7.4.3 Force as a Source of Propaganda

(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents.  An archived copy of this page is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/743.htm)

Using military force without UN agreement, to target people in another country, is illegal under international law (5.3.6.1).  It usually fails to meet the criteria of a ‘just war’ (4.3.5.5), so it can also be condemned on that basis.  Civilian casualties are almost unavoidable.  Such attacks can therefore easily be criticised and can be used as a basis for propaganda against the attacker, using mainstream or social media – as described earlier (6.4.2.4).

Propaganda, against illegal attacks, harms the attackers – as examined in the following sub-sections:

  • Leaders of a country being attacked can call for unity in the face of aggression, to stiffen people’s resistance (7.4.3.1).
  • It damages the reputation of the attackers and generates international pressure against them (7.4.3.2).

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