Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles An American family is getting their regular fix of news from all of their favorite news channels. Of course, after a good few doses of international news they are left paranoid and angry, contemplating as always the chaos that is just around the corner. From one part of the world terror looms. The local news shows them a terror meter with the dial set to high, even though their town is so remote it still holds an annual scarecrow festival. From another channel, a giant superpower that just keeps getting bigger covers the TV in a red mist. As for those Russians, well, they're always up to no good. News about North Korea has been somewhat quiet for a while, but one thing's for sure, thinks the family, evil lurks in that secret state and it's only a matter of time before the proverbial poo hits the fan. It's just a regular day in front of TV, enough to raise someone's blood pressure. The Soviet Union is a thing of the past, but it's interesting if you look at how the Soviets depicted their enemy number one – the USA of course – during the Cold War. While the U.S. was talking about reds under the bed and showing countless movies where it seemed every Russian character was innately evil, the Russians had their own creative lies about Americans. Back in those dark days there was the Soviet union's “Central Committee's Department of Agitation and Propaganda” and one thing it wouldn't allow was any mention of peace between the nations. If you were a journalist in Soviet Russia, going against this could have landed you in serious trouble. Still, many people did have pro-American sentiments just as in the U.S. many people didn't fear the beast from the East. Some people just saw a lot of grey areas, rather than a Good vs. Evil scenario. That kind of thought was suppressed as much as was possible, and the Russians tried their best to stop any radio content coming through that might not mirror what the government told its citizens. Meanwhile, in the US the government made sure people were aware of the “Red Scare” and a possible communist takeover. In Russia, things were a little different. In movies and books the KGB was not the baddie, the CIA was, and Britain's MI6 didn't come out looking too good, either. Under Stalin, any kind of movie that was deemed not sufficiently patriotic was banned. That went for a lot of music, too. Just like in American movies, if they wanted a villain then they chose an American. In fact, from the years 1946 to 1950 almost half of all the bad guys and girls in Soviet movies were American. In some films in the West, the Soviet forces were depicted as engaging in war crimes, but you could watch content about the same topic in a Soviet film and it would show the opposite being true. Still, it's said a lot of people watching those movies weren't exactly convinced and there were Russians who still had some amount of admiration for American culture, a culture which by comparison was very free. After Stalin popped his clogs, things changed a bit. No longer was artistic content under strict guidance by the government, although movies still tried to depict Soviet life as wonderful and American life not quite the wonderland it was advertised as being. That's old news and the Cold War is over, although according to one analyst the relationship between the two countries is still somewhat frosty. In fact, in 2018, the Atlantic asked, “Is China or Russia America's Defining Rival?” So, is there still such a thing as anti-American propaganda in Russia? That's hard to say, but since Russia is such a powerful nation it may have interests around the globe that don't exactly gel with American interests, so sure, there's some amount of conflict between the two countries. There's also the fact that Russia gave political asylum to Edward Snowden, a wanted man in the USA, a hero to some Americans and a criminal to others. “I was very much a person the most powerful government in the world wanted to go away,” Snowden once said about the country where he was born. Just last year Russia granted him citizenship. What we're trying to say is unlike the old days there's no overt propaganda going on, although you are going to get two different takes on stories depending on what media you read. You won't hear these things said about the U.S. in Russia right now, but they were commonplace in the past: “Monopolies feed fascism on American soil.” “Myth of universal equality and equal opportunities for everyone in US.” Another favorite in the media back then was to talk about the decaying West, or the rotting West, and at times you might have heard the degeneration of the West. Those terms might have fallen out of fashion, but only in 2017 after Russians were polled, 78 percent of them said the U.S. meddles with Russian politics. On the other hand, when Americans were polled the same year, 68 percent of them believed Russia was meddling in American politics. 31 percent of Russians believed their government was meddling with U.S. domestic affairs, while 55 percent of Americans said their government was meddling in Russian affairs. But, did those Russians have a negative view of the USA? 76 percent did in fact have a negative view and 81 percent said that the USA wanted to undermine Russia regarding the world stage. Still, a year later was the Russia–U.S. summit in Helsinki and that might have softened things a bit, especially with young Russians, because another poll said 57 percent of Russians aged 18 to 29 held a positive view of America. Even now, if you watch what might be called state-sponsored Russian TV news, you'll most likely hear that anyone who opposes the Putin government is being paid by the US or in league with the US. So, while Facebook and Twitter release reports about Russian propaganda being purged from their respective platforms, Russian news is warning folks about how American propaganda infiltrates their country. In one documentary, a Russian official warned that the US was actively trying to create extremist groups in Russia to cause chaos. Politicians in the US have said exactly the same about Russia. Talking about Facebook, one thing it did to try to cut down on propaganda being disseminated by what it calls “bad actors”, was to create more transparency around ads. Russia did a similar thing not long ago, creating the Russian foreign agent law. It's not so much about ad spending, but anyone receiving foreign donations will have to report it. This has led to summary raids and even Human Rights Watch coming under the radar. After that, Putin came up with the Russian undesirable organizations law. This gives prosecutors the power to say that an organization is undesirable. In short, if you are found to be a threat to national security you could end up in jail, and we all know how vague the term threat to national security is. As for movies, just in 2000 there was a Russian film released that had some amount of Good Vs. Bad in it. The Russians were good of course. The movie, called “Brother 2”, had a hardcore Russian guy bring down a corrupt American business tycoon. This wasn't blatantly showing Russians as the out and out good guys, similar to “Rocky 4” for the American side, but it tried to show that Russians believed in the strength of national identity more than mere money. It would be hard these days for Russia to decry American-style consumerism and talk about cultural degeneration, because many of the leaders and business tycoons in the country are ridiculously rich and aren't shy about their fondness for luxury goods. The days of bashing consumerism are done, but Russia still pulls the “we're all in this together” card. Americans on the other hand, might be depicted as more individualistic and so more capable of selfishness. So, is there anti-US sentiment in Russia now? Yes, is the answer, but it's not on the scale as it once was and it seems a lot of young Russians don't buy into the fear. Ok, moving on to Asia. Not North Korea, but China. We'll save the secret nation until last. Is there anti-American sentiment in China, just as some Americans would have you believe that China is a threat that just keeps getting bigger? Anti-American sentiments go back a long way, but let's skip communism because we've touched on those days and let's not bother with the notorious Mao Zedong. What about anti-Americanism of late? Well, in 2011, half a million Chinese people responded to an online poll that asked them about the death of Osama Bin Laden. 