The Dangerous Facade of Western Humanitarian Diplomacy in 21st Century Armed Conflict

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Currently the West is living in a grey zone, partly the result of definition and partly the result of their actions. It is neither war nor is it peace. It is a world of great uncertainty and stress, stability seems to be something from our past.



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Greg Simons

The Dangerous Facade of Western Humanitarian Diplomacy in 21st Century Armed Conflict


Currently the West is living in a grey zone, partly the result of definition and partly the result of their actions. It is neither war nor is it peace. It is a world of great uncertainty and stress, stability seems to be something from our past. The Global War On Terrorism and more lately, the Arab Spring have highlighted a number of contradictions and dilemmas in the way that the West engages in ‘pro-active’ foreign policy. This is especially evident in the Middle East and North Africa. A first point to clarify, though, is to define what is exactly meant by ‘the West,’ which I use to denote the countries that are able to project hard and soft power on a global scale and define themselves as belonging to the liberal democracy camp. In effect, this includes countries such as the United States and larger members of the European Union (such as France and the United Kingdom).

One of the major problems facing the publics’ perception and understanding of the issues and boundaries of war and peace is a great deficit of transparency in these issues. This is very apparent in the nature of defining these elements, and in the political process itself. A great deal of attention is spent on perception management of different audiences in order to harness the power of manufactured public opinion in order to lend legitimacy and credibility to actions that do not deserve such (Bennett et al, 2007; Creel, 2010; DiMaggio, 2009; Simons, 2011 (b); Simons, 2010). It is said that an informed public provides vitality to democracy through informed and well considered decision making. However, what if this may not be the desired state of being? In this case, it could be argued that a misinformed (deceived) public are a useful and malleable tool that can be used to justify the otherwise unjustifiable. Critical thinking and plurality of debate on critical foreign policy issues, such as military intervention in humanitarian wars has been plummeting.

It is all a matter of definition

The importance of the lesson, in the sphere of definition, is that it is not a matter of what you say, but how you describe it that matters. This is what makes the use of branding, slogans and catch phrases such a potentially powerful tool (Herman & Chomsky, 2002; Shabo, 2008). Especially if this is used within the context of deception and ‘non-constructive’ politics, which often has narrow short term goals and long-term negative consequences. Definition can be used to try and throw a smokescreen on the real as opposed to the publicly proclaimed reasons and policy.

What began, according to George Bush’s infamous words as the Crusade Against Terrorism, quickly evolved into the less contentious Global War On Terrorism and is now in some quarters the almost meaningless Overseas Contingency Operation. Does this adequately define what is being done around the globe according to these slogans? The instinct is to say no, as this is providing a smokescreen to justify actions that go well beyond the scope of the proclaimed dimensions of the conflict and in to other areas and tasks that are more difficult to justify from a legal and ethical consideration.

An illustration of this is the rapidly expanding drone programme, which has come under scrutiny from the United Nations. An assumption that needs to be made for the use of drones, for instance in Pakistan, is that there is a sense of legitimacy (legal or moral for example) to empower their use. From the US perspective there are arguments such as American exceptionalism or that the US is the World’s Policeman, to safeguard democracy and justice. Both of these are self-appointed and do not stand up well to critical scrutiny. With regards to American exceptionalism, when one makes an exception the rule is broken and its legitimacy is lost. Additionally, why should the US be granted this status in the first instance, what are the special circumstances that warrant issuing carte blanche for one country to act in contradiction to international norms and conventions?

Turning to the notion of the US as the World’s Policeman, this implies that actions should not be in its own narrow set of interests, but for the greater international good and such values as democracy, liberty and so forth. However, historically and continuing to the present day, the US has supported some of the worst dictatorships and corrupt regimes the world has seen. The interests that it pursues are very narrow, and certainly not in the interest of the local community being ‘assisted’, let alone the international community. This is especially apparent in the penchant for regime change. The false and misleading pretences that led to the Iraq War in 2003 and its subsequent occupation as well as selectively applying the UN mandate on Libya to attack Gaddafi’s forces in order to permit the insurgents to prevail. One of the tenants of Just War according to the 1992 Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, the results of the war should not be worse than the conditions before it.

