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Sunday, March 05, 2017

Cliff Notes study guide to The New Yorker: Active Measures

Analysis from a readers perspective: "Active Measures" in March 6 2017 The New Yorker pp 40-55 by Evan Osnos, David Remnick and Joshua Yaffa
Image result for Russia flag
Russia if you are listening?

What does the outcome of the Russian intervention in the 2016 Presidential election of Donald Trump mean for the future of American democracy?

At the outset, the comprehensive "Annals of Diplomacy" New Yorker report begins with the definitive baseline about how our State of the Union was influenced, post the election of Donald Trump. In other words, we can all agree with the evidence presented in the public domain about the undeniable Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. 

In other words, "Yes. It happened."  

Nevertheless, what remains to be determined is how Putin's electronic scheme pulled off the upset of the century, (since Russia itself was beset by revoluton in 1917) while operating in full view of American surveillance. This result stunned even Putin himself, because the chaotic, and sometimes randomly applied strategies, indeed, influenced just enough of American pulic opinion and produced the election victory for Donald Trump.  Only 70,000 votes swayed the outcome of the election toward Trump, because of the way the Electoral College is designed, even though, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote margin by 2.8 million, total votes.

This outcome was more than Russia's President Putin could have imagined possible, when the email hacking and Wikileaks disclosures deliberately began the campaign of flooding the news media with anti-HillaryClinton information. 

What's even more remarkable, is how effectively the strategy worked, even though very little of the data revealed, contained anything useful or actionable. A continuous mis-information campaign led by Wikileaks and followed up by Russian e-hackers, took hold in the minds of the most skeptical, who either decided not to vote or fell victim to the negative messaging. In the end, this was just enough influence to win Trump the Electoral College margin.

What "Active Measures" reveals is how the electronic coup d'etat of Donald Trump over America's political elite (ie, the Clinton) will impact future elections? 

Russia moved from the dark ages of Internet illiteracy into being a world class hacker of computer technology in the time of about 20 years. In this capacity, the Russians experienced "unreserved glee" (as the authors reported), about their accomplishment in helping to elect Donald Trump by hacking computers, in a variety of ways. 

Indeed, no espeionage is required to know how much Vladimir Putin disliked President Obama, Moreover, Putin saw Hillary Clinton as a determined continuation of the economic sanctions on Russia, imposed after the take over of Crimea. In fact, the restrictions were having the intended consequences of obstructing the vision Putin has had for creating a new Cold War, or a re-set of the old one, and a victory for Russia over the West.

"Active Measures" describes, in documented detail, the salient comparisoms between the political ambitions, uncompromising personalities and control methodology tactics of Donald Trump and Valdimir Putin.  It's unmistakably evident, while reading between the lines, to learn, from the article, just how deep the two men's symbiotic personalities are aligned, like a "right brain-right brain" genetic match. An overt danger in this unlikely alliance is that Vladimir Putin has risen to his leadership position because of his experience and Russia's history of being treated like "vassals" by the West. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a diplomacy deprived corporate corruptor, who is internationally naieve. Donald Trump seems to fall, like a bear goes for honey, into Vladmir Putin's desire to achieve unlimited power over the West.(This is my own analysis, as I absorbed the article.)

At the heart of "Active Mesures" is a historical account about how Russia has developed a frightening capacity, maybe even more dangerous than nuclear weapons, known as "hybrid warfare" or, named after it's creator, a Russian General named Valery Gerasimov, called "Gerasimov doctrine".  In descibing this strategy, Gerasimov wrote, in an article published in a journal titled, "Military-Industrial Courier", that military campaigns should "include efforts to shape the political and social landscape of the adversary through subversion, espionage, propaganda and cyberattacks".  In fact, "Such events were 'typical of warfare in the twenty-first century' he wrote". My opinion is, this section of the article is the actionable clarion call to all Americans, regardless of political party or who we voted for, or didn't vote for, in the 2016 election. Eventually, it's only a matter of time, maybe sooner than we expect, when hybrid warfare will be applied even more forcefully, if it hasn't already been done, in clandestine ways.  

If it took Russia only 20 years to reach the sophisticated level of electronic espionage as was accomplished in the 2016 election, there's no telling what's on the international horizon as we invariably launch retaliation for this influence invasion.

Which is precisely why American political leaders must get to the bottom of what happened in the Russian mis-information and clandestine communications, conducted between Donald Trump and his campaign staffs, with Russia's assistance. As a matter of fact, Donald Trump should be leading, rather than obstructing, this campaign on behalf of our democracy.

Russia's infiltration has gone beyond 2016, and what happened to Hillaray Clinton. Rather, the issue is urgently more focused on what is about to happen next? Now that Russia has revealed the weakest link in American democracy, being the vulnerability of the people to deliberate mis-information, the long term results will prove what Russia believes as it's "modus operendi". Their belief is, "A country that is beset by turbulence will close in on itself." 

An America in turmoil will upset the world order, established over the past century, while freeing Russians to pursue the victory denied to them at the end of the Cold War. 

Russia wants to achieve the promise of economic recovery, post the loss experienced at the end of the Cold War.

This plausible scenario should sound like a familiar parellel to the way Europe responded after World War I and into World War II. Therein is my personal analysis. This article must be read and internalized by all who have America's future in their sights and our human condition in their political hands.  

In other words, to coin a proverb, "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."  Or, put another way, as Donald Trump challenged during his mis-information presidential campaign, "Russia, if you are listending?"  Well, yes, indeed, they were. A lot.

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