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(20,788 posts)
Sat Apr 13, 2024, 05:11 PM Apr 13

Q. What happens to a nation that allows their bitterest opponent unopposed and unpunished... [View all]

...access to the most powerful propaganda tools ever invented for THREE DECADES?

A. Look around you.

Putin has been America's bitterest opponent since he was an apparatchik in the Soviet Intelligence machine. Like many of the Soviet helots, he believed the glory and victory that a great nation like Russia's USSR had achieved was denied them, even 'stolen' by Western democratic nations who refused to treat the Soviets as equals.

And in the wake of WWII as America implemented the Marshall plan, assisted Western Europe in rebuilding, and assembled NATO to deny the Soviets' expansionist agenda, America became the enemy of all enemies, the root cause of all the ills experienced by the Soviet Union. America was the agent behind its dissolution, and the architect of all its loss of territory, influence, and power.

Putin learned early that as long as America and its capitalist economic engine provided the world with a model of democratic power, Russia would never be able to assume its rightful, deserved, and stolen place as a behemoth on the world stage. That's been the most powerful driving force in his accumulation of influence and wealth, and his rise to supreme power in Russia.

Putin ALWAYS intended to damage America, expose 'democracy' as a sham inflicted on ignorant sheep by powerful and hypocritical oligarchs. He ALWAYS intended to weaken us by setting our diverse cultural, social, and political groups against one another. He ALWAYS planned to maneuver and manipulate the most venal and incompetent people into public office. He was always focused on degrading the capability of a government 'of and by' the people to act 'for' the people.

He knew from the start that military conflict was off the table as an option. Even the various proxy conflicts he provoked, funded, and encouraged were never regarded as game-changers, only as part of the multi-faceted long game. America must be made to implode, to eat its own, to expose its most shameful aspects on the world stage, to destroy its own reputation and subvert its own power.

The real tool to accomplish his end? Propaganda.

It's ALWAYS been his weapon. And then, in the 1990s, the Internet escalated the power of that weapon. The new propaganda weapon is to the older version as a nuclear ICBM is to a hand-thrown spear.

I hate to ascribe anything even remotely complimentary to him, but I have to admit this: Putin's genius was in recognizing exactly how powerfully these weapons could be exploited, and exactly how America's culture and economy make it supremely vulnerable to such attacks.

And so, for three decades now, he has waged a one-sided, increasingly effective war on America, which has done virtually nothing at all to defend itself or fight back. Yes, we've deployed some of the most advanced cybersecurity ever to protect the infrastructure of the Internet and our economy's growing dependence on it, and that's good - in terms of priorities, I can't fault that.

But what I CAN fault is our flaccid response to the sophisticated manipulation of our cultural communications, electoral system, and educational system. Our passive acceptance of the pummeling of our bedrock beliefs in the necessity of government's reliance on not just the consent, but the informed participation of the governed. We need to be having robust conversations about how to protect free speech when speech can be so easily weaponized to deny the voices of those opposing Putin's agenda of American dissolution.

Instead, we're letting ourselves be distracted and divided by the very agents Putin has manipulated into doing is work for him.

And so, here we are.


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