States’ Use of Psychological Warfare to Deter Threats

How to Cite

Rai, G. (2018). States’ Use of Psychological Warfare to Deter Threats. The Journal of Intelligence, Conflict, and Warfare, 1(1).


The use of psychological tactics and methods has become an integral component of states’ strategies to counter threats on a domestic and international level. Psychological warfare can be understood as the “planned use of propaganda and other psychological operations to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behaviour of opposition groups” (RAND, 2018). Various methods such as the use of deception, misinformation, lies, honey traps, and propaganda are used to undermine the resolve of the enemy. In the current climate of terrorism and counterinsurgency, these methods are employed to not only defeat the enemy, but also to counter threats. The increase in the use of such tactics by states and non-state actors probes an analysis of their effectiveness. Thus, the question that this paper aims to answer is: How effective is the use of psychological methods in countering and deterring threats?


Bertrand, Natasha. "The US-led Coalition Is Dropping These Leaflets on ISIS' Capital in Syria to 'mess with Them'." Business Insider. May 21, 2016. Accessed April 05, 2018.

Brzezinski, Zbigniew. "Terrorized by 'War on Terror'." The Washington Post. March 25, 2007. Accessed April 04, 2018. dyn/content/article/2007/03/23/AR2007032301613.html.

Capelouto, Susanna, and Hamdi Alkhshali. "Iraqi Leaflets in Mosul Warn of ISIS Battle." CNN. October 16, 2016. Accessed April 06, 2018.

Clow, Ryan. “Psychological Operations: The Need to Understand the Psychological Plane of War.” Canadian Military Journal. August 27, 2008. Government of Canada, National Defence, Canadian Defence Academy.

Crawford, Kamillia. "To Catch a Terrorist: The Improper Use of Profiling in U.S. Post-9/11 Counterterrorism" (2016). Honors in the Major Theses, 57. Retrieved from

Dejean, Ashley, et al. "THE KREMLIN’S GREMLINS." (2017). Mother Jones 42, no. 4, 20-21. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 7, 2018).

Diamond, Larry. "Russia and the Threat to Liberal Democracy." The Atlantic. (2016). Retrieved from

Fayaz, Sadia. "Kashmir Dispute between Pakistan and India: The Way Out." Dialogue (1819-6462) 11, no. 1 (January 2016): 65-82. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 8, 2018).

Gompert, David C., John Gordon IV, Adam Grissom, David R. Frelinger, Seth G. Jones, Martin

Libicki, C., Edward O'Connell, Brooke Stearns Lawson, and Robert E. Hunter, Countering Insurgency in the Muslim World: Rethinking U.S. Priorities and Capabilities. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2008.

Hamiti, Urtak. " The War of US against ISIS in Psychological Warfare and Internet as the New Frontline" European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies [Online], Volume 4 Number 2 (30 April 2016)

Komireddi, Kapil. "Kapil Komireddi: India's failing Secularism." The Guardian. April 05, 2009. Accessed April 07, 2018.

Kovalev, Alexey, and Matthew Bodner. "The Secrets of Russia's Propaganda War, Revealed." The Moscow Times. March 1, 2017. Accessed April 02, 2018.

Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History Ch. 4: Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, pp 42-53 (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Lo, Bobo. "An Accident Waiting to Happen: Trump, Putin and the US-Russia Relationship”. Lowy Institute. (2017). Retrieved from

Louw, P. Eric. "The `War Against Terrorism'." International Communication Gazette 65, no. 3 (2003): 211-30.

Masood, Bashaarat. "Why Shopian Symbolises Fight against Kashmir's New Wave of Militancy." The Indian Express. April 08, 2018. Accessed April 08, 2018.

McNeilly, Mark, and Sunzi. Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare. Oxford University. New York. Updated ed. 2015.

Morris, David Z. "How Russians Used Social Media to Boost the Trump Campaign." Fortune. February 17, 2018. Accessed April 05, 2018.

Munoz, Arturo, U.S. Military Information Operations in Afghanistan: Effectiveness of Psychological Operations 2001-2010. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2012. Also available in print form.

Oates, Sarah. "A Perfect Storm: American Media, Russian Propaganda." Current History 116, no. 792 (October 2017): 282284. Political Science Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 7, 2018).

P. C., Dheeraj. "India’s PSYWAR Against Islamic Terrorism: A Trident Strategy." Terrorism and Political Violence, 2018, 1-24.

Psychological Warfare." RAND Corporation. Accessed April 08, 2018. N.A.

Reston, Laura. "How Russia Weaponizes Fake News." New Republic 248, no. 6 (June 2017): 6-8. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 2, 2018).

Ryan, Michael. "FRAMING THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM US: Newspaper Editorials and Military Action in Afghanistan." Gazette: International Journal for Communication Studies 66, no. 5 (October 2004): 363-382. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 9, 2018).

Sakwa, Richard. "U.S.-Russian Relations in the Trump Era." Insight Turkey 19, no. 4 (Fall 2017): 12-27. Political Science Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 7, 2018).

Sunil Narula (2008) Psychological operations (PSYOPs): A conceptual overview, Strategic Analysis, 28:1, 177192, DOI: 10.1080/09700160408450124

Vale of Tears; Kashmir." The Economist 420, no. 9004 (2016): N/A

Wall, Tyler. "U.S. Psychological Warfare and Civilian Targeting." Peace Review 22, no. 3 (July 2010): 288-294. Political Science Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 2, 2018).

Works published in JICW will be distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). First publication rights to original work accepted for publication is granted to JICW and authors retain the copyright to their published work. 


Download data is not yet available.