union and the US, was also used cynically for domestic ends–largely as a lethal weapon deployed by capital against labor. Communism, as an ideology was just too convenient as a boogyman used to scare Americans into supporting an All-American system of capitalism that disadvantaged them over the long run, resulting in the widespread inequality so visible today.

However, all good things come to an end. Communism was an especially effective boogyman, but the evil terrorist has been dragooned into playing the new scary super-villain quite successfully. Recall the run up to the election in November 2014, with the 24/7 fear mongering about ISIS terrorist, who were infected with ebola, coming to murder us all in our beds?

Good times.

Our elite need an external enemy to be able to continue these ruinous economic policies. Luckily for them the American public has the attention span of a gnat and this ongoing creation of scary monsters can proceed. It does tend to get slightly ludicrous at times, as the latest fable of North Korea hacking Sony’s The Interview, with concerned Americans flocking to see a shitty movie just to show those dastardly North Korean terrorists.

The whole affaire reminds me of a South Park episode, and reinforces the old adage–what starts out as a tragedy segues into a farce.

Welcome to America, where you can’t make this shit up.

Happy New Year!

 

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