For most of recorded history, domination by brute force has been the norm for human civilization. Someone claws their way into a position of power over the other humans, and you obey and respect him or he’ll have his goons attack you.
As people became more educated and more aware of what’s going on in their world, they began to decide that they didn’t much like being attacked by the ruler’s goon squad whenever they stepped out of line. Because there are a lot more ordinary people than rulers, this forced an end to the practice of rule by overt brute force tyranny in some parts of the world.
So a few things changed. First, we began to see rulers shipping their violent goon squad enforcers overseas. While it is now taboo to openly butcher members of your citizenry who oppose you, it is considered perfectly acceptable to send troops across the sea to destroy foreign nations which disobey your dictates.
Second, since it is no longer considered appropriate to physically force your nation’s citizens to comply with your agendas, we’ve seen a shift to psychologically compelling them to comply instead. Now instead of being compelled to advance the interests of the powerful under threat of being bashed in the head, we are psychologically manipulated into advancing those interests by mass media propaganda and other forms of narrative control.