| Soft power |
(social control, manipulation, statecraft)
|Interest of||Ryan Gawn|
Soft power in politics (particularly in international politics), is the manipulation or operation of a reward and punishment system in the absence of (obvious) physical violence. Soft power involves shaping the preferences of others through appeal, attraction and (covert) threats or unpleasant consequences. The currency of soft power includes culture, political values, attraction and rewards.
- 1 Soft power techniques against individuals
- 2 Resisting psychological abuse
- 3 Examples
- 4 Related Quotations
- 5 Related Documents
- 6 References
Soft power techniques against individuals
Five basic ways of "nudging", "learning", conditioning or manipulation
According to H. Braiker there are ﬁve basic ways that manipulators control their victims. All tactics either threaten a loss and/or promise a reward. The "currency" may be anything, from pain to a soft glance, words, fear, guilt, money, food or fresh air.
Psychological tactics that can be used against individuals may also be used against groups and even large groups, such as nation states.
If you like what someone is doing and you want to increase the frequency and consistency of the desired behavior, you provide a reward, or positive reinforcement, for it.
The threat of a loss after an undesired behavior happened. Punishment is less effective - it is forseeable and the effectiveness depends on the willingness of the subject to endure pain. It is obviously coercive and the threatening party is likely seen as cruel or "bad".
Negative reinforcement aka aversive conditioning
With negative reinforcement, the unpleasant stimulus occurs before the target produces the desired behavior, and discontinuation of the unpleasant, aversive stimulus (the reinforcement) depends on the compliance of the subject. This is the most powerful and deceptive method. By gradually introducing pain (i.e. face masks, etc.), the mark or public reacts much like the boiling frog reacts to the rising temperature. Mostly unaware of the suffering, the promise of even the slightest release drives a powerful unconscious need to surrender. Moreover, the surrender might be falsely perceived or portrayed as voluntary.
A theoretical example may create fear of a deadly disease and painful restrictions in the subjects and then suggest ways to reduce both fear and painful experiences - i.e. by buying a vaccine, accepting surveillance and giving up freedoms.
Traumatic one-trial learning
This method of controlling behavior is the proverbial “hand on a hot burner” event. In other words, you do not need a second experience to learn to keep your hands away from a hot burner if you have experienced a painful burn once. 9-11 is a typical example of such shock programming. In the moment of shock, the brain accepts messages from "caregivers" as facts in a very suggestible mood.
Intermittent or partial reinforcement
In this powerful variant, ambiguous, chaotic and unpredictable stimuli are used - in addition to 1-4 - to create feelings of helplessness, passivity, and dependence in the victim. A simple example is the slot machine or now-and-then treatment. Or, the unpredictable coming and going of lockdowns in the COVID-19/aftermath, i.e in Germany in 2021.
Resisting psychological abuse
Processes that are highlighted in cases of severe child abuse have been translated into coercive programs for adults (applying the 5 modes above), who can be made to react similar to infants quite easily - especially under conditions of prolonged stress, isolation and abusive group dynamics.
Understanding these processes is an effective way to resist manipulation.  This includes understanding that psychopaths are aware of the fact that shocking realities are unacceptable for most people and that they, therefore, may get away with it.
|Social engineering||The calculated influencing of society on a large scale, often over a long term.|
|"Continuity of Government"||“It's important that the UN and WHO remain very clear, but when they challenge governments directly, they often get into this issue of sovereignty. (...) I think it's really critical to think about soft power influence, which is other influentials, who can call up the head of state, or powerful constituencies within those countries. We've seen this in the context of mobilizing religious leaders in the context of polio, or specific business leaders where you can soften perhaps a very hard line from government through less more stealthy entry points, rather than trying to punish them (...)”||18 October 2019|
|Brussels Forum/2014||“The ultimate soft power instrument in the world is the Brussels Forum”||Carl Bildt||2014|
|Ditchley||“Ditchley is one of the hidden gems of the Transatlantic relationship... its role as a clearing house for ideas; a forum for debate and discussion; and a magnet for policymakers gives it a unique status. It is the intellectual expression of 'soft power' and a tribute to the pre-eminence of reason and rational debate."”||John Major|
|Event 201||“It's important that the UN and WHO remain very clear, but when they challenge governments directly, they often get into this issue of sovereignty. And so I think it's really important not to have that as the only response. I think it's really critical to think about soft power influence, which is other influentials, who can call up the head of state, or powerful constituencies within those countries. We've seen this in the context of mobilizing religious leaders in the context of polio, or specific business leaders where you can soften perhaps a very hard line from government through less more stealthy entry points, rather than trying to punish them through the International Health Regulations or something like that.”||18 October 2019|
|Anthony Fauci||“I feel confident that over a period of time we will get a good vaccine, that we will never have to get back to where we are right now.”||Anthony Fauci||8 April 2020|
|Social control||“How Do You Get Manipulated? Manipulative relationships depend on activating one (or both) of two principal human drives: gain (or reward) and loss (or avoidance). These are the two engines that drive the manipulation. Do not bother looking for anything more complicated than this: Manipulation always boils down to the promise of a net gain and/or the threat of a net loss.”||Harriet Braiker||2003|
|Document:The new mind control||article||March 2016||Robert Epstein||The internet has spawned subtle forms of influence that can flip elections and manipulate everything we say, think and do|
|File:MindWar.pdf||paper||1980||Paul E. Vallely|
Michael A. Aquino
- Harriet Braiker (2003) Who's Pulling Your Strings? How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life. McGraw Hill Professional. (available as torrent).
- Isolation and (at the same time) addressing people in mass audiences both foster regression. Abusive group dynamics includes rewarding or encouraging denunciation and betrayal by means of group punishments. "For only a short time do the new prisoners direct their hostility primarily against their real enemy; in many cases it is soon turned against former friends or members of the family (...)" http://www.brown.uk.com/brownlibrary/BET.htm Grotjahn, M. (1945). Individual and Mass Behavior in Extreme Situations: Bruno Bettelheim. J. of Abnormal and Social Psychology, XXXVIII, 1943, pp. 417–452.. Psychoanal Q., 14:143-144.
- A. M. Meerloo (1956) The Rape of the Mind - the Psychology of Thought Control. (out of print) https://archive.org/stream/RapeOfTheMind-ThePsychologyOfThoughtControl-A.m.MeerlooMd/RapeOfTheMind-ThePsychologyOfThoughtControl-A.m.MeerlooMd_djvu.txt