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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/20/21

U.S. doesn't fear "foreign meddling"; it fears internal revolt

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The "imperial boomerang" effect--where the types of violence an empire commits abroad inevitably become directed at that empire's own people--is caused by the fact that actions have consequences. When a country subjugates other peoples, this has repercussions for those within that country. A society built on exploitation and violence can't last. Whether that society wants to face it or not, its greed comes at a cost.

For the United States, that cost is going to be so great that the woes the country has been experiencing throughout the pandemic will look tiny in comparison. The warming of the climate has opened a Pandora's Box of destabilizing factors for the coming decades, including the potential for new pandemics that could be deadlier than Covid-19. And U.S. military experts are aware of this. Which is why underneath their recent rhetoric about how Washington's foreign adversaries supposedly pose the greatest threat to the United States, and the U.S. military's pivot from fighting insurgencies to cold war military buildup against China, what these imperialist technocrats truly most fear is revolt from the marginalized peoples within the U.S. empire's borders.

These officials won't say this outright. But the increasing tenseness of our conditions, and the reactions to those conditions from the military and intelligence leaderships, tell a different story than the current narrative about grave U.S. concern for foreign "threats." The prevalence of this scaremongering propaganda about Russia, China, Iran, north Korea, and other countries is a cover for our government's true sentiments. Sentiments that stem from a sense of dread over the U.S. empire's intensifying internal collapse, and the revolt that could come from it. This dread is manifesting itself across several dimensions, with currently the most significant one being cyber-based cognitive warfare.

Fear of losing the hearts and minds of the U.S. masses

In addition to its warfare domains of air, land, sea, space, and cyber, NATO recently added a new category: human. The "human domain," which means the minds of the masses, has only now become outwardly viewed by the imperialists as something equally important as all of its other acknowledged types of combat.

But why have they decided so at this moment? U.S. imperialism has been refining the art of propaganda at least as far back as when it staged a false flag to start the Spanish-American War. They've only now grown this concerned about winning in so-called "cognitive warfare" because the empire's contradictions have only now grown severe enough to prompt such a response. They can sense the unraveling of the society they've created, and see control over the minds of the people as the only way to stay in power.

This paranoia is clear from the language of a 2020 NATO-sponsored study, simply titled "Cognitive Warfare." The study describes the sentiments of average people as if they were a physical battlefield, with the fate of the world to be decided by this battle's outcome:

In the 21st century, strategic advantage will come from how to engage with people, understand them, and access political, economic, cultural and social networks to achieve a position of relative advantage that complements the sole military force. These interactions are not reducible to the physical boundaries of land, air, sea, cyber and space, which tend to focus on geography and terrain characteristics. They represent a network of networks that define power and interests in a connected world. The actor that best understands local contexts and builds a network around relationships that harness local capabilities is more likely to win.

The parts from the report that journalist Ben Norton finds most notable are the ones that expand upon this view that the war of ideas should be treated like a literal military conflict:

The brain will be the battlefield of the 21st century... Humans are the contested domain... future conflicts will likely occur amongst the people digitally first and physically thereafter in proximity to hubs of political and economic power... The human is very often the main vulnerability and it should be acknowledged in order to protect NATO's human capital but also to be able to benefit from our adversaries's vulnerabilities... the objective of Cognitive Warfare is to harm societies and not only the military... Cognitive warfare positions the mind as a battle space and contested domain. Its objective is to sow dissonance, instigate conflicting narratives, polarize opinion, and radicalize groups. Cognitive warfare can motivate people to act in ways that can disrupt or fragment an otherwise cohesive society.

When NATO's technocrats talk about these threats of radicalization, discord, and polarization, it's obvious they're referring to the foreign interference that the U.S. war machine goes on about these days. The CIA's most recent threat-assessment report names Russia, China, and Iran as all posing potential for election interference, expanding on the narrative from several years ago that merely leveled this accusation at Russia. This inconsistent story, where a given country gets abruptly added to the "interference" list after Washington starts increasing its asymmetrical warfare against that country, is an indication that these technocrats don't believe foreign cognitive warfare to be as big of a threat as they claim. This is also shown by the often unreliable nature of the intelligence behind these meddling charges.

What these technocrats really see as a threat is the growing potential for revolutionary consciousness, which comes not from foreign meddling but from how people are responding to their deteriorating conditions. The only way to stop the development of class education is by engineering cultural roadblocks to it.

Militarized mass paranoia

The goal of putting so much emphasis on "foreign interference," and on trying to make Washington's biggest rival powers fit the mold of these conspiratorial claims, is to preemptively wage an internal war against dissenting views inside U.S. borders. To stigmatize journalism that exposes war crimes, governmental dishonesty, corruption, and all other evils within the U.S. political system as foreign propaganda. By smearing Julian Assange as a Russian stooge, and by putting forth faulty intelligence that supposedly showed Russia gave WikiLeaks the 2016 DNC emails, NATO's cognitive warfare has already accomplished this. Wikileaks, and by extension all journalists who promote its findings, are now considered pawns in Russia's schemes to manipulate the U.S. public.

The equivalent narratives have been manufactured when it comes to China, Iran, and even far less powerful imperialist-target countries like Cuba; everyone who speaks against Washington's narratives is branded a puppet or apologists for these governments, with an accusation of coordinated psychological warfare always being implied. The ruling class is cultivating a kind of political rhetoric in which paranoia prevails over reason, because everything has been warped into a militarized context where dissenting opinions are enemy weapons. This manipulation extends into academia, and especially into the scientific realm; the NATO report talks about the militarization of brain science, suggesting that our very neurons have become part of the ever-expanding battlefield.

Amid the biggest pandemic during the last century, a supply-chain breakdown, the pushing of tens of millions of U.S. citizens into extreme poverty, and climate consequences on the horizon that the Pentagon started seeing as severe years ago, these maneuvers take on a context that's indeed deeply militarized. U.S. intelligence operatives see their task of preventing the spread of class consciousness as an internally applied warfare mission. So via this revived version of McCarthyism, they've sought to instill everyone with this sense that a war needs to be fought for the preservation of our "national interests" and "democratic institutions."

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Rainer Shea is writing articles that counter the propaganda of the capitalist/imperialist power establishment, and that help move us towards a socialist revolution. Donate to me on Patreon here:

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