Since the 2015 US election and 2016 Brexit referendum upsets, foreign impact on democratic elections has developed into a hot topic. On John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, a segment explained the ease of tampering with voting machines which inspired me to publish this post. Before I purchase into how basic and inexpensive it can be to propagate disinformation on the web, I’d like provide some background on why and the way more nations will be entering digital warfare space from the future.
Foundations of Geopolitics, a magazine drafted with the International Department of the Russian Ministry of Defence back in 1997, paved the way like a philosophical instructions manual for dismantling and dethroning enemies and super-powers alike, with the ultimate goal of “Finlandization” it really is Europe. Based on Wikipedia’s summary on the strategy:
“Military operations play relatively little role. The textbook advocates a sophisticated program of subversion, destabilization, and disinformation spearheaded by the Russia special services.”
Throughout the 2015 US election with a meagre monthly budget of just $1.25M (estimated $15M annually), Russia’s Research Agency might 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 really costly ongoing expense where destabilization is pretty cheap and plentiful. But how exactly are these claims done?
Tactic 1: Find The Fractures Then Divide & Conquer
With all the example of the usa, this fracturing tactic was exquisitely executed by fuelling instability and actively supporting all dissident groups simultaneously to inflame tensions and divide communities. Enemies of america happen to be fanning the flames of white nationalism, gun rights groups, stoking anti-immigration sentiment along with the vilification of refugees and Muslims happen to be most visible. Yet this only scratches the outer lining.
But more subtle and vicious domestic attacks have been in support of fringe as well as other right-wing religious groups attacking women’s reproductive rights, gay marriage equality, homelessness and mental health.
We are seeing generational divisiveness growing between Middle-agers and Millennials. There exists a growing demonization of environmental stewardship (see baseless attacks and other trolling of Greta Thunberg) and attacks on democratically-held values generally speaking.
Long-term, inter-generational damage from your exploitation of the existing divides sometimes appears from the gutting of america education system, diminishing use of healthcare for all, ballooning deficits that future generations will be saddled down by some of the long-term consequences to become gone through this surprisingly inexpensive destabilization warfare technique.
What were once cracks in a overarching national unity have become red line fractures within an artificially created, cold civil war. Lots of people are now asking the thing that was implemented to exploit these existing social divides?
Tactic 2: Leverage digital age intersection between behavioural economics, social media loopholes as well as the relative simple search engine exploitation
Being a digital strategist an internet-based marketer I have observed that lots of the tactics offered to civilians were modified to become weaponized against competing nations. Boosting social media reach on divisive posts and influencers gave fringe groups the wrong sense that they held popular yet controversial views.
Social media has a lot of loopholes which I often share to my web marketer followings so they can acquire more bang for buck with clients. It’s donrrrt forget to remember social websites platforms’ #1 goal is always to make you stay around the platform as long as possible so they can make ad revenue. They do this by showing you content they are could keep yourself on a bit longer. They all are literally designed at some level to get addictive to us.
I discuss inside my marketing content the different 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’m able to buy 10,000 twitter followers, automatically getting 1,000 retweets and favourites on 10 posts. For $100 of paid ads on twitter, you barely get any results. That’s because Twitter under-reports bot activity so that you can convince its shareholders that site engagement is increasing. It’s not just Twitter – Facebook, Instagram, Youtube (Google), Snapchat and even Linkedin all have exactly the same fundamental vulnerability. It may be super easy to offer false social proof to almost anything.
Humans are hardwired with cognitive biases that are easily and often exploited by social networking platforms and appearance engines to generate us believe that everything is more (or fewer) popular than they really are. Increasingly we are most often getting stuck in our own social echo chambers and believe a lot of people see things exactly like us.
There are legitimate grievances around the US economy like job losses from globalization and artificial intelligence leading to increased economic inequality. But People in the usa were manipulated and sentiment hijacked by populist narratives to be the victim of the government, elites, experts, Democrats, Mexicans, Muslims, and foreign allies.
Tactic 3: Erode Trust & Global Alliances
What’s worse, not simply was the goal achieved to destabilize the usa by facilitating the turning of your nation on itself, but in addition have its internal damage bleed Anti-Americanism into US-global relations. The surprise betrayal with the American-Kurd alliance will have lasting consequences on American credibility, leaving American soldiers and civilians more vulnerable than previously.
France, the foremost and the oldest international ally of the us, is now questioning just how much it could count on america after the abrupt pulling individuals forces from Northern Syria without any 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 tough to say just when this second Cold War started, one thing is certain: we’re woefully willing to defend ourselves from disinformation and have learned to avoid difficult political conversations.
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