Exposing and Stopping the Danger of US "Soft Power"

March 21, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - US soft power is included in US policy papers and promoted by US politicians and diplomats on a regular basis. It is also included as the admitted purpose of US, UK and European international programmes like Chevening and Fulbright scholarships.

Foreign Affairs magazine, published by big-business-funded US policy think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations, would reveal in a review of Joseph Nye's book, "Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics," that (my emphasis):
...the term "soft power" -- the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion -- is now widely invoked in foreign policy debates.
The United States can dominate others, but it has also excelled in projecting soft power, with the help of its companies, foundations, universities, churches, and other institutions of civil society; U.S. culture, ideals, and values have been extraordinarily important in helping Washington attract partners and supporters.
And in reality, US domination and its soft power work together to create what is modern day empire and the foundation of US global hegemony.

The United States' many organisations, from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to its Young Leaders Initiatives targeting the Americas (Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative/YLAI), Africa (Young African Leaders Initiative/YALI) and Southeast Asia (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative/YSELAI), all seek to indoctrinate and co-opt the populations of targeted nations to serve the interests of Wall Street and Washington rather than their own.

While the US does this often under the guise of promoting "democracy," it is clearly engaged in precisely the opposite. While democracy is generally understood as a process of self-determination, through US soft power, the process is co-opted and abused to allow Wall Street and Washington to determine the policies and direction a targeted nation takes rather than its own people.

Often times victims of US soft power are youths who are indoctrinated in university programmes or targeted by US-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs). They believe they have arrived at their conclusions and adopted their personal set of principles on their own, unaware of the amount of time, money and energy invested in ensuring they adopt a worldview and a set of political proclivities that serve US interests rather than those of their own nation, people and those of the individuals themselves.

The use of soft power is not new. It is a practice as old as empire itself.

The ancient Romans engaged in sophisticated cultural colonisation we could easily describe as soft power.

Ancient Roman historian Tacitus (c. AD 56 – after 117) would adeptly describe the systematic manner in which Rome pacified foreign peoples and the manner in which it would extend its sociocultural and institutional influence over conquered lands.

In chapter 21 of his book Agricola, named so after his father-in-law whose methods of conquest were the subject of the text, Tacitus would explain (my emphasis):
His object was to accustom them to a life of peace and quiet by the provision of amenities. He therefore gave official assistance to the building of temples, public squares and good houses. He educated the sons of the chiefs in the liberal arts, and expressed a preference for British ability as compared to the trained skills of the Gauls. The result was that instead of loathing the Latin language they became eager to speak it effectively. In the same way, our national dress came into favour and the toga was everywhere to be seen. And so the population was gradually led into the demoralizing temptation of arcades, baths and sumptuous banquets. The unsuspecting Britons spoke of such novelties as 'civilization', when in fact they were only a feature of their enslavement.
In a very similar manner, youths today in nations targeted by US soft power describe the notions of "democracy" and "human rights' as well as Western-style neo-liberal politics and institutions as "civilisation." They often seek out every opportunity to disparage the culture and institutions of their own nation, describing them as backwards and demanding they be promptly replaced with new notions and institutions modelled after or directly beholden to those in the US and Europe.

We can see across the whole of Asia this full process of soft power coming to fruition. Years and millions of dollars spent in infiltrating universities, indoctrinating youths through programmes like YSEALI or the British Chevening scholarships and funding and directing fronts posing as NGOs has led to the creation of entire political parties contesting power, comprised of indoctrinated youths beholden both to the notions of Western culture and institutions as well as the money and technical support nations like the US and UK directly provide these parties.

Hong Kong's "Demosisto" political party is made up entirely of youths and NGO representatives that have been created and funded for years by the US, UK and various other European interests.

Myanmar's ruling National League for Democracy has the top echelons of its party run by former journalists, activists and politicians cultivated, funded and trained by US-funded programmes for decades. This includes the current minister of information, Pe Myint.

Case Study: Thailand

The recently formed "Future Forward" opposition party headed by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the heir of a multi-million dollar auto-parts business, has overtly advertised itself as an amalgamation of Western-style neo-liberal political ideology.

While the supposed "founders" of the party appear to fully represent various social issues, the immense amount of money needed to perform "Future Forward's" campaigning indicates the true founders (and financial sponsors) have chosen to remain behind the scenes.

WMD Lies Strike Again: The Skripal Incident

March 16, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - As the West rallies around recent allegations by the UK against Russia regarding the alleged poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer-turned British spy - Sergei Skripal - it is crucial to point out the alarming lack of actual evidence involved.

It is also important to point out the history of the accusers predicating entire wars on allegations now confirmed to have been intentional lies.