As is patently obvious from the post-war conditions in Iraq (after 2003) and Libya (after 2011), the average citizen is much worse off than under the conditions of dictatorship. Human security in these areas is, to put it diplomatically, haphazard at best. These ‘liberated’ areas now begin to serve as breeding grounds for discontent and insurgency beyond the national borders too. Mali has begun to feel the effects of ‘democratisation’ in Libya with the flow of weapons and radicalised insurgents over its borders, they are also moving to Syria, the current focus of regime change. In my opinion, democracy is a more complicated process than merely going to war against a named dictator and beating them with overwhelming military force, perhaps going as far as to organise a quick show trial before the execution (not all get this far), choosing and installing a government that is likely to be compliant with your demands, and then announcing success in democratic transformation.

An interesting pattern that is emerging though are the positions being taken by the newly ‘democratised’ territories, especially Iraq and Afghanistan, with regard to the political leaderships’ publicly stated positions to their ‘liberators’. Iranian influence has increased significantly, it took a US-led invasion and occupation to end a long standing enmity between Iraq and Iran, after all the bitter Iran-Iraq War was not that long ago. Iraq has also supplied oil to Syria in defiance of the various international sanctions that have been imposed. Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, is very critical of the actions of ISAF troops in the country and the long list of scandals committed by US troops there – burning Korans, killing of civilians either accidentally or intentionally (which imply the commission of war crimes). Other more general and not country specific terms are also used within the sphere of creating imprecise definitions.

Among the terms/notions that are currently in vogue as a mechanism for ‘legitimising’ intervention and interference in another country’s domestic affairs are democratic peace and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). The idea of democratic peace is an often bandied term that can be used to justify democratisation (which may be in turn linked to regime change) revolves around the notion that democratic countries do not go to war against each other, following from this, therefore the more countries that are democratic there shall be less conflict. This ignores the rather inconvenient fact that if one looks at the initiators of many of the wars in the 21st century so far, they are so-called democratic countries attacking authoritarian regimes in order to force democracy upon them with the use of military force. How can this be adequately explained? The point is that it cannot, not logically at least.

If we examine the notion of R2P, this is difficult to justify as well. It is an extremely vague concept, and is open to being defined by those actors that possess superior military force. Responsibility to Protect, whose responsibility, to protect whom from what, in what form is this protection to be realised physically? These all remain undefined, until the moment that interests of the militarily powerful coalesce. The above represent simplistic and catchy ‘solutions’ to complex problems, which are intended to excite and direct the public than contribute meaningfully to resolving significant problems.

A recent lecture reminded me, in a negative sense, the state of debate and critical think that currently exist in the West. It was a presentation on war and peace in the 21st century, by a distinguished scholar. Certainly his talk was one of the more balanced and nuanced that I have heard in a while. But he raised the issue of R2P, urging that Syria demonstrated all of the necessary preconditions to intervene, and which had been present in Libya previously (Simons, 2011 (a)). Several factors are ignored here though, firstly, probably one of the leading reasons for the current lack of open military action against Syria is the fact that Syria’s air and coastal defences are modern and likely to inflict significant damage to an invading force. Libya in this regard was a paper tiger, which was understood by NATO, hence the open military attack. Secondly, if the West and its proxies stopped supplying and stoking the conflict, there would be no continued loss of civilians. Turkey is providing refuge to insurgents and terrorists, supplying anti-armour and anti-air weapons, Qatar and Saudi Arabia providing weapons, logistics, money and buying defectors, US and others have their secret service and intelligence services actively working in Syria, Germany has a spy ship that is intercepting Syrian military signal traffic and relaying them to the insurgents. Hardly what one can term as being a neutral position.

