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There is one area where China and Russia are destroying America, and that is that Westerners are embarrassed

There is one area where China and Russia are destroying America, and that is that Westerners are embarrassed

In May, several US officials met in Tampa, Florida, to discuss the tools available to the United States to influence global public opinion, especially on issues of national security importance. Almost without exception, participants agreed that Washington's performance is very weak in the field, with Russia and China far ahead.

I think the case for this work is frankly weak

said James Holley, who has been heading the Secretary of Defense's Office of Influence and Perception Management for one year. Participants agreed that the challenge facing the United States is whether, in addition to a democratic political system, it is necessary to invest more energy in creating a good image. Previously, this was never addressed in Washington, as it was not a priority for the reasons mentioned above. As long as the Western superpower has withdrawn from this issue, Russia and China have significantly increased their influence in many regions, and for this reason, American interests are at a disadvantage.

Both Moscow and Beijing primarily reach hundreds of millions of people through messages on social media and are thus able to influence public opinion.

Personalized content amplifies what has to be said, which is why misinformation campaigns can have a much greater impact. The seriousness of the problem is well illustrated by the fact that in 2022 the Biden administration created a government body to combat disinformation, but it was only able to operate for three weeks due to ongoing political attacks.

The question arises as to why positioning themselves usefully in the world is such an important aspect of Washington. A clear example of this is Niger, where the country's new leadership severed ties with the West in 2023, and since then the Russians have clearly taken over their role. There have been similar examples before, In 2014, Moscow set out to annex Crimea through a disinformation campaign. Such moves clearly undermine the interests of Western powers in key areas.

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So far, the fight has mostly focused on removing similar false messages from social media, but the amount spent on that represents only a small fraction of what activists spend.

In addition, Russia, China and Iran, which are the main centers, are increasingly coordinating their content, and within a few days they will begin to formulate similar messages.

The meeting participants agreed on the need to increase the importance of the issue in the eyes of decision-makers, and thus increase the financial framework. New steps could also be discussed in addition to preventing the reduction of external opportunities. From competitors.

Cover image source: Getty Images

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