Friday, April 21, 2017

The Case for a Warm War on Russia

I strongly believe that the attack yesterday on police on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, is Russian-inspired as a pre-election surprise to boost Putin's candidate, Marine Le Pen. I thought the same about the Christmas attacks in Germany. And, of course, it is now generally accepted that Russia interfered in the U.S. election to harm Hillary Clinton and to aid Donald von Clownstick. It is Russia's goal to destabilize the Western democracies and how better to do that than to make people question the legitimacy of the democratic electoral process? Trump was reading from a script written in Moscow when he began claiming repeatedly during the campaign that "the election is rigged." It is also an old Soviet statecraft technique to falsely accuse, preemptively is best, your enemy of the very conduct in which you are engaged. So: the election was rigged--but by the Russians working with and for Trump. Preemptively accusing Clinton of rigging the election is psychological prophylactic. When, as there was, evidence that Trump was rigging the election, Trump beat Clinton to it. He who makes the accusation first puts his enemy at a psychological disadvantage, she now appears desperate, defensive, reactive-You're just saying that now because I accused you of it first.

If Russia can get its "useful fool" elected, as with Trump, all the better, but Russia wins simply when there are enough useful fools who believe the false accusation against their enemy. In Trump supporters, Russia hit the world motherlode of fools. Do you remember? There were pledges by Trump supporters to assassinate Hillary Clinton or "lock her up!" before her inauguration had she won. They were going to prevent it. If she had lived to be inaugurated Republicans in Congress were immediately going to begin and never let up on impeachment. Thus, even if Hillary Clinton had won, Russia would have won more. A Clinton presidency would have been DOA, figuratively and perhaps literally.

Russia has made a detailed analysis of where each of the Western democracies is most vulnerable to fomenting a legitimation crisis. In France, it clearly is the incompetence of the gendarme. In Germany, a terrorist truck attack at a Christmas market was a bold gambit by Russia to undermine the uber stability of German politics. Angela Merkel is the unquestioned leader of European stability, and hence a stalwart foe of the Russian covert mission of de-legitimization. The tool is fashioned to local conditions. With France, it was an easy call: recruit an Islamist to attack the the symbolic heart of the French Republic. In Germany, show that it could be done at all and you strike at the head, Merkel. Batter, you don't have to assassinate, the head, addle the faculties, create doubt among supporters, and you win a battle of delegitimization and live to fight more. Live on to fight more battles and the battles combine to form war.

It is convenient to Russia's strategy of delegitimization when its agents are killed. Here they have an advantage with recruiting Islamic agents. They will gladly die in a cause in which they are pawns of the Kremlin. Dead men tell no tales.

The Russians believe, and they convinced the Obama's to believe, that responses in kind to Russian cyber attacks were too dangerous. Cyber attacks of the kind Russia utilized in the American election exposed ultra-wired America to war game retaliation scenarios: hacking into flood control computers, everything in America is computer-controlled, could produce several Johnstown Floods each of greater devastation than the original and, according to a White Paper, America is five to ten years away from protecting its cyber infrastructure. Russia is better than we are, better than the U.S., because the U.S. is defenseless.

France is comparative child's play given the most elemental inability to protect against mere street attacks. Nothing sophisticated needed in France. Le Pen could win: Just ask Donald Trump.

Brexit seems to me far less Russian influenced. True, Nigel Lafarge, a Trump campaign surrogate in Mississippi, said he spoke for his British racists in UKIP when he said he and they did not see Russia as the threat. It was Europe that was the threat to their racist conception of Britishness: they were white, Putin and the Russians were white. That was their one test. Still, I did not see then, I do not see now, I have never seen, significant Russian effort in Britain over Brexit. Putin's 2015 nationalism speech was consistent with the Brexit cause, provided psychological comfort, but I would not go so far as to say it was inspiration. Brexit was an English thing and while there may always be an England there may not always be a Great Britain. Brexit though, with apparently minimal Russian aid, was a boon to Russian aims to destabilize Europe. Will certainly make the EU less attractive to the likes of Ukraine! Divide and, if not conquer, at least weaken, and keep at that on a wide front and you may conquer.

There has been no conceivably commensurate American or Western response to Russian cyber destabilization. Yet, Russia suddenly finds the bromance it had with China during the Obama years apparently cooling. That was the team that frustrated America repeatedly at the UN. Now however, China, not today of course, nothing fucking is happening with China today, but China has taken a clear step or two toward America. Which means a step or two away from Russia.

Russia has its own vulnerabilities. It has a legitimation crisis far more serious than the stable Western democracies. The attack on America's electoral legitimacy in 2016 was birthed in Hillary Clinton's critique of Putin's own rigged election in 2012. It is vulnerable to civil and political unrest. See Pussy Riot. Russia has shown herself, like France, not quite in control of herself. Putin blushed with embarrassment that Alexei Navalny was able to catch Russian police so flat-footed in the recent nationwide protests.

State security forces everywhere, in America too, struggle to prevent lone wolf attacks but the Russian and French police struggle more than do the American and British. The recent St. Petersburg metro bombing. There are zillions of Muslims on Russia's borders and they have far more reason and ability to terror attack right at the gates of the Kremlin than on the Champs-Elysees. Imagine a series of 9/11-style coordinated attacks throughout Russia. Look at the chaos Alexei Navalny caused with protests via social media. In Merkel's stock phrase, "We can do that.": And imagine the American manipulated Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up in the process. Dead men tell no tales.