Creating brands to get their way

Branding provides an interesting and at times persuasive mechanism to camouflage one’s activities and intentions. Their effect is to provide mental short-cuts to understanding certain objects, people and events. Just the mere invocation of the name can be enough for the complete meaning and context to flow automatically. Unlike catch phrases and slogans that are designed to excite the imagination and stir the mind to an intended form of action, brands are used to provide the context and background to understanding people, events and objects in a narrow and pre-determined manner.

As has been given above, the GWOT has been an excuse and a rallying call for many actions that would otherwise be deemed as being dubious. There has been a very concerted use of branding when labelling the stated enemy. News stories are filled with the deeds and words of Taliban and al Qaeda, in addition to a distinct absence of clear definition and justification for the labelling of individuals with such brands, it also has the effect of adding to the reputation and status of the actual organisations. Looking at the drone campaigns in Pakistan, numerous news reports speak of various numbers of Taliban suspects being killed in drone strikes. What is a Taliban suspect? There are no independent sources on the ground to confirm whether this is accurate or not. According to the West, democracy and rule of law are paramount values. So, following from this, does a Taliban suspect not deserve the right to a fair trial rather than a summary and somewhat arbitrary execution? To discuss further the use of branding to add credence or the appearance of legitimacy to actions and events that are in fact devoid of such, one needs look no further than the abysmal level and standard of reporting on Syria. The Western press is full of quotes from the Syrian Observatory and human rights activists, without stating the interests or agenda of these groups. A human rights activist is unlikely to be a neutral and reliable source of objective information. But the words sounds nice, after all who opposes the notion of that beautiful value of human rights? These elements are designed to create a very skewed view and perception of the physical world, and an environment that does not encourage critical or independent thinking.

Double Standards in Waging War in the GWOT

The US is projecting and attempting to maintain the narrative as a bastion of freedom, helping the world’s oppressed in the capacity as the world’s policeman (Snow, 2003). People from around the world are bombarded constantly with such value associations as democracy, human rights, press freedom and a global promoter of these values. They are the ‘good guys’ that seek to deliver to the world the freedoms enjoyed by Americans. Mass media and journalism within the West, and being the declared fourth estate, are utterly ailing in their duty to provide the public with an objective picture and understanding of this current conflict (Bennett et al, 2007; Thussu & Freedman, 2003; Zelizer & Allan, 2002).

However, this thin veneer is rapidly getting thinner with time and events. Police handling of the Occupy Movements (both of the protesters and the journalists trying to cover them), plus the Patriot Act and the current Public Trespass Bill (http://www.infowars.com/house-passes-trespass-bill-that-makes-protests-illegal/) that would severely restrict Americans’ right to protest, demonstrate a disdain for protections that are described in the Constitution. However, the disdain and disregard for human rights, democracy, freedom of the press and so forth, is multiplied many fold when dealing with their occupation and attacks on the civil populations of other countries.

The frame is constantly repeated and reinforced in the mass media that the United States and its military are a force for good in the world, they are selfless in their global efforts of ‘democratisation’ and ‘liberation’. The results of these efforts vividly witnessed in regions such as the Middle East and Central Asia. Since the GWOT was declared there have been a stream of events that have contradicted the force of good in the world frame – Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, the infamous execution of a prisoner in a Mosque in Iraq, Bagram Airbase, the Kill Team in Afghanistan, deaths of civilians in night raids, shooting of a Quran in Iraq, the recent burning of Qurans in Afghanistan and now the atrocity of 11 March 2012 in Afghanistan. Surely, this should be enough to dent the façade?

To date there has been remarkably little in the way of accountability. A prime example of this being the ridiculous sentence imposed upon the sole defendant found guilty of the Haditha atrocity of 24 unarmed men, women and children in 2005. Frank Wuterich was given a general discharge under honourable conditions and completed his service and avoided the three month sentence after a plea bargain (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17121937). Needless to say, if he had committed this atrocity in the United States he would have likely been sentenced to death in a number of different ways, depending upon what state he committed the crime in.

