Why tell big lies when you can tell enormous lies instead?November 8, 2014
A few days ago, an entry was posted lamenting the standard of Kremlin agitprop/disinformation/misinformation etc., and the chronically weak levels to which white, grey and black propaganda that is now discharged from the bowels of the Kremlin propaganda machine have reached. A nostalgic entry – wistful for the bygone days when the Kremlin actually wanted those exposed to its propaganda to believe it, and/or struggle (for various reasons) to disprove it. A good deal of time and effort was spent teasing out the truths and half-truths sometimes therein.
The following day, the Legatium Institute released the below on YouTube, highlighting some major points of a day long discussion:
All rather timely by way of raising the same issue.
US Ambassador Geoff Pyatt (fortunately for Ukraine a career diplomat who knows his stuff, and not a US fund-raiser for a presidential campaign awarded an ambassadorship as a “thank you”) made the following point – rightly:
— U.S. Embassy Moldova (@USembMoldova) November 3, 2014
Indeed. There is no better way to puncture a lie than with the truth.
However, as Mark Twain is attributed as stating “A lie can be half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” – and in the age of the Internet, a lie has now fully circumvented the globe in a second.
Yet another top ex-diplomat left a comment under the entry lamenting the current Kremlin propaganda – the ever-wise and erudite Charles Crawford:
“The explicit dishonesty and stupidity of such propaganda are designed to show that Russia under current management just does not care about weary ‘Western’ distinctions between Truth and Lies. They send a mighty message: Russia will do whatever it takes to win, where winning is defined as what the GRU/Kremlin say it is today.
In other words, why worry about Big Lies? Go for Absolutely Enormous Lies instead. Why not, after all?
And, if Russia succeeds in stealing land allegedly ‘lost’ when the USSR dissolves, perhaps that’s all the ‘lasting impact’ the GRU/Kremlin care about”
A very insightful point.
The entry linked above, a repine for the quality Kremlin propaganda from yesteryear relates to a time when the Kremlin cared about/wanted to be believed – or at least sow sufficient doubt upon any retort that may have come. Now, such is the scale of truly abysmal propaganda spewing forth, it is quite clear that the Kremlin no longer cares if its propaganda is believed, pondered, briefly entertained, dismissed, or simply lampooned.
That such a strategy of bombarding the information sphere with easily rebuffed nonsense has a potential for diminishing returns when it comes to those who believe what is being offered up is clear – indeed, the Kremlin is far beyond the point of being judged by its word – it is now only actions that many will judge it by.
Nonetheless, no matter how preposterous the lie, no matter whether the lie is “big” or “absolutely enormous”, Ukraine and its allies must still wearily put the shoes on the truth and send it running off around the world, chasing down the lie as Ambassador Pyatt pointedly states.
However, as ex-Ambassador Crawford alludes to in his comment here at the blog, whilst “the west” is busy playing whack-a-mole with Kremlin lies, realities on the ground are perhaps, to the exclusion of all else, all that really matters for The Kremlin – truth, reputation, and international trust be damned.
(And yes it is rather awesome to have Messers Crawford and Pyatt amongst the readers of this blog. Quality – not quantity you see!)