Welcome to the 34th issue of per Concordiam. In this edition, we visit the topic of discrediting propaganda. Our authors explore how to go beyond just countering propaganda, seeking ways to identify hostile propaganda so targeted nations can discredit it before it spreads and possibly before it even arrives. By strengthening government institutions and partnering with the people, democratic countries can warn about propaganda before it circulates. If successful, this proactive discrediting can reduce propaganda’s effects to almost nil.
In this issue’s Viewpoint, Balša Božović explains how a comprehensive government strategy for countering propaganda should analyze the tools and channels through which propaganda messages are being sent because there is no one way to fight propaganda. He stresses that the most credible method to fight propaganda is with truth, and the most credible manner to communicate the truth is by providing the people with accurate information.
Jetish Jashari examines the two major security challenges that the Western Balkans face in the course of their integration process with the European Union and NATO: Russia increasingly tries to reassert its Cold War-era political and economic interests on Western Balkan countries, and radical Islamist Middle East groups are attempting to spread their ideology in the region, especially in countries with sizable Muslim populations. Jashari points out that the common denominator for both security challenges is the advocation of values and beliefs that are contradictory to European values, and he offers suggestions on how to discredit this propaganda on its own terms.
We also take a closer look at Macedonia’s efforts to discredit propaganda and address the influx of propaganda along the broad geographic front of Eastern Europe. Our authors offer solutions for rebutting propaganda targeting Baltic nations and former Soviet republics. Consideration is given for workable solutions to discredit influencing operations conducted by state and nonstate actors.
As always, we at the Marshall Center welcome comments and perspective on these topics and will include your responses in future editions. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keith W. Dayton retired as a Lieutenant General from the U.S. Army in late 2010 after more than 40 years of service. His last assignment on active duty was as U.S. Security Coordinator to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem. An artillery officer by training, he also has served as politico-military staff officer for the Army in Washington, D.C., and U.S. defense attaché in Russia. He worked as director of the Iraqi Survey Group for Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. He earned a Senior Service College Fellowship to Harvard University and served as the Senior Army Fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Gen. Dayton has a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of William and Mary, a master’s degree in history from Cambridge University and another in international relations from the University of Southern California.