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Kremlin Claims US/UK At War With Russia, Information War

What will move these countries along a road to peace?

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Russia believes it's under attack by the US and UK in a destructive war of words. 

Conventional attempts to retaliate in kind have proved of little use. Even efforts by independent Russia experts in the West to tamp things down have had little impact. 

But now a new approach has emerged to bring warring peoples together. It calls in the know-how and power of America's entertainment industry.

Explaining the Russian perspective, presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov recently said,

"We are currently in a state of information warfare with the trend-setters in the information space, most notably with the Anglo-Saxons, their media." 

Given that, what are the prospects for peace? They are not very encouraging as I see it. 

That's because it's not only governments that are bickering. The populaces of the respective countries have been imbued with bad feelings toward the "enemy." 

The path toward peace must involve dealing with those "bad feelings," people's negative affect. But taking an affective approach to this conflict resolution is widely neglected. Instead, those who have been advocating peace have tried to use logic. They've (and I include myself in this group) worked to counter malicious misinformation and present the objective facts. 

That approach simply has not borne fruit, for the most part. 

What would be a more efficacious approach? Recently I've had extensive conversations with Bo Svenson. He's an award-winning American actor, producer, and director. Svenson has a film in development called For Love and Country.  We've discussed how his film can play a strategic role in easing tensions. 

The movie portrays Russian characters in a way that generates positive affect between Western audiences and the Russians. I believe it can be a start at turning things around. It has the potential for promoting truly positive feelings between Western audiences and the Russian characters portrayed in the film. 

Will this new approach appeal to Peskov? He's already acknowledged, "They say that Russia has a bad public image" There's no argument with that. But, he adds, "Do you know who else now has a bad image -- the United States." He's only partially right on that one. 

Last year Gallup surveyed the popularity around the globe of selected national leaders. Twenty countries gave the American president a rating greater than 50 percent. For Russia's president only seven countries gave such a high rating. 

What does that tell us about the relative popularity of the respective countries themselves? Certainly the president's image forms part of that.

America seems objectively to have greater popularity than any of the countries featured in the Gallup report, not just Russia. But yet America's role in the world in recent years has been far more provocative. Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria. Why so much popularity?

There no doubt are many components to the popularity. But while thinking about the For Love and Country film it occurred to me that motion pictures may play a role here. 

The Hollywood movie industry captures a lion's share of the world's movie revenues. That means global audiences get to see Americans in ways that they can relate to as fellow human beings. 

Isn't that the sort of thing that will push us along the road to peace? What do you think?

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