EU’S INFOWAR ON RUSSIA
"We believe that any internal reforms should be carried out in a peaceful, evolutionary way, while their forms and pace should not run counter to the existing traditions. In other words, the people should determine their destiny on their own." - Sergey Lavrov
During these early years of the 21st Century it has been fashionable to explain certain aspects of political life, let alone a political death of nation-states, by using euphemisms and modern slang terms such as “Hybrid Warfare” and “Infowar”, for understanding how two or more adversaries are engaged in competition with each other, as well as the process of a propaganda war.
In harsh reality, the understanding of trading “Infowar” accusations can be more complex and more lethal in the preparation for actual total war. As we accuse each other of how the other side is more sinister that we are, then we soon indulge in hypocrisy and forget our own contradictions -- which can eventually destroy us.
Presciently, the great Italian writer and communist Alberto Moravia (1907-- 1990) once noted, “When you aren't sincere you need to pretend, and by pretending you end up believing yourself; that's the basic principle of every faith.” Therefore, thinking of this great man who stood up to fascism, who stood up to capitalism not only in Europe but in the United States as well, I would state that in our modern of era of oligarchs and despotism, which can be seen and heard across the world, here's the rub -- Not acknowledging how we need to clean up our own political “time of indifference” wherever that may be.
With these astute observations of political “faith” Moravia alluded to personally and politically, let me make some further observations about some views on the Infowar against Russia, as delineated by Finnish lawyer, business man and author Jon Hellevig, who has worked in Russia since the early 1990s.
In the beginning of his rather long essay, Hellevig declares that the EU (European Union) and the United States both created decrees or laws countering what they understand as the Russian Government’s use of spreading Russian propaganda and other various forms of information in the cyberspace war. Let us view the culture and propaganda wars between nations states, not from a hysterical outlook or “scandalous calls” as Hellevig refers to the EU and US repression of political and cultural dissent, but in a more mature. detached way so as not to lose the trajectory-essence or coup d'œil as Clausewitz so aptly phrased the decisive glance regarding waging war, but which I would assert is also is also part of the propaganda war and culture war against a perceived or actual enemy nation-state.
I believe two major military theorists, Carl Von Clausewitz (1780-1831) and V.K Triandafillov (1894-1931), wrote succinctly, but with verve, about the propaganda war which is part of the core essence of winning any war. Clausewitz said about diplomacy and political agitation that “Accordingly, war can never be separated from political intercourse, and if, in the considerations of the matter, this occurs anywhere, all the threads of the different relations are, in a certain sense, broken, and we have before us a senseless thing without an object”.
What Clausewitz refers to regarding “political intercourse” is a normal, interaction of diplomacy and propaganda agitation, although such a term was not used in his life-time. In other words, Clausewitz instructs us to use our political culture, diplomatic culture and our propaganda views as a “character of policy”, his term. When one strikes out against an enemy for the way they wage their propaganda war against us, should we behave in their manner? Should we claim that we are cleaner than they are in the war of political words?
Would it not be more sensible, even more ethical to the masses of our given country, to not only point out the insidious and reckless behavior of our political enemies abroad, but also to admit we too have our shortcomings concerning our political contradictions, and that we will also wage a war in dealing with our own governmental problems?
The modest genius Triandafillov was aware that in preparation for war, the political and propaganda machinery of any given state must be in high readiness and employed not only for the state, but for the well-being of the people.
Triandafillov wrote clearly and without embarrassment that:
The basic work in this vital problem of our agitation and propaganda must be done even prior to the onset of an operation, as preparations at being made for it. The question of the class nature of war, the goals we and our enemy are pursuing, proper representation of the internal state of our country, the balance of class forces in our society and the enemy’s society, all this must be assimilated before actions begin, before forces set out on a march.
What Triandafillov asserts is that “pursuing, proper representation of the internal state” is of primary importance when we question the intentions, both political and military, of our enemies. It is factually true that Hellevig is correct in pointing out the criminal political and military behavior of the EU and the US, but it is his better-than-thou attitude in defending Russia that leaves one skeptical -- and which I feel shows a lack of political maturity.
It is not enough to love the Russian motherland, it is also profoundly important to see her greatness as well as her flaws. The brilliant glimpse, like that of a shaft of striking sunlight, is to understand that the engagement towards an enemy must be one of politique et militaire coup d'œil. If we understand such a political skill in terms of a propaganda war with an adversary, whether it be one of a cyberspace war in so-called Asymmetrical Warfare, then one must engage the enemy with a coup d'œil that is resilient and does not lower itself into the gutter of the enemy's propaganda methodology.
