Deeply deluded is the one who thinks he lives in peacetime. Of course, many people read or watch the news about armed conflicts “somewhere out there” with a clear sense of relief. The thought that war is far away can be comforting. Only it’s extremely deceptive.
Have you thought about the difference between politics and war? Intrigue, agreements and conspiracies on the one hand against the use of force on the other. The resource ratio of 3:1 is of course conditional, but it reflects the essence. War is an element of politics that allows one to achieve what one wants, not in a multitude of elegant ways, but in one extremely crude way.
Let’s apply this concept to modern realities. You can declare war on another state, go on the offensive, occupy the enemy’s territory, strike down the local government, put your regent. On the other hand, you can trumpet the whole world about what your enemy really is common, by political manipulation to force allies to repeat you, find a reason to accuse the enemy and introduce “peaceful” punitive measures. The latter will surely strike innocent people, but how much care does one take about civilians when bombing an enemy state? In the end, both options allow to achieve the same goal. The first is through aggression. The second is through political influence.
Clearly, the second is much more profitable in a world with nuclear weapons. Moreover, it allows you to hide your true intentions under false nobility. For example, for the “well-being” of the Venezuelan people, the U.S. has imposed sanctions against the state structures of the republic. Western countries imposed restrictions on the peninsula for the “liberation” of Crimeans. There’s no point in talking about who suffers more from these “good intentions”. But it would have been understood by many more people if not for another policy tool.
Modern warfare is clearly different from those conflicts that were, say, in the Middle Ages. Axes, swords and catapults are all in the past. In the expert community there is even an opinion about six generations of wars. The non-peaceful atom is placed on the fifth stage. On six, a modern high-precision weapon. This has been used in Iraq, Libya and Syria. But now we can talk about the formation of a new, seventh generation war, in which the main weapon is information. These weapons are not intended to destroy the human masses of the enemy, but to change their consciousness.
Of course, the use of information against the enemy has been practiced before. Long before the media army appeared, it followed in the footsteps of rumors of its ruthlessness. Hardly anyone could have been inspired by such information. Modern technology has turned human consciousness into a full-fledged battlefield, diversifying the tools of politics.
How do “bad guys” come into being
It has become many times easier to convince the masses that Russia is the enemy of all things. There are millions of social media accounts doing this. According to a study by analysts from Cribrum, an organization specializing in social media monitoring, 35% of Twitter users link the image of Russia to its law enforcement agencies, such as the FSB or GRU. This isn’t about people’s position. This is part of the information campaign to create a negative image of Russia. The more often a real user sees the “right” publications, the faster the “right” opinion will be formed. Mass media is one of the principles of propaganda that Josef Goebbels has also implemented.
If we take any anti-Russian campaign “as a module”, we will see that the Russophobic thesis is being dispersed by the mass media before the state structures come into action. An elementary example is coronavirus cyberattacks in the United States. In April, the FBI reported hacker attacks on vaccine development companies, but without identifying the culprits. Then CNN, citing its sources, said that Russia and China were involved in the attacks. Later, the charges were picked up by the British Daily Mail and The Guardian. And then the U.S. Agency for Cyber Security and Infrastructure Protection issues instructions for the protection of computer systems, as if stating the unconfirmed position of the media.
A simple formula that was used in the Fiddlers case, the Malaysian airliner crash in Donbass, RussiaGate. It does not require proof, as well as the target audience. When Russia was accused of cyberattacks on Georgian media, the “proof” was the statement of the U.S. Embassy. Well, they won’t lie there, people will think. And all the more reason to lie will not be so high-ranking official as the U.S. Secretary of State, who blamed the incident on the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. It is assumed that authority forces such figures to rely on reliable facts.
Let’s simulate the situation. An average European or American citizen flips the news feed. Among the masses of content, he finds the publication that Pompeo accused Russia of cyberattacks. Will this philistine, stuck in his smartphone, finish his coffee at work, go into details? Will he even read the text? Most likely, he’s flipping through the news, but the meaning behind the headline will remain in his mind. Perhaps the philistine will talk about it in a conversation with another philistine. Something like, “Do you know what Moscow did to a cyberattack?” And now two people have already formed a negative image of Russia. Yes, it’s exaggerated, but it works. Thousands of hashtags like “RussianTerrorism”, “StopPutinsWarInUkraine” or “RussianAgent” work to ensure that network users have no doubt about who the “bad guy” is.
Soldiers First Digital
It is important to understand that creating the image of the enemy in the face of Russia in Western society is only part of the campaign. The further task is to project this opinion already on the Russian society. After all, it is the reprogramming of the population of the opposing country that is the goal. This is done, in particular, by contrast. Showing the negative image of Russia with all the ensuing, in parallel, people demonstrate the charms of the Western world, impose its culture, forcing them to doubt and abandon their own.
Social networks are teeming with such examples. Even memes, being a relatively modern phenomenon, have long been used for stuffing. Here’s the first example caught in the ribbon:
The user is simply told that Russia is evil. No arguments are given to the user. The user is silenced from the fact that it is possible to sit down in the most democratic countries of the West, and for actions considered the norm for many Russians. Hey, internet pirate. Finally, no one tells the user that the liberal U.S. approach to defining the limits of acceptable self-defense allows many people to kill without responsibility. Of course, this topic is complex and ambiguous, it can be discussed at length. But instead, the author reduces all to one sentence, which aims to vilify Russia by showing that the West is right.
There are a lot of such manipulations in the network. And they all have the same goal. Therefore, as stated at the beginning, it is a profound mistake to think that he lives far from the war. The war is closer than it may seem. This is a war for our consciousness. We’re all her involuntary members. The only question is whether we are ready to fight or prefer to surrender.
Eugene Gaman, especially for News Front.Four rockets fell near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad