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YouTube: A modern-day propaganda leaflet March 21, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : Political economy, World politics , trackback

Ever since WWI, propaganda leaflets dropped behind enemy lines were an important tool in trying to weaken support for whoever was in charge among the local population. It is believed to be an effective tool, which is why it is still in use in conflicts around the world. One of the defining aspects of Obama’s campaign to become president was how well he was able to exploit the new social internet media to his advantage. And he has apparently taken this with im into the White House.

Yesterday, he released a Youtube video aimed at the Iranian people, obviously in an effort to convince Iranians that the United States hopes for peace and does not want to be enemyof Iran. You can see the three-minute video here:

In another display of rhetorical proficiency, his language is extremely subdued and forthcoming compared to what we’re used to from his predecessor, and doesnt’ seem aimed at trying to tear down the Iranian regime. It seems he’s taking a more subtle approach, trying to remove the fear of the Iranian people and thus make it possible for the leadership to seek other ways out of the current diplomatic stalemate than continuing a hard-line approach. It could all be a clever application of Putnam’s two-level-game-theory that dictates by giving your opponent more options you’re actually strengthening yourself in a bargaining position.

Let’s hope it works…

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