In a nutshell, rational patriotism is the outcome of the state proactively educating its people about the basics of international diplomacy so that they aren’t influenced by false expectations that inevitably disappoint them and thus diminish support for their government at the very least. Informed citizens will therefore know better than to expect Russia to shoot down Israeli jets or China to shoot down Pelosi’s.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying pushed back against Reuters’ provocative question during a press conference on Wednesday asking her to respond to claims that “Many Chinese people were disappointed when China did not and could not take more concrete actions to prevent Pelosi from making this visit to Taiwan.” She replied by remarking that the Chinese people are “rational patriots”, which implied a dismissal of those dramatic scenarios that circulated across social media earlier in the week speculating that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would directly intervene to prevent US Speaker Nancy Pelosi from landing on Taiwan.
The concept of rational patriotism deserves to be further elaborated upon because it’s instructive for the Alt-Media Community (AMC) and multipolar societies across the Global South. Many among the first-mentioned are practically obsessed with the scenario of their favorite countries risking World War III, which is most infamously represented by the countless false predictions over the years that Russia will shoot down attacking Israeli jets over Syria. This pretty much makes them an apocalyptic death cult, albeit one which quickly disappoints its members and thus risks turning them against the subject of their geopolitical desire with time, though that might also be the unstated purpose of some of them.
The second, meanwhile, are much more well-intended and reasonable but sometimes lack the detailed knowledge of how international diplomacy is conducted in the real world and thus fall under the AMC’s pernicious influence when it comes to speculating about dramatic scenarios. It’s this audience, however, which is much more important to pragmatically engage with by articulating foreign policy than that apocalyptical death cult that’s largely driven by their quest for clicks, likes, and shares for the sake of clout, ideology, and/or soliciting donations. Multipolar societies across the Global South will therefore form the basis of the present analysis with respect to explaining the concept of rational patriotism.
What needs to happen is for governments to more proactively educate their people about the conduct and nuances of international diplomacy. For far too long, the masses have largely remained oblivious about this unless they had a personal interest in it. Those who only casually dabble in the news, not to mention attempt to go a bit deeper by independently studying International Relations, can sometimes be misled by demagogues or hostile external influences (including those that disguise themselves online as a supposed “friend” of one or another cause). This in turn necessitates a systemic approach to resolving this issue, the consequences of which will worsen the longer that it’s unaddressed.
To explain, by de facto ceding control of the international diplomatic narrative to foreign state actors as well as non-state ones (whether domestic or based abroad), governments risk having those forces stir up trouble within their borders. For instance, without at least an elementary education about how all this works in practice, people can easily be misled into having false expectations of their authorities that ultimately end up disappointing them and thus turning these folks against the state with time. That’s precisely what transpired when it came to the viral spread of those completely false scenarios connected to Russia supposedly plotting to shoot down Israeli jets in Syria.
It wasn’t the Russian people themselves that were misled, but the larger AMC after key influencers laundered this speculation as “fact” by taking advantage of their audiences’ trust in them to confidently predict that this will inevitably happen. Eventually, quite a few people started getting disappointed with Russia, with some of them wondering whether it “sold out Syria to the Zionists”. That false conclusion directly contributed to them disowning that Eurasian Great Power, which led to a cottage industry of AMC commentators who rant about that conspiracy theory. At home, however, Russians always knew better than to give any credence to that ridiculous scenario and thus weren’t misled.
That’s because they’re exposed to regular briefings about their civilization-state’s foreign policy in nightly news broadcasts by key media figures. The Chinese also experience something similar since the Communist Party of China (CPC) proactively educates its people to avert the possibility of a sizeable number of them being misled by demagogic narratives, though some nevertheless still end up being influenced by false expectations like CNN recently reported. Russian and Chinese society, along with a few other Great Powers’ like India’s and Iran’s, are multipolar leaders in educating their societies but regrettably many still continue to neglect doing so and thus risk the earlier described consequences.
This is a strategic shortcoming that must be urgently corrected across the Global South since the lack of rational patriotism among their societies will inevitably result in them being manipulated for anti-government ends, including provoking Color Revolutions in some of the most dramatic scenarios. In a nutshell, rational patriotism is the outcome of the state proactively educating its people about the basics of international diplomacy so that they aren’t influenced by false expectations that inevitably disappoint them and thus diminish support for their government at the very least. Informed citizens will therefore know better than to expect Russia to shoot down Israeli jets or China to shoot down Pelosi’s.
In the Global South context where the vast majority of such states will never realistically be placed in the position of their people countenancing something as dramatic as their governments risking World War III, this is important with respect to articulating their principled neutrality in the New Cold War. For example, talking with the US-led Golden Billion or the BRICS-led Global South doesn’t imply that whatever country it is has ended up taking one or the other’s side, not to mention if they clinch a deal with them. Rather, their people must know that the objective national interests of comparatively medium- and smaller-size states are best served by balancing between Great Powers and superpowers.
There’ll always be those at home and especially abroad who’ll try to misportray whatever development it might be in order to artificially manufacture a zero-sum narrative, but those states can preemptively avert masses of people from being misled and thus polarized over whatever it is so long as they’ve successfully educated them about the basics of international diplomacy and how this is practiced to pursue their objective national interests. Rational patriots along the line of those represented by Chinese and Russian society, and not crazed demagogues like the easily misled folks that typify the average member of the AMC, must be the end goal i to sustainably ensure “Democratic Security”.
This complementary concept refers to the range of tactics and strategies for preemptively counteracting Hybrid War threats, especially those related to manipulating people’s perceptions against their government ahead of advancing Color Revolution plots. It should thus be among the highest priorities of all governments across the Global South to educate their people about the basics of international diplomacy so that they become rational patriots immunized from the demagogic viruses that spread across the AMC, its Mainstream Media (MSM) counterpart, and social media. Failure will inevitably result in more domestic unrest that will destabilize their societies by polarizing their people and thus preconditioning them to fall under the influence of pernicious anti-state narratives with time.
China and Russia have pioneered the path for their multipolar peers to follow, though their models haven’t yet been perfected nor will they ever since it’s impossible to perfectly ensure “Democratic Security”. Rather, this is a perpetual work in progress that must evolve with changing circumstances in preemptively counteracting emerging narratives before they’re weaponized across their societies. Certain strategies like educating their people through schools and the media will remain enduring, but the tactics will vary depending on the situation. In any case, Chinese and Russian societies are the example that all other multipolar ones should seek to emulate according to their domestic conditions.