image by Lionel smit
There is a lot of fallout around how Russia used Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks to sow dissent within the U.S.—especially around election time—for the tactical aim of getting Trump elected.
At the time I thought this was because they wanted to make Trump a major enemy of the world, diminish America’s prominence as a world leader, and ultimately use our lowered position as a stepping stone to becoming a global leader themselves.
Basically, once we were lowered, they could say,
But now I think that while that was a nice-to-have, the real game was far longer-term and more strategic.
The ads that were purchased and disseminated throughout social media were on the most divisive topics in our country right now, e.g., race, gender, guns, etc. They were purposely creating hate within the country. Hate from Americans to other Americans.
The biggest threat to Russia is a strong America, and the biggest threat to America is internal fragmentation.
America, being a country of immigration, has always been, and will always be, under the threat of losing its identity. If nobody knows what it means to be American, then the union has failed.
Countries cannot survive as a collection of other countries, or collections of other people. They have to be their own thing. Traditionally, America has been all about tolerance, unity, freedom of expression, and opportunity.
So how do you attack that?
You tell people that there is no opportunity, because they are taking it from you
You describe how horrible the other group is
You show how your group is being mistreated by everyone else, including the government and the other groups
You show how one groups incomes and prosperity is falling, while another groups’ is rising
This is how to destroy a country, and this is precisely the type of ads that were taken out by Russia.
image from Atlanta Star
Putin and his government are masters of information warfare, and this is exactly what we should expect from them. It’s a phenomenal plan, honestly, and it’ll probably work since nobody is paying attention.
But for the few who have their eyes open, this is the play. This is the plan. This is the strategy to defeat America.
Find all the different groups within America, find why they hate each other, and magnify or inject hatred from one side to the other. All they need is a giant platform on which to do this so that millions can see and share the hatred.
They have that in Facebook and Twitter. They have the perfect weapon to destroy us from within, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.
So don’t let this Facebook ad story leave your consciousness. It’s not about Facebook. It’s not about ads. It’s about a continuing fragmentation of America, and foreign enemies who are going to use technology to accelerate that outcome.
Our defense is to define what it means to be American in a cohesive and inclusive way, to join with all of our internal groups and say, “We are Americans, and we love each other, and nobody will ever take that away from us.”
But right now we aren’t that. We’re rich, we’re poor, we’re black, we’re white, we’re gay, we’re straight. Chinese immigrants don’t respect blacks or latinos, latino immigrants hate blacks, a massive percentage of whites in the midwest dislike minorities, and the distance between the rich and poor is expanding.
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And nobody knows what it means to be American anymore. Go ask a large group of Chinese immigrants if they’re proud to be American. It’s a joke. They’re Chinese in America. Many first-generation latinos are also proudly Mexican, or Cuban, or whatever else they are. Not Americans. That doesn’t happen until the next generation, or the one after that.
But it might not happen anymore if the temperature in the pot is not high enough to melt previous loyalties.
And why should there be loyalties? We aren’t treating immigrants like we used to. We used to welcome them, give them opportunities, and celebrate their success. But we’re closing all opportunities now, even for people who’ve been here for many generations—let alone for new arrivals.
So we are fragmenting.
We are building small communities of people from other places. And they tend not to like the other communities of immigrants due to long-held racism. The only reason they’re not openly hostile and discriminatory towards each other is because of the strong unifying force of traditional America that said, “You’re in America now, and you’re not allowed to hate each other.”
But that’s what’s dying. That’s what we’re losing. We’re losing the unifying force that keeps one group tied to another. We’re losing the bond that makes us Americans.
And once it diminishes past a certain point, all the various factions are going to refuse to do anything that can be conceived as helping the other. Poor whites won’t want to pay for public transit because it’ll be used by “them”. Chinese immigrants won’t want public transit to come to their neighborhood because it’ll bring “them”. Blacks, latinos, whites, rich and poor—all at war with each other.
That’s how America ends—as a Balkanized set of self-interested groups fighting for resources.
And that’s what Russia is working to accelerate.