Following conversations about this ludicrous sentence on the social media site Linked-In, there were plenty defending him and the so-called sentence. The basic line of reasoning being that only the military are in a position to judge those who have seen combat, no civilian could possibly understand what they have been through. I would argue that this is a flawed assumption. The notions of law and justice rest upon the idea of upholding the norms and values of society. Is the slaughter of 24 unarmed civilians an acceptable form of behaviour in the US? The obvious answer is no. Following from this point, should other men who have been subjected to the same combat conditions and numbing of senses to what is normal and acceptable behaviour be the best judges? Once more, I would say no. Otherwise, using their logic, police would make the best investigators and judges of allegations of misconduct in the police, which is why there is a move away from this form of peer investigation and judgement. The underlying empathy and conflict of interest in doing so far outweighs and discredits the expectation for a fair and just investigation and trial. Haditha and its aftermath merely serve of reminders of this basic matter of fact.

George Bernard Shaw was credited with the quote, “one can say anything, in the wrong key nothing.” This is certainly shaping up to be the case in the latest case of a long list of American atrocities in countries that they have occupied. What is known from the preliminary information given, a United States Army Staff Sergeant left his military base at about 0300 on the 11 March 2012. He systematically went from house to house and killed at least 16 civilians, of which nine were children and three women, while they slept and attempted to burn some of the bodies (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/12/world/asia/afghanistan-civilians-killed-american-soldier-held.html). This came in the wake of a Quran burning by US soldiers in February and urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters.

How has NATO and the US reacted to this latest atrocity committed by US service personnel? If the statement of NATO forces spokesman Captain Justin Brockhoff is anything to go by, it is with either incompetence or deceit. His message was “there was a shooting incident Sunday in which multiple Afghan civilians were wounded. No one was killed. […] the wounded Afghans are receiving care at NATO medical facilities. He says U.S. forces are investigating the shooting in cooperation with Afghan authorities” (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/11/nato-us-troop-detained-over-shooting-afghans/). On the very same day, the New York Times was carrying a detailed story about those who had been murdered.

Immediately the rhetoric was carefully managed in terms of carefully chosen words to try to shape perception of the event. The murderer, who has not been named yet, is characterised as ‘acting alone’ and that this was an ‘isolated incident’ (in spite of plenty of evidence to the contrary, such as the massacre of 19 civilians in Eastern Afghanistan in 2007 by US troops after a roadside bomb wounded one soldier). There have been promises by Defence Secretary Leon Panetta that the military would bring ‘appropriate charges’, given the track record to date this is very doubtful. This is especially so given the unfolding excuses and narratives, such as the soldier suffering from mental stress. The event is variously described as being a ‘tragedy’, a ‘massacre’, a ‘bloody rampage’. However, no mention at all of the obvious descriptions for what it really is, such as an atrocity or a war crime.

The ‘lone’ narrative is a central theme of the public messages. A good example of this was Obama’s reaction to the comparison made with the US atrocity in My Lai in Vietnam in 1968. This was discounted because he is characterised as acting as a lone gunman (http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/86c8adaa-6c72-11e1-bd0c-00144feab49a.html#axzz1p2VtpsLK). There seem to be significant problems with this statement though. There have been a number of accounts by Afghans that this was not the work of a lone gunman. The contradictions come from people who had survived the attack and increasingly other Afghans that increasing doubt the value and sincerity of what American political and military officials state publicly (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501712_162-57395128/afghans-express-skepticism-over-shooting-account/ and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2113973/US-soldier-fallen-blind-rage-rampage-killed-16-Afghan-civilians.html).

Questions that are critical to understanding this latest atrocity have still not been asked by the mainstream mass media. The simple question, how could a senior non-commissioned officer leave a military base alone at 0300 without anyone noticing him? No sentries challenged or reported his departure? US military personnel in Afghanistan are not meant to travel alone while of base as a security measure. This story has many unanswered questions and suspect aspects that imply that there is more to this story than what has been told in the mass media.

