Since 2015 US election and 2016 Brexit referendum upsets, foreign affect on 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 write down this post. Before I get into how simple and easy , inexpensive it's to propagate disinformation online, I’d like provide some background on why and how more nations will probably be entering digital warfare space inside the long term.
Foundations of Geopolitics, the sunday paper drafted from the International Department of the Russian Secretary of state for Defence in 1997, paved the way as being a philosophical instructions manual for dismantling and dethroning enemies and super-powers alike, together with the ultimate purpose of “Finlandization” like Europe. As outlined by Wikipedia’s summary for the strategy:
“Military operations play relatively little role. The textbook advocates a sophisticated program of subversion, destabilization, and disinformation spearheaded from the Russia special services.”
Through the 2015 US election along with a meagre monthly budget of just $1.25M (estimated $15M per year), Russia’s Research Agency was able to provide you with the US election on the Republican Party. Regarding return-on-investment (ROI), Russia spends $36M per Mi-35 helicopter. It is no wonder then, that as Russia gains more territory and influence, its actual military expenses are decreasing.
Military power is clearly an extremely costly ongoing expense where destabilization is fairly cheap and plentiful. But exactly how is this done?
Tactic 1: Obtain the Fractures Then Divide & Conquer
While using the example of the US, 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 have been fanning the flames of white nationalism, gun rights groups, stoking anti-immigration sentiment and also the vilification of refugees and Muslims have already been most visible. Yet this only scratches the counter.
But more subtle and vicious domestic attacks will be in support of fringe along with other right-wing religious groups attacking women’s reproductive rights, gay marriage equality, homelessness and mental health.
We are seeing generational divisiveness growing between Seniors and Millennials. There is a growing demonization of environmental stewardship (see baseless attacks and other trolling of Greta Thunberg) and attacks on democratically-held values in general.
Long-term, inter-generational damage in the exploitation of these existing divides is viewed within the gutting of the US education system, diminishing use of healthcare for those, ballooning deficits that our children and grandchildren will be saddled down by a few of the long-term consequences to get felt by this surprisingly inexpensive destabilization warfare technique.
What were once cracks in an overarching national unity are getting to be red line fractures in an artificially created, cold civil war. Lots of people are now asking the fact that was completed to exploit these existing social divides?
Tactic 2: Leverage a digital age intersection between behavioural economics, social media marketing loopholes as well as the relative simple google search exploitation
As a digital strategist an internet-based marketer I have observed that many 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 an incorrect sense that they held popular yet controversial views.
Social media provides extensive loopholes i often share to my affiliate marketer followings to allow them to have more bang because of their buck with clients. It’s important to remember social media marketing platforms’ #1 goal is always to keep you for the platform provided that possible so they can make ad revenue. Edge in the game by showing you content they are will keep your self on just a little bit longer. They all are literally designed at some level to get addictive to us.
I discuss in my marketing content the various 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 have any results. That’s because Twitter under-reports bot activity as a way to convince its shareholders that site engagement is growing. It’s not only Twitter - Facebook, Instagram, Youtube (Google), Snapchat and in many cases Linkedin all have the identical fundamental vulnerability. It is now very easy to offer false social proof to almost anything.
Humans are hardwired with cognitive biases which are easily and frequently exploited by social media platforms and look engines to make us believe the situation is more (or fewer) popular in comparison with truly are. Increasingly we are most often getting stuck in our own social echo chambers and believe most people see things exactly like us.
There were legitimate grievances round the US economy like job losses from globalization and artificial intelligence leading to 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 only was the thing achieved to destabilize the US by facilitating the turning of your nation on itself, and also have its internal damage bleed Anti-Americanism into US-global relations. The surprise betrayal with the American-Kurd alliance can have lasting consequences on American credibility, leaving American soldiers and civilians more prone than ever.
France, the foremost and the oldest international ally of the usa, has become questioning just how much it can depend on the united states following the abrupt pulling individuals 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 when exactly this second Cold War started, one thing is for sure: we’re woefully willing to defend ourselves from disinformation and have learned to prevent difficult political conversations.
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