(ReadWith) RussiaGate, GlobalSocial

From 2015 onwards, Russia is accused of interfering with Western democracies by promoting FakeNews, CyberWarfare (eg. hacking attacks on the DemocraticParty emails and leaking them to WikiLeaks, using bots on SocialMedia

Quora Answer : On Russian interference in American elections, shouldn't the US just retaliate?

Jan 9, 2018

Let me illustrate ...

You want to start a Troll Farm to undermine Putin. So you go to Kansas (where young men are cheap) and hire 150 fluent Russian speakers to go on VK and OK and engage in inventing compelling memes, spreading fake-news intended to sow discord among different groups in Russian society, undermine Putin's authority and promote a pro-Western rival against him.

Immediately the problem becomes clear.

The number of cheap young men in Kansas who speak Russian, write in the Cyrillic alphabet, use VK and OK, understand current Russian politics, culture and mindset sufficiently to be able to invent compelling memes and fake-news and connect with and persuade Russians, is, to a degree of approximation, zero.

What Putin / Russia have discovered. And many other nations are starting to discover, is that what has long been America's greatest strength, the soft power it wields through everyone else wanting to know its language, and follow its culture, watch its TV and movies, be on its social media networks, play video-games alongside its citizens etc. etc. has suddenly been turned, judo-like, into a weakness.

They know us better than we know them. They understand how we think, what we like, what makes us happy, sad, angry. What cements loyalty. What makes us feel betrayed.

In the West only a few experts have anything like this level of understanding of Russian (or Chinese or Indian etc. culture)

In Russia or Eastern Europe or Asia or South America you can find people like that on every corner. People who have grown up interacting with Americans and Europeans on Reddit and 4Chan and Quora and online games and YouTube. People who know all about our musicians, our celebrities, our politicians.

They know how to push our buttons, but we know nothing about how to push theirs.

This is the problem that the US and Western Europe, to an extent, find themselves in in this new phase of social media warfare.

Related :

Phil Jones (He / Him)'s answer to Now that it's official that Russia attempted and succeeded to interfere in multiple countries elections, what do you think will be the Western world's response?

Quora Answer : Now that it's official that Russia attempted and succeeded to interfere in multiple countries elections, what do you think will be the Western world's response?

Feb 17, 2018

Sadly, to spend a lot of time infighting about it.

The liberal West needs to get a couple of things clear, if only for its own sanity and strategic coherence.

Everyone does a bit of propaganda and tries on a bit of influence with other countries. The US has done a tonne of it. If the US (or anyone else in the West) whines too much, everyone will see them for the hypocrites they are.

Putin, it turns out, is really good at the game in this new the internet age. While America isn't. I speculate on one reason why here : Phil Jones (He / Him)'s answer to On Russian interference in American elections, shouldn't the US just retaliate?

The complaints about Putin in the US are largely coming from the Democrats and other "establishment" insiders. A great many people liked the look of Trump enough to vote for him. And still seem to like him enough to support him. However terrible you think Putin's interference was, it's aligned with a significant part of the US population. Ditto for Putin and Brexit. Or Catalan independence. Or the far-right in Eastern Europe etc. There is NOT an overall consensus in any of the part of the West affected by Putin's propaganda, that Putin has done a terrible thing to them. You may hate Putin for boosting your political enemies. But you can't expect everyone to simply accept your perspective. If you try to take for granted that people are as upset as you, you are the one heading for a pratfall.

Despite everything, Putin is NOT the major cause of the Democrat's loss and Trump's rise. The Democrats need to look to themselves, and how they dropped the ball during the Obama presidency. Obama wasn't a bad president. And was working under difficult situations. Hillary was treated disgracefully by the Republicans for years. Nevertheless, this is the big league. If you presume to run the country, it's incumbent on you to be a grown up. And the Democrats failed dismally to either make a case for how they were helping working class Americans or to field an inspiring candidate. It's starting to look like all the complaints about Putin are a displacement activity from a Democratic party that doesn't want to do that hard work of introspection and renewing itself.

In sum, Putin's propaganda is focused on finding faultlines in your society and tearing at them. If you want to oppose Putin, there's no point complaining, or planning some revenge trying to tear Russia apart at the same seams. Your job is to identify the faultlines in your own country, and then work on defending them, winning the argument against Trump, or against Brexit or against Catalan independence or against anti-Islamic xenophobia. If you can win those arguments with your fellow countrymen, then you can neutralize Putin. And if you can't, then you have bigger problems than Putin anyway.

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