Another story, which illustrates a set of double standards on a larger scale, involves the story of the 14 year old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai. She was shot by Taliban owing to her public stance on women’s education. The story featured heavily in Western media, which was meant to highlight the superiority of Western values and action over those of the other (extremist Islamic), especially when the girl was offered medical treatment that went beyond the ‘normal’ procedure and access for the average citizen. This act has rightly been widely condemned around the world. Yet, while this particular act focuses world attention on the plight of one girl, US drones are killing hundreds of her fellow countrymen, women and children each and every day along the North Western parts of the country. These people are summarily executed without question, dismissed as being ‘suspected militants’, without any political outcry. This indiscriminate use of military firepower on civilian infrastructure clearly contradicts those earlier expressed values of freedom, democracy, rule of law and human rights, and probably the rules of war.

Myopic policy and living the grey zone

Foreign policy and implementation is increasingly myopic, short term, often poorly defined goals, and serve a narrow set of interests. A certain red thread exists that can be seen in the programme of regime change, the short term nature of the goals and some dubious assumptions that have been made along the way. The premise of the goals of regime change seem to be that by removing the previous regime (by whatever means), the local population shall be grateful and indebted to their ‘liberators’. And that they shall seek to construct a society that models itself on Western variants. Neocons have even gone as far as to justify the illegal Iraq invasion as sparking the Arab Spring and a ‘democratic awakening’ in the Arab world. This contrasting against the varying positions of Bush on the aspects of legitimacy of the invasion from an act of self-defence against the Hussein regime’s possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction and links to terrorism to ‘at least we got rid of a bad man’ argument.

Working with the notion of gratitude by those who have been liberated, if such was true, then Osama bin Laden should have been a close friend of the US. He was not, yet this type of thinking and assumption remains. The more recent result was the death of the US ambassador in Libya, which is yet again, hardly an overwhelming sign of gratitude. Recent media reports suggest that the US is reluctant to supply more powerful weapons to the Syrian insurgents owing to the radical and terrorist elements that are firmly entrenched in their ranks. Yet they continue to keep the conflict boiling.

Turkey is an interesting case with regards to their interference in Syria. Actively helping the armed insurrection against al Assad, in spite of growing public opinion against Turkey being involved (some polls put public opinion at 75 per cent against). They know full well the costs of being involved and it is against the national interest. One excuse being put forward is the rise of Neo-Ottoman diplomacy. However, the Ottoman’s were skilled diplomats as they were a fighting force, in their time. If regime change fails to be achieved, Turkey will be hosting a large number of radicalised and heavily armed insurgents on their soil, and a hostile neighbour to the south. If regime change succeeds, then there is the possible question of the Kurdish state. They are still dealing with the results from the Iraq war on this particular issue. Syria is likely to implode and become heavily radicalised, thereby providing Turkey with a security nightmare along the complete southern borders. When Syria responds to Turkey’s hostile acts (such as flying the photo-reconnaissance plane into Syria airspace, and the above), this is decried and judged as being unacceptable by the international community. Turkey on the other hand, is able to give itself the right to invade Syria at any time with NATO’s blessing. The asymmetry and hypocrisy in what is deemed as acceptable and not has reached new depths with this move. Not long ago (25 July 2012), a report was released by the Royal United Services Institute, the Syria Crisis Briefing, which repeated the mantra on a number of occasions that the West does not want to go to war with Syria, but sometimes wars just happen to find the West. Thereby attempting to wash their hands of any responsibility for deliberate human decisions, writing them off as being a product of fate!

Syria as the Latest in the Line of Manufactured Wars

Syria is portrayed as being the latest of a string of revolts against authoritarian dictatorships, where the given scenario is painted as being a justified and righteous democratic movement that seeks to rid itself of decades of corruption and repression. These budding democratic movements are miraculously appearing, heralded in some corners (such as the Hawks in the United States), as being justification for the dubious US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq that has brought in to play some kind of democratic domino-effect.