The Skripal Incident

The alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, UK on March 4 led to a lighting-fast escalation with Russia. Not even two weeks after the attack, UK Prime Minister Theresa May declared a deadline for Russia to provide an "explanation" for the incident the UK had squarely blamed on Moscow.

The Kremlin's explanation was simple - it had nothing to do with the attack. Russia also offered to aid in the investigation, requesting samples of the poison used in the alleged attack.

However, the UK failed to produce any samples of the alleged poison - a Soviet-era nerve agent known as Novichok - either to the Russians to examine or to relevant international organizations as required under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The UK also failed to explain why Russia would have carried out such an attack - or how the UK could have confirmed the use of Novichok agents without first possessing samples of the agents themselves. If the UK possessed Novichok agents to compare samples taken from the attack with, the entire rationale of accusing Russia because it is supposedly the only nation in possession of the agents is revealed as entirely false.

US Political Meddling is Very Real, Spans the Globe

March 14, 2018 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - The United States has spent over a year now leveling accusations against the Russian Federation regarding alleged political meddling during the 2016 US elections. While accusations range from everything including "fake news" spread across the Internet to direct ties to the administration of US President Donald Trump used to assist him into power, no evidence has yet to surface to prove Russia has meddled at all in America's internal political affairs.

And while Russia certainly possesses a large and growing presence across the international media, concerted attacks against this presence stems more from the fact that decades of uncontested control over global public opinion by the US and Europe is now shifting toward a multipolar balance of power in information space.

In stark contrast to the whispers of shadows cited by the US and Europe regarding Russia, to begin understanding the scope of US political meddling abroad, one needs only to visit the US State Department and corporate-funded National Endowment for Democracy's (NED) own website.

Industrial-Scale Meddling 

US meddling is so extensive that NED is broken into multiple subsidiaries (National Democratic Institute (NDI), International Republican Institute (IRI) and Freedom House) which in turn, are joined by parallel organizations such as George Soros' Open Society Foundation, USAID, the UK's DFID and many more.

The NED website is broken into several regions including:
Central and Eastern Europe;
Latin America and Caribbean and;
Middle East and Northern Africa.
Within each region, NED lists its extensive funding for organizations and fronts in over 100 different nations around the globe.

Within each nation, NED funds between a handful to several dozen organizations posing as legal firms, media platforms, environmental groups and human rights advocates. They collectively create the components of a political machine used to pressure incumbent governments to heed US interests, or overthrow them if they fail to.

Because the NED and recipients of its funding are increasingly exposed as a form of political subversion, NED has opted to list its funding in some nations in very general terms, never revealing the actual organizations or individuals receiving US money. Many organizations in targeted nations refuse to disclose their funding to the public. Many even possess the gall to solicit public donations despite receiving (and concealing) extensive funding from the US government.

Fake News Storm Clouds Gather Over Southeast Asia

March 10, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - From Cambodia to Thailand American and European media companies have launched a campaign of disinformation aimed at reversing Washington's waning influence in the region vis-à-vis not only Beijing, but the growing strength of nations the US and Europe once saw as mere geopolitical pawns.

Cambodia Expels US-Run Opposition Party and Media 

In Cambodia, articles depicting the government as having trampled free speech and democracy are in direct response to Phnom Penh's decision to disband the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) headed by Kem Sokha who now resides in jail. The media storm also follows the Cambodian government's decision to shut down US government funded propaganda networks posing as local, independent news organisations.

This includes Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, both funded and directed out of Washington D.C., not anything resembling independent, local political interests in Cambodia itself.

A good example of this disinformation campaign comes from Voice of America Khmer itself in an article titled, "U.S. Cutting Aid to Cambodia for Recent Democratic Setbacks." The article claims:
In its annual World Report, the rights group said the government, controlled by Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party for more than three decades, disbanded the main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, and arrested its leader on questionable treason charges. The dissolution came after a ruling the CNRP was involved in an attempt to overthrow Hun Sen's regime. 

However, what VOA calls "questionable treason charges" are never explored further in the article. The charges stem from CNRP leader Kem Sokha himself being caught on video openly admitting to conspiring with the US government to seize power in Cambodia.

ABC Australia in its article, "Australian speech the key 'treason' evidence against Cambodian opposition leader," would quote Kem Sokha during a speech he gave while in Australia, as saying:
The USA, which has assisted me, has asked me to take the model from Yugoslavia, Serbia, where they were able to change the dictator Milosevic. 

I don't just do what I feel, I have experts, university professors in Washington DC, Montreal, Canada hired by the Americans in order to advise me on the strategy to change the leaders.
While Kem Sokha's defenders have claimed his remarks merely meant changing the government through "democratic means" it should be noted that by virtue of admitting one has foreign assistance negates anything democratic about one's means. Democracy is built upon self-determination while Kem Sokha's agenda was clearly being devised and determined in Washington D.C.

