Information Resistance analytics: Professor I.P. Rushchenko, PhD Sociology especially for “Information Resistance” (Ukraine)
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
In the USA, alarm bells have rung. It seems that the nation is starting to become aware of a very nasty and unexpected fact: the great nation of America is under attack. The angry dwarf – Lord of the eastern Empire – has become so emboldened that he has decided to launch a despicable attack on the holy of holies – democratic values. Contemporary history increasingly resembles the plot of the blockbuster movie “Star Wars.” The eternal saga of confrontation between the light and dark sides of the world order. Maybe this time, the Republic will wake up from its sweet slumber at the summit of its economic might and believe what experts have been saying for months.
An essential element of a hybrid war is the mystery surrounding the start of the war or major strategic operation (in the language of prior military campaigns). Such dates as September 1, 1939, June 22, 1941, December 7, 1941 (the attack on the US Navy naval base in Pearl Harbour) and June 6, 1944 (the beginning of Operation “Overlord”) and similar memorable dates speak for themselves and require no special comment. The enemy carefully conceals and disguises its intentions until the last moment, i.e. “D” Day. But, after the first salvos or bomb strikes, everything falls into place; and subsequently historians do not argue over the actual start date of the operation. In the hybrid wars or at least in the invasions, whose recipes are concocted in Putin’s kitchen, everything ends up working differently. The aggression begins with the covert use of concealed means and anonymous entities – third-parties in whose name subversive actions can be carried out. Only later comes the realization that the nation is under attack and a war is in fact in progress. The aggressor naturally benefits from a substantial temporary advantage. That is how it happened in the case of the Russo-Ukrainian war, where the date of February 20, 2014, is not at all definite and emerged most likely on the “prompting” of the aggressor. There are, moreover, other versions, which place “D” day half a year earlier, or even 10 years back.
We are now witnessing something similar, with the Empire’s attack on Western civilization (Western Europe and the United States). The question naturally arises: has “D” day already taken place or is it yet to come? Who has the world’s most developed countries in his sights? The landmark report by the American secret services (FBI, CIA, NSA of January 6) “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in the Recent US Elections,” with which Donald Trump recently became acquainted, contains an important conclusion: “Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represented the most recent expression of Moscow’s long-standing desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal and democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.” In terms of this report, is it war or just “the overture to the opera?” Is “the significant increase” only a quantitative indicator? Or have the quantities, in keeping with the law of dialectics, been transformed into a new qualitative state? Are the directness, activity and scale indicators of aggression or just signs of ordinary unfriendliness? Where is the red line separating the state of war from the state of peace in our era?
From the perspective of the wars in previous generations, this unprecedented revival of intelligence and subversive activity could be classed as an event preceding “D” Day. But in the context of a hybrid war, the manifestations of an unconventional invasion can be interpreted differently: that the “red line” has already been crossed, and Western civilization is being subjected to strikes using a broad range of offensive resources. The author of the aggression prefers for the moment to stay in the shadows. The experience of the Russian-Ukrainian war shows that this position is most convenient for the aggressor. And there is no objective evidence prompting him to reveal himself. That it is the main joy of a hybrid war in Putin’s conception: it becomes a real quest to identify targeted countries! The longer a nation ponders and politicians, as they say, “scratch their heads,” the more damage can be inflicted on the sly, putting the opponent in the absurd position of fighting against an invisible enemy.
What is the purpose of any war? Obviously, it’s the desire of one nation state to bend another entity it interacts with on the international stage to its own will. If a hybrid-war invasion facilitates the desired result in a fateful referendum or in the election of the head of a distant state, it means only one thing: the purpose of the silent war has been achieved. Zhirinovsky can drink champagne in front of the TV cameras! But the real heroes of the blockbuster will drink expensive cognac from cut crystal glasses behind the solid wood doors of offices at addresses known to all. Armament should be used in a hybrid war only as a last resort, for a short time and preferably even under the flag of irregular combat formations. Otherwise the opposite effect is achieved: the nation, God forbid, rallies and its resolve hardens (as in Ukraine), and any hope of controlling the situation by pulling multiple strings fades.
But every smart operator stumbles, and sooner or later people become aware of the attack. The process of “realisation” and reaction to invasion looks, in our opinion, as follows:
1) Latency phase.
Driven by malevolence, the leader of an undemocratic country (in principle, such an occurrence is an impossibility in a democracy) secretly mobilises a state’s apparatus for aggression against a sovereign country or block of countries. “Malevolence” according to the classical school of criminal law was understood to come from the perverted mind of the criminal. This concept can be fully applied to Putin and his companions both in Russia and abroad. (We earlier substantiated the hypothesis that a global hybrid world war has actually started, in which the Kremlin is gathering a coalition of representatives of non-Western civilizations to destroy the existing world order). In the initial stage, the aggressor can simultaneously use a number of critical resources. In the situation of Ukraine – the economic and gas wars, subversive propaganda, the formation of a “fifth column,” political and military blackmail, political corruption, the spread of separatist ideas, etc.. Against Western civilization, we observe a series of terrorist attacks, the deployment of advocacy networks, political corruption, special operations in the civil sector (creating refugee flows, incidents with migrants). But the word “war” is still taboo. Everyone is afraid to say it, just as in the past primitive peoples refused to pronounce the name of taboo things. Nobody wants to believe that in supposed conditions of peace and the application of international legal standards, war in a hybrid format can be treacherously and secretly unleashed with impunity. And the few experts warning of systematic aggression are, as a rule, not listened to yet. The attacking party skilfully takes advantage of these circumstances. Recognition of the war – like an electric shock – immediately sobers up a nation and forces it to resist. On the other hand, the continued illusion of peace leaves the opponent weakened and disunited, exactly what is needed for conducting covert operations.
