STRATEGIC INFLUENCE AND CULTURAL COGNITIONJB
at riting on the wall
directs us to the following RAND paper
. Here's a quote that should warm the heart of Collounsbury
:"From these case studies we conclude that influence campaigns are highly sensitive to operational environments. Moreover, campaigns that do not take these sensitivities into account not only fail but are counterproductive"
This does not mean that cognitive and social psychology are useless for American statesmen in crafting a positive message for the Arab-Islamic World. Instead, it means not to confuse principles and devices with also having a coherent and culturally relevant script or dialogue
. It also means respecting the limits of the possible in terms of aspects of American foreign policy that is perceived by Muslims as threatening their interests.
The United States is always going to have clashes of interests with other states and societies and as a rule we should try to see that our interests prevail. That being said, nothing is gained from our emphasizing to other people the stick that we are putting in their eye. Much less our extolling of why they should embrace the stick with joy. Pointless irritant and waste of our resources and time.
Our focus in strategic influence should be any existing common ground, our most attractive political memes like " democracy" and " freedom" and potential non-zero sum mutual gains from cooperation
plus those instances of our relatively more altruistic gestures like tsunami aid.Full RAND paper here