Because the 2015 US election and 2016 Brexit referendum upsets, foreign relation to democratic elections has turned into a hot topic. On John Oliver’s The other day Tonight, a segment explained the simplicity of tampering with voting machines which inspired me to publish this short article. Before I buy into how easy and inexpensive it can be to propagate disinformation online, I’d like provide some background on why and just how more nations is going to be entering a digital warfare space within the future years.
Foundations of Geopolitics, the sunday paper drafted by the International Department with the Russian Ministry of Defence in 1997, paved the way like a philosophical instructions manual for dismantling and dethroning enemies and super-powers alike, with all the ultimate aim of “Finlandization” like Europe. Based on Wikipedia’s summary about the strategy:
“Military operations play relatively little role. The textbook advocates a sophisticated program of subversion, destabilization, and disinformation spearheaded through the Russia special services.”
Throughout the 2015 US election sufficient reason for a meagre monthly budget of only $1.25M (estimated $15M per year), Russia’s Investigation Agency could provide the US election to the Republican Party. With regards to return-on-investment (ROI), Russia spends $36M per Mi-35 helicopter. It’s no surprise then, that as Russia gains more territory and influence, its actual military expenses are decreasing.
Military power is clearly a very costly ongoing expense where destabilization is pretty cheap and plentiful. But exactly how is done?
Tactic 1: Choose the Fractures Then Divide & Conquer
Using the illustration of america, this fracturing tactic was exquisitely executed by fuelling instability and actively supporting all dissident groups simultaneously to inflame tensions and divide communities. Enemies of the USA are already fanning the flames of white nationalism, gun rights groups, stoking anti-immigration sentiment as well as the vilification of refugees and Muslims have already been most visible. Yet this only scratches the outer lining.
But more subtle and vicious domestic attacks come in support of fringe as well as other right-wing religious groups attacking women’s reproductive rights, gay marriage equality, homelessness and mental health.
There has been generational divisiveness growing between Middle-agers and Millennials. There exists a growing demonization of environmental stewardship (see baseless attacks as well as other trolling of Greta Thunberg) and attacks on democratically-held values generally.
Long-term, inter-generational damage from your exploitation of those existing divides is viewed in the gutting of america education system, diminishing access to healthcare for all, ballooning deficits that generations to come will likely be saddled down by some of the long-term consequences being gone through this surprisingly inexpensive destabilization warfare technique.
What were once cracks within an overarching national unity have become red line fractures in an artificially created, cold civil war. Many are now asking the thing that was carried out to exploit these existing social divides?
Tactic 2: Leverage a digital age intersection between behavioural economics, social websites loopholes and also the relative simplicity of search engine exploitation
As being a digital strategist and internet-based marketer I have observed that many of the tactics offered to civilians were modified to get weaponized against competing nations. Boosting social media marketing reach on divisive posts and influencers gave fringe groups the wrong sense that they held popular yet controversial views.
Social websites has a lot of loopholes i often share to my online marketer followings so they can have more bang for his or her buck with clients. It’s remember this social media marketing platforms’ #1 goal is always to help keep you for the platform as long as possible for them to make ad revenue. This is done by revealing content they think can keep you on a little bit longer. All of them are literally designed at some level to be addictive to us.
I discuss in my marketing content the many exploitation opportunties that trick these social platforms into thinking your posts is viral by fooling the algorithm they rely on to distribute to users.
For example, with under $100 I can buy 10,000 twitter followers, automatically getting 1,000 retweets and favourites on 10 posts. For $100 of paid ads on twitter, you barely have any results. That’s because Twitter under-reports bot activity to be able to convince its shareholders this web page engagement is growing. It’s not just Twitter – Facebook, Instagram, Youtube (Google), Snapchat and even Linkedin all have precisely the same fundamental vulnerability. It is very easy to present false social proof to almost anything.
Humans are hardwired with cognitive biases which might be easily and frequently exploited by social media marketing platforms and appearance engines to generate us think that things are more (or less) popular in comparison with really are. Increasingly we seem to be getting stuck within our own social echo chambers and believe a lot of people see things exactly like us.
There have been legitimate grievances round the US economy like job losses from globalization and artificial intelligence producing increased economic inequality. But People in america were manipulated and sentiment hijacked by populist narratives for being the victim of the government, elites, experts, Democrats, Mexicans, Muslims, and foreign allies.
Tactic 3: Erode Trust & Global Alliances
What’s worse, not just was the aim achieved to destabilize the usa by facilitating the turning of the nation on itself, but also have its internal damage bleed Anti-Americanism into US-global relations. The surprise betrayal from the American-Kurd alliance will have lasting consequences on American credibility, leaving American soldiers and civilians more susceptible than ever.
France, the first and the oldest international ally of america, is questioning how much it can rely on the usa following the abrupt pulling people forces from Northern Syria with no consultations from NATO partners. As reported by the BBC,
“Russia, which sees Nato like a threat to its security, welcomes france president’s comments as “truthful words.””
It’s challenging to say just when this second Cold War started, just one thing is for sure: we’re woefully willing to defend ourselves from disinformation and also have learned to stop difficult political conversations.
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