It should also be noted that the US intervention Kem Sokha referred to in Serbia was admittedly undemocratic in means as well.

The New York Times in its article, "Who Really Brought Down Milosevic?," would admit:
American assistance to Otpor and the 18 parties that ultimately ousted Milosevic is still a highly sensitive subject. But Paul B. McCarthy, an official with the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy, is ready to divulge some details.
The article continues, stating:
''...from August 1999 the dollars started to flow to Otpor pretty significantly.'' Of the almost $3 million spent by his group in Serbia since September 1998, he says, ''Otpor was certainly the largest recipient.'' The money went into Otpor accounts outside Serbia. At the same time, McCarthy held a series of meetings with the movement's leaders in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, and in Szeged and Budapest in Hungary. Homen, at 28 one of Otpor's senior members, was one of McCarthy's interlocutors. ''We had a lot of financial help from Western nongovernmental organizations,'' Homen says. ''And also some Western governmental organizations.''
In today's current climate of "Russian meddling" hysteria, should similar evidence surface that an entire opposition party was funded, organised and meeting with Russian government representatives in the manner Serbia's or indeed, Cambodia's opposition did with Americans, we can only imagine the repercussions.

Yet in the world of US and European "fake news," the public is led to believe Cambodia's government is being unreasonable in disbanding a political party openly admitting to treason and dismantling a foreign propaganda network funded directly by the US government.

"Fake News" Rewrites Thai History

Reading a recent Agence France-Presse (AFP) article regarding Cambodia's neighbour to the west, Thailand, the public would be led to believe despotism is spreading fast across the region.

US Seeks to Intentionally Prolong Syrian Bloodshed

A 2012 US policy paper admittedly sought to "bleed" the Syrian government, and with it the Syrian people. Today in Syria, the consequences of America's depraved foreign policy is being blamed by Western special interests on the very victims it targeted. 

March 5, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - From the beginning of Syria's conflict the United States presented to the world its unyielding ultimatum that the government in Damascus be deposed and replaced by a government headed by the armed militants the US cultivated before the conflict and has armed and funded throughout its now seven year course.

US demands of regime change in Syria were not exclusive to the current conflict. Syria was upon US President George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" announced after the attacks on September 11, 2001 despite Syria playing no role in the attacks and in fact being one of the principal nations waging war on Al Qaeda and its many affiliates - including its predecessor the Muslim Brotherhood - stretching back to the 1980s when the US itself was arming and funding the terrorist organization's members in Afghanistan.

US Intentionally Fuels Syria's Conflict

Today, regions in Syria under government control now enjoy peace and security unseen since the conflict broke out in 2011. This includes Syria's largest city of Aleppo which was invaded by Al Qaeda-linked militant groups crossing over Syria's border from NATO member Turkey beginning in 2012.

Construction vehicles are replacing tanks in Aleppo. After years of occupation by terrorist groups, Aleppo was finally liberated, with reconstruction now underway. Peace and security was restored to Aleppo not through any initiative led by the United Nations, or Western states like the US, UK, or other NATO members, but instead by joint Syrian-Russian-Iranian military operations conducted in direct defiance of Western demands terrorist enclaves remain intact.

Reflecting the security Syria's government still is able to offer the Syrian people versus regions still ravaged  by Western-backed militants is the fact that the vast majority of displaced Syrians reside in government-held territory.

This is revealed in a 2017 UN report titled, "UNHCR seeing significant returns of internally displaced amid Syria’s continuing conflict," which states (emphasis added): 
Aid agencies estimate that more than 440,000 internally displaced people have returned to their homes in Syria during the first six months of this year. In parallel, UNHCR has monitored over 31,000 Syrian refugees returning from neighbouring countries so far in 2017. Since 2015, some 260,000 refugees have spontaneously returned to Syria, primarily from Turkey into northern Syria.  
The main factors influencing decisions for refugees to return self-assisted mostly to Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Damascus and to other governorates are primarily linked to seeking out family members, checking on property, and, in some cases, a real or perceived improvement in security conditions in parts of the country.
It should be noted that Aleppo, Hama, Homs, and Damascus all fall under the control of the current Syrian government. Regions still occupied by terrorists - particularly Idlib in northern Syria - are omitted from the report.

It's clear that if the United States' agenda in Syria was a humanitarian one, it would be assisting the Syrian government in its efforts to improve security conditions across the country. Instead, the US actively works to undermine such efforts - intentionally creating and perpetuating conditions to jeopardize security and induce continued human suffering.