OK, so I’m not really planning on turning this blog into a political outlet but in line with my most recent posts I felt I had to continue to give some attention to how a new form of Cold War is emerging. It’s something I forecast in Surprise Attack and I do think its serious, particularly so since it plays to some of the real strengths of what is a particularly nasty form of psychological warfare – one which integrates a moderate level of deniable military action (most often through surrogate forces) with some extremely effective geopolitical propaganda. We are seeing that in the Ukraine now, and in Syria. The Russians have always been extremely adept at this sort of thing, much more so than the U.S. Not that we didn’t try it a great deal back in the Cold War, we just didn’t ever make it work that well. And it frequently turned back on us in domestic politics while a given administration was trying to execute it internationally. A two party system helps in that regard. On the other hand, the Russians with their Cold War level of control over their press were much more efficient. Now with Putin’s renewed control over Russia and its media – and with what is effectively now a single party system or at best an oligarchy, Russia is once again prepared to be very effective with such tactics.
Actually its a good thing that our open press so often deconstructed our own efforts in deniable and covert warfare – the contemporary problem with the Russians using it against is two fold, first that the Russian press had been brought massively in line and shows some success in channeling their propaganda message – even thought ostensibly independent news channels. The second is that internet news sources and blogs makes it much easier to feed stories into the American public and into our political process.
We were all rather naive about such things back during the Cold War, we can see it all much more clearly in retrospect. The danger is not applying such history lessons and insights to what is happening today in real time….its not clear to me we are doing that, hence my continued focus on the issue. For starters, take the little piece of internet news below and just remember that it is all a very artful propaganda construct, actually incorporating pieces of real news stories for a purely dis-informational pitch – a very nice job indeed, so nice its scary (and note how easily it picks up the NATO theme, something omnipresent with Russian propaganda these days).