60 percent of them said it was a sad day, with some people saying Bin Laden was “an anti-US warrior.” Others feared that after his death the US would get tough on China. In short, much of this had to do with China's support of Pakistan, and the fact the Chinese government took a dim view of the US operations. To give you an idea of what some Chinese people thought, here's what one person wrote on a web forum, “American logic is the logic of a gangster, Pakistan! You hold on, China is behind you.” Another person wrote this, “The US politics of power and hegemony demonstrates that in order to serve its own interests, the US will achieve these by hook or crook showing utter disregard for others.” That's not something you'd hear on CNN. Ok, so you have that word hegemony, which relates to authority and domination. When we are talking about sentiments of a powerful nation, there are always going to be some people who fear the Big Other. For Americans, China and Russia might be the Big other, but that works both ways. Whether the media supports that outlook depends on which media you are reading, but for sure there is some anti-American sentiment in China just as there's anti-Chinese sentiment in some American media. Under the presidency of Donald Trump things heated up a bit because he began a trade war with China. It was around this time that China suddenly started showing old Korean War films again. The US doesn't come out looking too good in those movies. One such movie that was recently aired was “The Battle on Shangganling Mountain.” That came out in 1956, but suddenly Chinese people were watching it again. The basic premise is evil imperialist Americans invade the Korean peninsula because that's what good-for-nothing evil empires do. The big-nosed American troops you won't be surprised to hear are defeated by the Chinese. Newspapers in China were also quick to remind people about the general badness of the USA, as seen in the movie. The general message is, the USA will do anything to stop the rise of China. The imperialists want to remain imperial. This is how a Chinese blogger put it, “On the surface, this is a trade war. However, it is actually a larger battle to protect the life and death of new China.” We should also remind you that China, like the USA, is a diverse country and of course not all people share this opinion. Some people wrote that the US is behind the pandemic. Others call America a country of outlandish behavior and shaky morals, and a lot of crime. As the trade war was going on China's Culture and Tourism Ministry started putting out fresh travel warnings about the rampant theft and shootings in the US. Like Russia has done, China at times paints a picture which exposes the underbelly of America, as if everyone walks around with a gun and a bad attitude and respects nothing but themselves. The Chinese theme on the other hand is everyone working together like honey bees in a hive. There's also the fact that China didn't censor the Tarantino movie, “Django Unchained”, which was very usual given the graphic violence and China's heavy-handed censors. It's thought the reason China left it alone was to show citizens that America was a brutal place where rich white men oppressed minorities. Hmm, we're not sure if China shows movies about its own long history of brutal slavery… We are sure there's a lot of anti-American sentiment among the Chinese people, but then every country has a section of bitter, flag-waving, folks who have chosen to dislike other cultures without much thought. That's exactly why most Americans were gung-ho about invading Iraq, and it's why some Chinese will see America as the epitome of evil. These people are often a minority, though, and most folks are way more discerning about who they dislike. We must not think everyone thinks a certain way or we are the victims of propaganda. Do you remember when the late, great Anthony Bourdain went to Iran? He said he met the warmest people there he'd ever met after travelling the globe. TV in America had led him to believe Iranians hated Americans. That wasn't true, in spite of crippling sanctions and the fact the Brits and Americans installed a dictator there in the past so they could steal the oil. But if there's any country in the world where America is at the forefront of the axis of evil, it is in North Korea, a country where Americans are depicted as ravenous, pot-bellied, big-nosed capitalists that will eat your children and drop bombs on your grandparents all because you won't open a McDonald's on every street corner. The ugly American has been a thing in North Korea for a long time, especially after American troops were accused of committing war crimes and massacring innocent civilians during the Korean War. We are talking women and children here, and the women were often used by servicemen before they were executed. Even though you mainly hear that in the North, there's still a fair bit of anti-Americanism in the South. Just look at the South's soaps and movies, and like many countries in Asia, the white man is often depicted as a brute, especially if he's American. North Korea says those massacres included 35,000 people, although this is disputed. That many people may have died, but it's not ever been fully understood who was behind the massacre. Was it South Koreans, or was it ordered by the Americans? That's still a mystery, but for sure, terrible things happened, and the US army has committed other war crimes in Korea. That's the reason when school kids are taught that US soldiers “hammered nails into victims' heads” and “sliced off women's breasts”, they might believe it. In no other country is America depicted as such an evil place. The country is the antithesis of everything that's good in the world, according to North Korean propaganda. To North Koreans, only one thing matters to Americans, and that's money. They worship money, and will do anything it takes to get more. You can see posters in the country that show American servicemen men putting bullets in children's heads. You'll also see North Korean soldiers easily overpowering American soldiers. If you watch TV in North Korea you'll have to watch a lot of government broadcasts and be told time and again how happy you are. Like Stalinist Russia, there will be a lot of clapping going on. If you read news, you'll see phrases such as “imperialist American invaders” and “bloodthirsty murderous American imperialists”. Basically, Americans are depicted as savages. The problem is, North Koreans can't exactly access history books or online resources.