SOCIAL MEDIA AND STRATEGIC NUCLEAR WEAPONS: THE RUSSIAN CASE
Wyman, Trisha E.
Arquilla, John J.
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Does Russia’s use of social media influence the American public discourse on nuclear weapons? Russia is influencing the American public discourse and is using an active long-term media strategy to complement and support its nuclear policy objectives. However, the discourse is mostly reactive and ranges from positive and negative discourse about Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons. This research does not find that Russian media is successfully influencing and persuading U.S. audiences to believe Russian content. However, the discourse does present opportunity for political action and change in U.S. policy. This research is focused on Twitter discourse, while considering the reaction from U.S. media and reactive policy statements of the United States. The lack of Internet and online advertising regulations enables deliberate targeting of audiences on the topic of nuclear weapons, specifically to garner support for the Russian government’s narrative. The suspension of the intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Russia’s development of new strategic weapons, and increased media communications between the United States and Russia are reminiscent of the early 1980s “War Scare” and provide a framework for understanding Russia’s methods today. The research is conducted with qualitative and quantitative methods, with primary and secondary research, and provides historical background, framing of media, social network analysis, and application to information strategy.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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