Let us now more closely study some of the serious allegations Hellevig made about the EU and US “Infowar” against Russia. In one his major evaluations on the state of affairs among the EU masses, Hellevig observed:
The European populations are up in arms against what they see as a forceful superimposition of a repulsive alien culture and the wrecking of Europe’s traditional values by a centrally led campaign of promotion of new sexual mores, invented gender identifications and a despicable newspeak politically correct language. People have woken up to oppose the eradication of national sovereignty and the imposition of the EU superstate. The EU and the West at large are being increasingly marginalized economically, politically, culturally and militarily in the face of ever growing significance of China, Russia and other emerging free world countries.
One cannot deny that the peoples of Europe, although not all nation-states of Europe, are restless and unsettled due not only the clash of cultures with the coming of the millions or refugees fleeing the regional war in the Middle East, but also because of profoundly serious economic despair as well. However, not all the European masses are “up in arms… against a repulsive alien culture”, for millions of Europeans have accepted Islamic culture and other forms of Middle Eastern and African culture mannerism with tolerance, just as they embraced Russian culture in the former DDR (East Germany) and in other Eastern European states during the Cold War.
In addition, millions of Europeans were able to adjust to American military personnel in Germany, Spain and Italy, where the people there were able to absorb an alien, military culture into their own spheres of political dictates. At the same time in those countries’ history, they have also protested against American military bases on their homelands. The creation of a so-called “superstate” is not merely a creation of the elite, European ruling classes, but it is not without precedent, as Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party regime in Germany also had such a political design for Europe.
What is a flaw in Hellevig’s analysis of decay in the EU is his attempt to convince readers that China and Russia, along with other ‘free world’ countries, are becoming more significant forces in freeing themselves from the yoke of the EU and Western hegemony. One should remember that China is a socialistic nation-state, Russia went through the great October Revolution which ultimately created the USSR, and the aura of that historical period is still a part of present day Russia, even though Russia currently lays claim to a neo-capitalist, democratic way of life.
And then we have the deadly, contradictory behavior of the United States Government with its own unbridled ways of instigating “Infowar” against its adversaries. In the United States, and in some cases pertaining to some EU countries, the usage of so-called “Alternative Facts” as the Trump regimes touts in its own propaganda war in controlling the American people, is also part of the so-called “free world countries”. Hellevig's naiveté in making reference to “free world-countries” is not very insightful; rather, he might better have referred to those so-called ‘free’ countries in Europe as being in struggles for self-determination and independence not only from the EU alignment but from the devastation of capitalism and the “free world market”.
Regarding the usage of the tactics of the CIA and the EU’s ways of condemning the Russian Government for its cyberspace war and disinformation against the EU and US -- that cannot be disputed in a general way. It is a fact that Russia does indeed have its own propaganda machinery directed against the Baltic States, Western European nation-states, and the political and military apparatus of the United States, as well it should be.
After all, Russia had a right to defend itself against an encroaching EU and US military apparatus whose mission is not to contain Russia, but to ultimately invade and dominate Russia in toto. Therefore, Russia is in a propaganda war against the West that should be acknowledged within the political, ethical realm.
In a section of Hellevig's essay dealing with what he terms a “propaganda center” for a “NWO” (New World Order), he writes, “I deem that the CIA has the absolutely most crucial and fundamental role … it controls and directs the work of all the other intelligence agencies in this respect… Based on this and other circumstantial evidence, I have drawn the conclusion that the CIA operates a central Western propaganda center---… In this connection, it is worth mentioning that the Russian FM Sergey Lavrov just recently revealed that Moscow is aware of the EU issuing periodic guidelines on how EU officials in all countries should refer to issues concerning contentions issues between Russia and the EU/USA/NATO.”
I would not doubt that the CIA has indeed focused more than ever its mandate on working with certain Western intelligence agencies in Western Europe, but that it controls all the intelligence agencies through some special “Western propaganda center” is a claim not based on actual facts but on hyperbole. Hellevig must prove it beyond a doubt, so that serious military and intelligence agencies can respond accordingly. But the overall seriousness of such an accusation being openly discussed is naïve in the first place.