Global mass media assets in the Anglo-Saxon world have been giving glowing reports of the Arab Spring, the dominant narrative is that it is a democratic awakening in the Arab world that has started at the grassroots level in the region (Simons, 2012). As if some kind of force has been mysteriously stirred from within, this is a familiar story to some people as the Colour Revolutions of the early 2000s. The general framing of these conflicts is that of democracy versus authoritarianism, good versus bad and freedom versus oppression. This simplistic and emotional coverage glosses over and omits many worrying and disconcerting facts. As history has shown, it can be very difficult to maintain control of the situation after unstable political forces have been unleashed. What was unleashed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika provides an excellent case in point.

One of the implied and sometimes explicit themes, which is related to the notion of a sense of justification for such types of civil conflict is that the outcome is to be better than the original state before the conflict. This is repeatedly stated as being the case, but there is very little hard evidence or justification for stating so. Very little time has gone by and the press has hailed the Arab Spring as a great success for democracy and the Arab World. Any contradictory evidence has been omitted or glossed over. For instance, the elections in Libya are a demonstration of success. The seizure of the lawyers from the International Criminal Court and the various massacres perpetrated by the victors, not to mention the recent events in Mali are either downplayed or brushed aside. This would interrupt the good news narrative.

Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria have been deemed as belonging to the Arab Spring club. Like a contagion the ‘democratic’ movements have been overthrowing decades old authoritarian regimes. The process is still ongoing in Syria. However, some revolutions and insurgencies have been left out from this club, interestingly enough. The insurgency in Yemen and its former dictator President Saleh were excluded as was Bahrain and the massacre of unarmed protesters that occurred there.

Yet these ‘legitimate’ Arab Springs are far from being spontaneous and without any foreign assistance. The Libyan war provided a much more open demonstration of the open use and abuse of foreign military intervention in a ‘humanitarian crisis’. In Syria, there is no direct foreign military intervention yet, but a lot of assistance to the anti-Assad forces. Turkey is providing safe havens for the insurgent forces as well as anti-tank and anti-air weapons, other Arab states proving weapons, CIA on the ground ‘liaising’ with the insurgents. The United Kingdom hosts NGO, the so-called Syrian Human Rights Observatory, which makes up much of the material that is quoted by Western mass media outlets.

Western support of ‘liberation movements’ has been a problem in the past, where a mix of ideology and short-term, myopic thinking has seen the move backfire in the future. The support of the anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan, including Osama bin Laden. This decision, with various factors that came to affect what was to come, ultimately came back to haunt the US and the Western world. Similarly the decision to offer Adolf Hitler the position of Chancellor, perhaps under the misguided notion that he could be controlled, came to be regretted.

The rebels/insurgents are often described as being ‘regular’ people in extraordinary circumstances and are cleared of conducting any wrongdoing in the current bloody civil war. When acts of terrorism are committed by them, they are not called acts of terrorism, rather as decisive blows against a bloody and brutal regime of Assad. However, one or two cracks in the mass media narrative have begun to appear. Reuters recently hinted at some possible problems in the future. And acknowledged some current ‘problems’, such as the presence of foreign radicals that were targeting non-military objects, including schools, yet these actions are not condemned (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/08/us-syria-crisis-insight-idUSBRE87701T20120808). The New York Times produced an even more disturbing article, radical elements that include Al Qaeda and the use of suicide terrorism, hardly the picture of democracy (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/world/middleeast/al-qaeda-insinuating-its-way-into-syrias-conflict.html).

These articles are a taste of what is being mostly hidden from public view. There may be the belief that by supporting fundamentalist elements in overthrowing the last vestiges of the Axis of Evil that they shall be somehow grateful and fall in to the Western sphere of influence is a pipe dream that is likely to be confirmed by events in the near future. Libya is in the process of unravelling, but away from the gaze of the international press. The Syrian scenario is one that has a much more dismal outcome for many concerned, the people of Syria, and the wider region. An irony in the Global War On Terror, whilst fighting extremist elements in Afghanistan and Iraq, the West is assisting extremist forces in seizing political power in Libya and now Syria. This is currently a war that is being fought by deception and perception. If or when Assad falls from power what follows is likely to be replaced by a situation that is far worse, and to create fertile conditions for bringing in to existence the next bin Laden.  