2) Realisation phase.
Judging by the latest newswire reports, the process of acknowledging an uncomfortable and painful truth has actually started in the United States: other nations are no longer afraid of it and a hidden war has been taken to their opponent’s territory, i.e. American society has been transformed into a target. This is what we Ukrainians went through, when the “little green men” appeared in Crimea, and at the memorable meeting of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council which debated the dilemma of “to be or not to be.” America, it would appear, seems to be confronted with a similar problem today. This truth shocks Americans and hurts their pride. Oceans are no longer a barrier to an incursion into sovereign territory. The Federal security services appear to have got a handle on the cyber attacks and Russian propaganda. On this question (not easy for Trump’s image), the various sides are already on the way to a consensus. But still unacknowledged are the terrorist attacks which took place on United States territory on the eve of the presidential elections, and to which we previously tried to draw attention as being far from random events. Of course, it is more difficult to constitute a basis of evidence for terrorism and even more difficult to interpret facts as elements of a system, rather than the action of individual fanatics (especially since most of them die when committing a terrorist attack).
But what about a “fifth column,” agents of influence, insiders, and recruited minions sent out on location? In Europe, there is more clarity. Journalists have already drawn up lists of parties and politicians who have openly adopted a pro-Putin stance and clearly do not shun the Kremlin’s financial assistance. But what is the situation in the USA in this regard? Conducting subversive activity in the American society is much more complex and more money is needed. But it will be recalled that even in the grim years of the Cold War, the KGB had great success in recruiting agents and obtaining top-secret information. We can assume that the Americans have yet to realize the full extent of the covert attacks that have been taking place against the country in recent years. At the January 11 press conference, Trump publicly denied he had any links with Russia, as was suspected by his opponents. The process has started, but will it lead to the next phase?
3) Acknowledgement of the facts.
This stage means there is a consensus among the main political forces and civil society on the question of what is happening. Everybody accepts the diagnosis except the political fringes and representatives of the “fifth column.” The source of the danger and the scale and nature of hybrid threats become clear. The word “war,” sadly, has to be written without quotes. In Ukraine, the authorities have disguised it under the “ATO” heading. However, all Ukrainian politicians express indescribable delight, when foreign institutions refer in their writings to the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine. Europeans, primarily eastern European countries, France and Germany, where elections beckon in 2017, have already been placed in a state of “readiness. “Stand-by” status evidences the collapse of the illusion that “it will all turn out fine.” Governments are urgently strengthening national cybersecurity; centres to counter Russian propaganda are springing up; police forces are beginning to act more decisively on the streets, especially in relation to migrants and dropouts (manipulated to create chaos). NATO is taking steps to deploy additional military forces and resources on the bloc’s eastern borders. Despite initial resistance from D. Trump, events in the United States are obviously developing in this direction. The new president will have to accept the fact that his country is in the crosshairs. This may happen over the next several weeks. The consequence will be an internal mobilisation and the nation coming together, something the Americans (to their credit) are able to do. Moreover, it is very favourable for Trump personally to be the leader of the nation at the time of a threat from the world’s “dark forces.” This will help, firstly, to rally the nation around him; secondly, significantly raise his personal rating, which looks absurdly low after the victory. Currently, Trump’s approval rating by Americans is 37%. At the end of November, 2016, the figure was 44%. Most of the country’s population (51%) is dissatisfied with the president-elect. By comparison, in 2008, at the equivalent time, Obama had 68% of popular support!
4) “The path of war.”
What will be the military response of the US and Western Europe? One can only guess. Inaction or a defensive posture mean undoubted defeat. This was a lesson learned by Ukraine. Only active resistance and a build-up of one’s own strength can stop an aggressor who does not understand the meaning of the words “compromise,” “law,” “obligations,” “humanism” and similar “liberal buzz words.” Here, Putin has a significant advantage. His hands are free, the Empire is mobilised for war, and his personal orders are enough for any scurrilous tricks. Putin does not feel the slightest sympathy for the victims of aggression, even if they are civilians or bystanders. The story of the destruction of Aleppo – a city that was on the map of the Middle East back in the heyday of ancient Egypt – should be a warning to Western civilization. This episode is obviously easier for Europeans to understand than the fate, for example, of distant Groznyy or the Ukrainian town of Debaltseve. The aggressor will make no allowance for humane considerations or humanitarian law in this war of civilizations. Caught up in discussions and electoral processes, the West appears to be drowning in inertia. But all is not lost. Moreover, there is a historical precedent, when the great Republicans and Conservatives brought down a far more horrible and cruel evil empire. Western civilization can strike a devastating blow to the Empire in the same hybrid format. But to do so, it needs to come together and have a common will to win and to preserve world order.
In conclusion, we return to the narrative of “Star Wars,” understandable to Americans and numerous admirers of the space saga. Like the protagonists of the famous film, Putin embodies the” forces of darkness,” as has been apparent throughout his criminal career. Each time his latest crimes and adventures meet with success, “the dark side of the force” grows. At first, it was in the doorways of Leningrad, then in the ranks of the KGB, then in the service of Sobchak, and finally, in the Kremlin, where he attained his full might, as a villain on a planetary scale. Is it not time, to use the colloquial expression sometimes used by the well-known mayor of a large Ukrainian city, to “multiply the emperor by zero”? Objectively, D. Trump potentially has a historical global mission to free the world from the evil empire. Will he be able to recognize this and execute what has been preordained, as Ronald Reagan did in his day? Or will he go down in history as a failed president, who did not meet the challenge of the time and turned the United States into a regional power?
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