Then there is the American Question regarding its unstable status of the government to govern its own people, let alone indulge in massive “Infowar” against Russia. What Hellevig does not take into account is how the controversial new President of the United States Donald J. Trump is fighting a class war with large swaths of the American people who are in revolt against his narcissistic populist movement with its extreme nationalism and Fascistic hysteria; already, Trump is fighting at least a two-front war with his impending political war against China, as he attempts to split the Russia and China alliance. We shall see if the Russian Government is seduced by Trump and his anarchic regime.
When Hellevig refers with his rather bizarrely Eurocentric terminology, to “new alien culture” and “the forging of Homo Europaeus”, one can only smile slightly at such phobias, authentic or not. What he suggests on these subjects is “European populations up in arms against what they see as a forceful superimposition of a repulsive alien culture and the wrecking of Europe’s traditional values by a centrally led campaign, promotion of new sexual mores, invented gender identifications and a despicable newspeak politically correct language. The opponents feel that their way of life is subject to a countercultural transformation on the terms of cultural Marxism”.
Possibly it would behoove Hellevig not to use such disparaging and dismissive language as “repulsive” and “despicable” which ironically could be viewed as itself being politically correct language coming from the Kremlin. We know Moscow has an intelligentsia, perhaps one of the most profound in the world, with a history of being more subtle when it comes to observations of an enemy in whatever form.
We know there certainly can be political correctness in Moscow and throughout Russia as there is in Europe. No country in the present contemporary world is without its political flaws and social contradictions. The ordinary Russian people hate political correctness, no matter in what form it exists within their country, as the Decembrist Movement and the Russian Revolution proved so well by its own justified political hatred. There is a price to pay not only in Europe, but in Russia and America, as well, for thinking that the people cannot rise up in arms.
In addition, it might have been helpful to his readers if Hellevig had explained what “cultural Marxism” means -- it's not in any way allied with the profound ethics, both politically and culturally, of Marxism/Leninism. Cultural Marxism is a vulgar form of so-called Marxism invented by certain disenfranchised German intellectuals during the Weimar Republic before Hitler ascended to power. Ultimately, the Frankfurt School moved to the United States to continue its work of creating a bourgeois ‘alternative plan’ for social development which went nowhere in the United States.
There is one instance, however, in which Hellevig does concede that the millions of migrants who have recently landed upon the nation-states of Europe do not bear responsibility for the deepening crises in Europe, when he writes “Hereby, I must stress that the migrants themselves are innocent victims of these machinations, the blame which lies squarely on the EU-NWO leaders. Some of them are refugees and some migrants in search of a better life, and even so they naturally have a more right to do so, the more so as they have been enticed by the EU to come”
Let me note it is not merely a matter of “[s]ome of them” as he states, but rather thousands and thousands of these tragically afflicted people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and many nation states of Africa who are fleeing barbaric forms of war and institutionalized tyranny.
Through the second half of his essay, Hellevig describes to some extent the “fake news” promulgated and propagated by the CIA, which is nothing new -- the Nazi regime also created such programs not only in its rise to power when deceiving the gullible German populace, as Trump was seemingly able to do is similar fashion during the 2016 presidential election, and which can also be seen in Western Europe with or without the help of the CIA.
Nevertheless,, so-called “fake news” -- really nothing but a catch-phrase for the tool of repeating a lie or lies to a population until they believe the lie or lies -- has been a part of political machinery in capitalist societies for decades but has only become more sophisticated in the latter twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first century. In fact, I would say that the Russians are poor imitators of “fake news” reporting unlike that of the West, and perhaps should reconsider its rich heritage that Lenin and Stalin evoked, when it came to their war with Western capitalism and German fascism.
In his paper, Hellevig goes on to mention NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) and how they can be used for covert operations by the CIA, something done throughout the West via “infiltration” in which the original organization can be turned into a propaganda front or tool for the established government. Even the Bolsheviks and the various Russian governments that have succeeded the former Soviet Union cannot deny the usage of such tactics within Russia. The war between revolutionaries against an established regime that has no deep interest in the peoples’ needs and their genuine aspirations leads to such covert operations on both sides.
As reported online, “Approximately 1.5 million NGOs operate in the United States. These NGOs undertake a wide array of activities, including political advocacy on issues such as foreign policy, elections, the environment, healthcare, women’s rights, economic development, and many other issues. Many NGOs in the United States also operate in fields that are not related to politics. These include volunteer organizations rooted in shared religious faith, labor unions, groups that help vulnerable people such as the poor or mentally ill, and groups that seek to empower youth or marginalized populations”.
