The new fluid rules of engagement in the Argo announcement

by Chris Zappone

The White House’s decision to announce that Argo won best picture at Academy Awards sends a veiled message to a global audience about a new American stance.
No one can miss the optics of the First Lady calling out the award for a movie about US clandestine work against a hostile country. And they shouldn’t. But the willingness of the White House to fuse its glow with Hollywood’s when it serves a purpose underscores a new strain of post-globalization (for lack of a better term) patriotism, in which members of the US establishment will increasingly step into each others spheres of influence in this wired, interconnected world. Other examples: without a doubt there was message coordination between US government, NYTimes and Mandiant around the stories and release of the report on PLA hacking. Google likely helps research and advise on internet policy with the US government. In fact, Eric Schmidt’s co-author Jared Cohen is an ex-US State Department official. This marks a change from the era of unbridled freemarket fundamentalism which held govenment and private industry remain separate. The fact is: the long term, more existential threats to US power and US industry are increasingly coming into focus. Methodical state sponsored hacking is a threat to both. Therefore, they are driven into each others’ arms in a recognition of the limits and linkages of power. The irony of course is that what this is a recent resurgence, it’s not a new trend. It would have been common during much of the Cold War.