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Interns discuss the war of ideas and current threats with John Lenczowski

Interns Fall 2014, Lunch with John LenczowskiOn October 3, 2014, interns at The Institute of World Politics had the opportunity to sit down for a lecture lunch with Dr. John Lenczowski.

The group discussed some of the leading factors that started the recent protests in Hong Kong, in which the masses are gathering in a movement for a change in the government and the promised elections for a new leader. 

The conversation also covered the topic of ideology in general, which Dr. Lenczowski described as a tool that is often implemented “to use and expand power; setting the standard of conformity.”  For instance, the ideology of the People’s Republic of China supports an undemocratic system in which people are required to remain loyal to the ruling party and are consistently ruled by fear.  In addition, many leaders like Lenin and his doctrine of “thought and behavior control” used ideologies as a way to keep people loyal to the Communist Party by separating them from every person and creating distrust, including their own families.

The discussion about the importance of ideas continued as the group reviewed some of the effects of the Cold War – in which propaganda, or a “war of ideas” played a pivotal role.  The Soviet government limited people’s access to information, and attempted event to wipe out the history of the different nations over which it had control.  Broadcast organizations like the Voice of America informed people of the truth. 

The group then discussed some of today’s most dangerous threats to the United States, including China and the Middle East. Dr. Lenczowski noted that the U.S. tends to underestimate the capabilities of other countries which are developing new technology and armaments that could pose a serious threat to our security.  As a first step in deterring these countries, the U.S. needs to regain credibility in the international community. 

-Zoila Terrones