It can be said that many of these organizations are legitimate and progressive in nature, but it can also be surmised that many such NGOs are fronts for intelligence-gathering purposes. Of course, Russia has its own NGO operations, and has its own hands in espionage work in cyberwar or propaganda “Infowar” political groups which other nations are well aware of, even if one is skeptical of certain accusations of Russian political interference in their nation-state activities.
Furthermore, as reported by the established British media online news source, The Guardian, “The Swedish Institute of International Affairs said in a comprehensive study that Sweden had been the target of 'a wide array of active measures' aimed at “hampering its ability to generate public support in pursuing its policies”. The study said Russia had used misleading reports on its state-run news website Sputnik, and public interventions by Russian politicians in Swedish domestic affairs, as well as more covert methods”.
Whether the Russian Government denies the accusation or not is irrelevant since it is a fact that categorically all nation-states are involved in every kind of modern propaganda warfare -- this sophisticated form of war is part of a large-scale guerrilla campaign leading up to full-scale symmetrical war, as in a world war. To deny the very essence of war by another means, that is, the cultural and propaganda war which is essential to winning a modern war, is an ignorant misunderstanding of the preparation for war.
In Lenin’s commentary on the propaganda war against various chauvinistic nations in Western Europe, including his very real and harsh battle against the Czarist monarchy during World War I, he posited, “The formation of a republican United States of Europe should be the immediate political slogan of Europe’s Social-Democrats. In contrast with the bourgeoisie, which is ready to 'promise' anything in order to draw the proletariat into the mainstream of chauvinism, the Social-Democrats will explain that this slogan is absolutely false and meaningless without the revolutionary overthrow of the German, the Austrian and the Russian monarchies”.
What is vital in this succinct statement from Lenin was that he proposed a republican United States of Europe not much different than Napoleon who also had such a vision or Simon Bolivar had with his own vision of a United Latin America. When we look at the political landscape of Western and Eastern Europe, when we observe with a singular but direct eye on the growing fascism developing in the United States, when we even look fairly and critically at a fragile Russia with its still undecided path towards a capitalistic democracy or a return to a more enlightened social democracy, then we can understand the propaganda and cultural war for the workers and other progressive classes in these political hemispheres is a fight to the death.
When Hellevig wrote, “I want to point out how the EU Parliament resolution on 'combating Russian propaganda' reads as a projection on Russia of all the shenanigans and trickery that the EU and its American partner have been subjecting Russia to through the years” such an assertion cannot be denied, but it must be placed within the context of overall modern history, and not with the veil of self-righteousness.
In the contemporary world, there are other nation-states besides those of the EU, Russia or the United States that deal with the Infowar of aggression. The socialist nation of Cuba has shown resolve against such tactics, although it does not play the game of being the victim or whining about the uneven war of propaganda campaigns. As a Cuban foreign minister said recently, “Aggression, pressure, conditions, impositions do not work with Cuba. This is not the way to attempt to have even a minimally civilized relationship with Cuba,” Josefina Vidal, a foreign ministry department head, told the Guardian. Cuba’s wait-and-see approach is guided by Trump’s unpredictability –“ , even though Trump has signaled his animosity towards socialist Cuba.
In a more recent reply to the temper tantrums of Trump regarding his wanting to strike “a better deal” with the Cuban government over normalizing relationships with the United States, Raul Castro, the leader of Cuba, cautioned at a summit of Latin American and Caribbean leaders, “But it should not hope that to achieve this Cuba will make concessions inherent to its independence and sovereignty”.
It would, perhaps, be Intelligent and educational, if Hellevig studied more about the diplomacy and the propaganda war that the Cuban socialist government has waged for decades against Russia’s main adversary, the United States. One does not have to be a big nation to wage a diplomatic or a propaganda war against a despotic and hegemonic driven country such as the United States.
So, there's is a hard lesson to learn about the so-called educated among us who have read smatterings of the classics of politics or meandered among literary circles to infuse themselves with the latest jargon like “Infowar”, “Hybrid Warfare” and “Alternative Facts”, such as the Trump lackeys now spout to the American people. For in truth, even the so-called authorities who lay claim on understanding the ‘actual situation’ of world crises and conflicts have also read, and in their ignorance whether from the left or right, they are now instructing us, as they lead us over the abyss.
The Italian writer Alberto Moravia expressed this paradox precisely when he said: “The ratio of literacy to illiteracy is constant, but nowadays the illiterates can read and write.” Beware of whom you read or whom you think is literate because s/he has read so many books, and then s/he gives you 'facts' that were from the streets and gutters.