You don't think there's anything suspicious of this though? -- ie: the EU doesn't get what it wants and shortly after the president is deposed and a pro EU government is set up, heavily funded and supported by the West. What would the West do if confronted with a Russian backed coup on their borders?
Well thats two different questions. So as to the first I dont find it suspicious because Ukraine had the Orange Revolution back in 2004 and none of the problems (corruption and sovereignty) had been addressed and so were left to fester. Most CIS states managed to break out of Moscow's sphere of influence after the fall of the USSR. Ukraine and Kazakhstan and Belarus did not. As far as I was concerned it was only a matter of time. I mean this isnt academic. It was a reaction to Soviet rule. These things do happen naturally if you can ascribe natural processes to nations. The thing to keep in mind is that the people wanted closer relations with the west and Im not talking about just Ukraine. The Baltic states and Poland joined NATO for Christ's sake. They were under the Soviets and the thing to know about the Soviets was that for all its supposed internationalism it was run by Moscow and the same people who ran the Soviet Union now run Russia. So did and does the West encourage states to gravitate towards their model? Yes of course we did and do. I encourage it. Why wouldnt you want to have closer relations with a country thats willing to adopt your value system? Isnt that what we want? Believe it or not western values create stability in the world and thats something worth encouraging.
If you want I can tell you a little about some of the changes that have manifested that I personally have seen in my visits over the years.
To your second question. I have to think about how to answer this. Id want to point first of all that the nature of neighbors makes it unlikely that a coup would ever happen, especially a Russian backed coup. Theyre both large, stable countries. Mexico has a culture alien to Russia there wouldnt be much they could exploit culturally. Furthermore the distances involved would make logistically supporting the usurping government pretty much impossible. That said had you asked me ten years ago if a modernized democracy would sacrifice sovreignty for political advantage I would have chortled but Im eating crow on that right now.
But lets say a coup did happen. The political realities would dictate the response and that is the truth. If the US felt it could reinstate the deposed power they might if the cost wasnt too high or if the new government lacked popular support. If the US felt they could coopt the government they might try for a response outside of military force, they could impose sanctions, refuse diplomatic recognition, they could set up a blockade, they could arm loyalist factions. Theres a million different options and it would depend on the stance of the new government.
Just walk me through how Russia is at war with Syria. This is the thing it seems to me this is just a case of who you believe, Russia certainly doesn't consider itself at war with Syria. Syria is its long standing ally.
No no no thats not what I meant at all. What I meant was the deployment of an increasingly sophisticated information warfare capability. In this case to prop up the Assad regime. I mean its not just offensive it can be defensive too. So youre right Russia isnt at war with Assad its at war with those factions opposing his regime. In the case of those factions it did everything in its power to affiliate them with ISIS and to attack them under that guise.
I'm not sure that we couldn't say this about any major player on the map.
We actually can say this that the West does not do this because our own IC is scrambling to form a cohesive doctrine in response to this. Read a few more reports and it becomes very clear we do not have parity in these spheres, we are far outclassed and with little means to defend ourselves. One of the central security challenges the US is faced with is how to balance first amendment free speech with protecting the public from hostile influence. I remember attending a conference at Duke University on Chinese telecommunications about twelve years ago I think it was and their incipient answer to this was information sovereignty unfortunately for the US we believe in the free flow of information so we cant do that without compromising our values. By undermining the free exchange of ideas free speech is also repressed. I think its the defining challenge of the century.
What sort of retaliation are we talking (in the kinetic sphere)? And what specifically cyber sphere acts wise would warrant a physical response? I mean you'd have to define that, and then give justifications. Personally I don't think we'll ever physically attack Russia unless we absolutely have to (because M.A.D)-- proxy skirmishes are as far as it'll go. So if we're losing cyber wars we'll just have to take that one on the chin.
Kinetic retaliation is traditional warfare. Specifically I would say that an attack on critical infrastructure would warrant such a response. So an attack on any of these: https://www.dhs.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors
I think we need to expand our critical infrastructure to include elections on all levels of government.
But heres what cyberattacks could do. Say you target the electric grid and a hospital loses power and people die as a result. A cyberattack could be directed towards a nuclear power plant causing it to meltdown. You could disrupt manufacturing, you could sabotage chemical plants, steal military technology, corporate secrets, you could cause mass derailments with trains, you could hack GPS satellites used by the military thereby hobbling our navy. Our missiles are directed by GPS. You disrupt their guidance systems you render them useless. You can disrupt communications on pretty much any level. Imagine if you couldnt get gas for your car how soon would chaos ensue. Imagine in the middle of winter you no longer have gas to heat your house. You could target nuclear launch facilities thereby reducing our ability to retaliate in the event of a nuclear exchange. You could attack communications satellites, isolating US bases, disrupting C4ISR, delaying all response times to any world events. You could run a disinformation campaign in a hostile country so that they elect a pro-russia candidate. Thats the smallest sliver of things its goes far beyond this.
As far as I can tell we have already far surpassed the threshold for war. Russia operates in a gray zone between war and peace. You might be interested in reading about the Gerasimov doctrine. Valery Vasiliyvich Gerasimov
I think people take propaganda seriously but at the same time we'd be naive to think that these aren't pretty universal tactics. People in general should get used to the idea that news in whatever medium will be skewed to fit an agenda. You can count on news being fake, the only thing you can really hope for is that you're free to say whatever you want.
People should not get used to this idea. We havent had to before and there is no damn reason we should settle for something less now. In that first article you skimmed their doctrine rests on you maintaining that exact cycnical attitude. If there is no truth then there is no reason to abide by even the most basic tenets of human decency. You can indulge in whatever depravity you like and if you have enough public support youll survive. That cannot be the way this country ends.
In unfree countries it's not just that news is fake, it's that real news is banned.
You dont need to ban real news just drown it in fake news. Whats really the practical difference? As far as I can tell the two are for all intents and purposes indistinguishable.