Goodbye Cold War, hello Propaganda War
Re: “Seeking the truth about foreign meddling in Thai politics”, Have Your Say, March 24
A Johnsen makes a spirited defence of “alternative” news outlets but I need to challenge him on a couple of points. First, I am not, as he claims, a “censor”. I believe in freedom of speech and have merely pointed out that anyone reading the output of websites linked to Russia should do so with caution and scepticism. Most media outlets, mainstream or otherwise, tend to reflect the political views of their backers or owners, so can be viewed as “biased”, but those linked to the corrupt and brutal Kremlin regime are in a special category.
Second, I do not dispute the Land Destroyer website’s claims about foreign support for political groups in Thailand. In my previous letter, I actually pointed out that the US-based New Endowment for Democracy is completely open about its support for democracy here.
Of course many countries, including Russia, believe in promoting their values and interests around the world. I have Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper to thank for reporting comments made a few years ago by General Gerasimov, head of Russia’s armed forces, during a speech at the Kremlin. The general observed that tanks and guns were no longer needed to win wars – nowadays computer hacking, TV propaganda and criminal skullduggery can be more effective in defeating an enemy. Western democracies do some of that too, of course, but they don’t murder those they see as enemies of the state.
We’re not entering another “Cold War”, but rather a “Propaganda War”. Russia might be facing a demographic catastrophe, its economy has shrunk to about the size of Italy’s and its armed forces are a shadow of what they were, so the Kremlin is trying to sow confusion through the dark arts of misinformation. Be warned!