When Xi Jinping visits Moscow next week, Vladimir Putin will doubtless ask for weapons to replenish his badly depleted arsenal. Whatever scheme they concoct will further endanger U.S. national security and that of our allies.
A broader danger confronts us in the new axis of evil that spans Europe, the Middle East and Asia. China and Russia have combined with Iran. All three are determined to replace U.S. leadership in the world and to destroy freedom wherever it exists. China’s threats to take Taiwan by force, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Iran’s threats to “annihilate” Israel raise the possibility of simultaneous aggression. Together, this axis may confront us with one of the most serious challenges ever to our security, values and prosperity.
The threats to global stability and the US homeland are growing. How will the war in Ukraine end? Can China and the US develop a less combative relationship? Join historian and Journal columnist Walter Russell Mead and editorial page editor Paul Gigot for an interactive conversation on the threats to US security.
To prevail, the U.S. must employ every tool of national power. Regrettably, one of the most forceful and inexpensive weapons has withered over the last 20 years: advocacy—the marshaling of truth and fact to persuade foreign audiences. Recall the important part played by the U.S. Information Agency in winning the Cold War. Its Voice of America broadcasts persuaded Soviet citizens that life on our side of the Iron Curtain was better than theirs.
VOA didn’t rely on news alone; it employed editorial writers and even contracted for made-in-Hollywood films. If sole reliance on news sufficed, today’s war criminal and serial violator of human rights, Mr. Putin, wouldn’t stand high in Russian polls. Instead, the U.S. must bring back advocacy meant to persuade. That’s where wits come in.
Defeating propaganda with truthful advocacy is more difficult than in USIA’s heyday. Our adversaries outspend us by orders of magnitude and, using bots and social media, dump disinformation into millions of computers, eyes, ears and brains every day. They have massively stepped up their game. So must we.
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Author: Ruth King
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