The Role of Language and Communication in the War on Terror Discussed at the Mabini Dialogue

Dr. Charmaine Misalucha explains the complex relationship between US and its allies through language games: entanglement, representational force, and embeddedness.
Dr. Charmaine Misalucha explains the complex relationship between US and its allies through language games: entanglement, representational force, and embeddedness.

 

Dr. Charmaine Misalucha, Assistant Professor from De La Salle University, gave a lecture on “Strategic Communication in International Relations: The US-Japan Alliance in the War on Terror” on 21 November 2014 at the Benedicto Room of the Carlos P. Romulo Library as part of the Mabini Dialogue Series.

Dr. Misalucha explained the complex relationship between the US and its allies by focusing on the language games that the United States utilized to rally support for its War on Terror.

Japan’s alliance with the United States was initially an asymmetric relationship, however this transformed into a cooperative relationship post-World War II.

Due to representational force, Japan’s immediate responses to the war on terror included rhetorical support, economic support and multilateral engagements, while its institutional responses included the enactment of laws on Anti-Terrorism Special Measures and Special Measures on Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance.

According to Dr. Misalucha, the principle of “Gaiatsu” or pressure from external forces as applied in the war on terror is more of a manufactured kind. The Japanese people “internalized” these pressures and assimilated these into Japanese thinking.

Ultimately, as seen in this case, overt strategic communication techniques were less effective in rallying support and it is Japan’s embeddedness to the United States that led to its participation in the war on terror.

The dialogue was attended by officers and staff from the DFA, including the Philippine embassy in Tokyo and the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations through webinar.