Cold War

Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on How Bollywood Cures Islamist Extremism


Rupert Murdoch's new iPad newspaper, The Daily, debuted yesterday featuring Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia's meditation on why the kitschy, cheesy film industry of Bollywood, India might prove to be a more effective antidote to Islamist extremism than America's "war" on terrorism. There is a growing realization that the Beatles and rock n' roll did more to win the Cold War than American hard power, Dalmia notes. Likewise, Bollywood, which is wildly popular in Pakistan and parts of the Middle East, might do more to undermine Osama bin Laden and his ilk than American drones and tanks. As Dalmia writes:

The West won the Cold War less because it pointed nuclear missiles at the Soviet people, and more because it won their hearts and minds. And in this it was aided by its music and pop culture, which gave it unrivaled soft power. It made young people feel that while they were huddled behind the Iron Curtain in a world of drab conformity, next door one helluva of a party was going on.

Read all about it here.

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  1. I agree that western culture undoubtedly played a role in collapsing the Iron Curtain. But to say that it was “more” of a factor than the military arms race that essentially bankrupted the Soviet Union is to disregard the evidence.

    Both the influence of western culture and the military buildup were factors. But they were dependent upon each other, and I think it’s a bit arrogant to say that the culture part was more of a factor than the military/diplomatic aspect.

    Dalmia also creates a straw man in her article by stating that- “America so far has relied mostly on hard power to defeat the Islamist threat. This strategy depends on it killing more terrorists than it is producing.”

    No one has ever seriously argued that we just need to “kill all the bad guys and go home”. Even if less than .01% of all Muslims were Islamic Fundamentalists who wanted to murder non-muslims for not submitting to Allah, you’re still looking at several million people, and no one has ever argued that we just need to kill them all and be done with it.

    1. Communism failed because it was inherently incapable of success. Reagan kept the USSR propped up by being a useful bogeyman for the Kremlin more than his spending bankrupted them. Reagan feared communism, but he didn’t believe it was inherently doomed to failure; quite the opposite, he hated it because he was afraid it might succeed.

  2. We know what really won the “Cold War” – DANCE OFF with the Rooskies! They didn’t stand a cahnce when the US loosed the Solid Gold Dancers on them.

    1. Yeah, but who can deny the influence of Balboa’s remarkable comeback against Captain Drago in that heavyweight title fight.

      I mean, that had glasnost written all over it.

  3. I thought it was cautionary tales like Red Dawn that scared the Russians into collapsing.

    1. I’m pretty sure it was after a Deltaforce Marathon.

  4. Unfortunately for the United States and Muslim extremists the Soviet Union never snuck communist agents into the America, or the West, to hijack airplanes and use them as missiles… or blow themselves up on trains.

    I can tell you if the the Soviet Union had ever had had the balls that some of these jihadis have (or had) there wouldn’t never have been a Cold War, but just straight up World War III. Wolverine!!!

    So as long as violent Islamists are going to drag their big balls out in this cultural conflict, we’re going to have to keep on castrating them time and again.

  5. Shikha, go back to India. Be a missionary,

    1. I know you are a notorious troll, but that did not even make any sense at all. Shame.

  6. PING-PONG saved us all from Communism FOREVER!

  7. Currently, the industry’s three top male leads are Muslims ? all with the last name Khan.

    I think I can guess what William Shatner would say to them.

  8. Indeed

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