What does the future hold? There is an ancient (allegedly) Chinese curse – “may you live in interesting times.” Indeed we are living in interesting times, but this is of the West’s own making, based upon poorly conceived and short term policy objectives that have a tendency to erode rather than contribute to any sense of national security. There seems to be little desire or demand for long term strategy based upon solid concepts and policy for contributing to a sustainable engagement with the region that shall work towards peace and cooperation rather than war and disruption. There is a distinct tendency, under the guise of humanitarian diplomacy, wage wars of convenience (rather than out of necessity). On the surface, these seem to be done with good intentions and for humanitarian purposes. However, the way these wars are wages demonstrates very much the contrary.

The naming of the European Union as the recipient of the 2012 peace prize, and the war time President Barak Obama earlier, merely demonstrates the level of deceit involved in this very cynical process. Poorly conceived, executed and in general counter-productive policy shall result in further crisis and problems in the future. The West, and in particular the US, may wonder why the world does not ‘like’ them, the answer is not very difficult to understand with some hindsight or at least self-reflection. One cannot make ‘friends’ with terrorists, especially when fighting similar people and groups in one country and helping them come to power in another.

However, it is not going to be only the West that feels the eventual effects of the current age of humanitarian diplomacy in artificially created and sustained armed conflict. As can be seen with Syria, it is beginning to engulf a much wider region, leaving instability and devastation in its wake. Interestingly enough, the US does not want to supply its ‘freedom fighters’ there with any heavy weapons, yet at the same time, keep supplying them with small arms, money, intelligence, safe havens ... etc, which keeps the war going. The same situation has happened with countries that are neighbouring Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Yet there are more wars are likely to be in the making in the near future!


Bennett, W. L., Lawrence, R. G. & Livingstone, S., When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media From Iraq to Katrina, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 2007

Creel, G., How We Advertised America: The First Telling of the Amazing Story of the Committee on Public Information That Carried the Gospel of Americanism to Every Corner of the Globe, Lexington (KY), Forgotten Books, 2010 (original in 1920)

DiMaggio, A. R., Mass Media, Mass Propaganda: Examining America’s News in the “War on Terror”, Lanham (MD), Lexington Books, 2009

Herman, E. S. & Chomsky, N., Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, New York, Pantheon Books, 2002

Shabo, M. E., Techniques of Propaganda and Persuasion, Clayton (DE), Prestwick House, 2008

Simons, G., Propaganda and the Information war Against Syria: The Latest War for Peace, http://e-journal.spa.msu.ru/images/File/2012/33/Simons.pdf, Государственное управление. Электронный вестник, Выпуск № 33. Август 2012 г

Simons, G., El uso del 'ius ad bellum' para fabricar una causa de guerra contra Libia, CIP-Ecosocial, http://www.fuhem.es/cip-ecosocial/articulos.aspx?v=8996&n=0, 2011 (a)

Simons, G., SMI i Borba za Obshchestvennoe Mnenie v Globalnoi Voine s Terrorismom: Opit Iraka, in Bikov, A. U. (editor), Sovremenniye Zarubezhniye SMI v Usloviyakh Globalizatsii, St Petersburg, 2011 (b), pp. 24-41

Simons G., Selling conflict in the 21st century: PR or advertising the way of public consent? In Topical Issues of Advertising: Theory and Practice: collection of Papers. Vol. II. / Editor-in-Chief A.V. Prokhorov. Tambov: The Publishing House of TSU named after G.R. Derzhavin, 2010, pp. 45-53

Snow, N., Information War: American Propaganda, Free Speech and Opinion Control Since 9-11, New York, Seven Stories Press, 2003

Thussu, D. & Freedman, D. (editors), War and the Media: Reporting Conflict 24/7, Sage, London, 2003

Zelizer, B. & Allan, S. (editors), Journalism After September 11, Routledge, New York, 2002


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