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."
In the early years of the 21st century, it has become fashionable to explain certain aspects of political life, let alone the political death of nation-states, by using euphemisms and modern slang terms such as “Hybrid Warfare” and “Infowar”, for understanding how two adversaries, or more, 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 us, then we soon indulge in hypocrisy and forget our own contradictions which can eventually destroy us. As the great Italian writer and communist, Alberto Moravia, once wrote:“ “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 is the rub - not acknowledging how we need to clean-up our own political “time of indifference” wherever that may be. With these small observations of political “faith” that Moravia eluded to both in a personal and political way, let me make some observations about the lawyer, business man and author, Jon Hellevig’s views on the Infowar against Russia.
In the beginning of his rather long essay, Hellevig states that the EU (European Union) and the United States House of Representatives both created degrees or laws in 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 the hysterical or “scandalous calls” as Hellevig refers to the EU and US repression of political and cultural dissent, but in a more mature way so as to not lose the trajectory-essence, or coup d'œil as Clausewitz so aptly phrased the decisive glance regarding the simple glance of waging war, but which I would assert is also is also part of the propaganda war and culture war against a perceived enemy or actual enemy nation-state. There are two major military theorists, Carl Von Clausewitz and V.K Triandafillov, who wrote succinctly, but with verve, about the propaganda wars which are part of the core essence of winning any war.
Clausewitz said about diplomacy and political agitation: “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 is referring to regarding “political intercourse” is a normal, interaction of diplomacy and propaganda agitation, although such a term was not used in his lifetime. In other words, I would say that Clausewitz instructs us to use our political culture, diplomatic culture, and our propaganda views as a “character of policy”, to use 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, and 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 to also admit that we too have our short comings regarding our political contractions, and that we will also wage a war in dealing with our own governmental problems?
The modest, but genius Triandafillov was aware that in preparation for war, the political and propaganda machinery of any given state has to 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, put 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 engagement towards an enemy must be one of politique et militaire coup d'œi. 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 to the gutter of the propaganda methodology of the enemy.
Let us now closely study some of the serious allegations that Hellevig made about the EU and US “Infowar” against Russia. In one of his major evaluations on the state of affairs among the EU masses, Hellevig states:
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 to the clash of cultures with the coming of 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. Also, it is a fact that 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 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 the reader that China and Russia, along with other ‘free world’ countries, are becoming more significant as freeing themselves from the yoke of the EU and Western hegemony. One should remember that China is a socialist 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 lays claim to a capitalist, democratic way of life. Then, there is 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 counties, the usage of “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”. The naiveté of Hellevig to make reference to “free world countries” is not very creative, as he should have referred to those so-called ‘free’ countries in Europe in struggle 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, this cannot be disputed in a general way. It is a fact that Russia does indeed have its own propaganda machinery that is 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 has 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 total. Therefore, Russia is in a propaganda war against the West that should be acknowledged within the political, ethical realm.
Hellevig writes in a section of his essay that dealt with a so-called “Propaganda center” and “NWO” (New World Order): “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 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. The author 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 the 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 Trump is fighting a class war with large swathes of the American people who are in revolt against his narcissistic populist movement with its extreme nationalism and righteous hysteria. Trump is fighting 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 anarchistic regime.
When Hellevig employs his rather bizarre terminology of “new alien culture” and “the forging of Homo Europaeus”, one can only slightly smile at such phobias, authentic or not. What he states on these subjects is: “European populations is also 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 centrally led of campaign of 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”. It would behoove Hellevig not to use such language as “repulsive” and “despicable”, as it ironically could be viewed as being politically correct language coming from the Kremlin. We know that Moscow has an intelligentsia, perhaps one of the most profound in the world, who has a history of being more subtle when it comes to observations of an enemy in whatever form.
We know that there can be a political correctness in Moscow and throughout Russia as there is in Europe. No country in the present modern world is not without its political flaws and contradistinctions. The ordinary Russian people hate political correctness, no matter in what form it exist within their country, as the Decembrist Movement and the Russian Revolution proved so well with their 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. Also, Hellevig should have explained to the reader what “cultural Marxism” mean, which is 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 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-NOW 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.” It should be noted that it is not a matter of “some of them” but thousands and thousands of these people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and many nation states of Africa who are fleeing barbaric forms of war and institutionalized tyranny.
Through the middle and latter part of his essay, Hellevig describes to some extent the “fake news” that has been 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 population, as Trump was able to do in a similar fashion during the 2016 presidential election, and which can also be seen in Western Europe with or without the help of the CIA. However, so-called “fake news”, which is 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 later 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, it 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 mentions NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) and how they can be used for covert operations by the CIA, something that is done throughout the West. This is called “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 is reported online: “Approximately 1.5 million NGO’s operate in the United States. These NGO’s 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 NGO’s 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 of accusations of Russian political interference in their nation-state’s activities.
As reported by the established British media online news 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 not relevant, as the fact that all nation-states are involved in every kind of modern propaganda warfare, and that 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 understanding of the preparation for war.
In Lenin’s thesis or commentary on the propaganda war against the various chauvinistic nations in Western Europe, including his very real and harsh battle against the Czarist monarchy during World War I, he stated: “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 short commentary from Lenin was that he proposed a republican United States of Europe no different than Napoleon 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 that is 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 that the propaganda and cultural war for the workers and other progressives classes in these political hemispheres is a fight to the death. When Hellevig wrote that “I want to point out how the EU Parliament resolution on ‘combatting 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 modern world, there are other nation-states besides those of the EU, Russia, or the United States that deal with the Infowar of aggression. There is the socialist nation of Cuba that 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. “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 tantrum 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, said 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.
There 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, are now instructing us as they lead us over the abyss, what the Italian writer, Alberto Moravia said so well: “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 he has read so many books only to give you facts from the streets and gutters.