World War III Has Already Started

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Social stress is the prelude to war. disinformation, disillusionment, apathy, and pessimistic resignation blunt the electorate’s will to participate in democracy, which is just as lethal as a neutron bomb.

 

People have a vision of war as massive armies using the most lethal weapons and machinery blasting houses, buildings, and enemy positions in the lawless world of total war.  Soldiers and civilians die in great numbers.  The waste and utter destruction are apocalyptic.  Cities and towns become desolate and reduced to rubble.

But war and the people who led them changed over time.  Dictators and elected leaders can initially become less violent to meet their objectives, but they remain violent and threats to democracies.  In the words of authors Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman in their book Spin Doctors, dictators adapt to modern times as readily as war strategies change to defeat their enemies.

Dictators and war leaders look different today than 50 years ago.  They are wealthy and come from the corporate world.  They don’t wear uniforms.  But they are still surrounded by sycophants and educated people wearing the latest fashions.  However, their intent is the same as that of warmongers from the last century.  They want total control.  The physical destruction of their enemies is a byproduct of their power.

If this sounds familiar, it should.

The current rise of Trumpism in the Republican Party includes all of these cultural characteristics, which elevated them into membership, loyalty, and personal ownership badges.

When disinformation and chaos campaigns directed at Americans are conducted by biased and propaganda-based traditional and social media, these cultural bonds are strengthened into a solid chain.

The sources of the disinformation, money, and expertise to divide Americans into different cultural groups come from inside and outside the U.S.  These soft links are challenging to find. Still, investigators know they come from Russia, China, North Korea, and other nations that will benefit from a weakened U.S.

Spewing hate

This new form of warfare is as accurate as military weapons and can have the same impact on a democracy. This new, soft form of warfare is ideally suited for the 21st century, where social media and its accompanying advanced technology rely on psychological warfare and dirty operations campaigns perfected from the World Wars of the 20th Century. This warfare does not destroy property or ongoing business operations. It’s focused on the intangible: the freedoms without physical form.

In many ways, social media and its allies are akin to the neutron bomb, developed in 1958 that was hailed as a revolutionary weapon that could kill life without destroying buildings. Its inventor, Sam Cohen, said, “It’s the only nuclear weapon in history that makes sense in waging war.  When the war is over, the world is still intact,” he told the New York Times.

Today, the soft weapons used to destabilize society and raise concerns about the viability of democracy and faith in social institutions are:

  • Social media. Many political outlets publish right-wing, unverified information and propaganda. These include Ticktock, Facebook, LinkedIn, 4chan, 8chan, Gab, BitChute, and Parler.
  • Cable TV news outlets, programs, and other right-wing outlets include FOX, Newsmax, Washington Examiner, Epoch Times, and TheBlaze.
  • Cryptocurrency. Despite its popularity, crypto has not replaced the dollar as a medium of exchange.  Instead, crypto is being used to destabilize central banks, launder money, evade taxes, serve as a placeholder for the expanding world of online sports betting, and produce short-term profits for naive investors.
  • QAnon. No one knows who invented QAnon and crypto, which is extraordinary in a world where its inventors could be worth billions overnight.  This leads to speculation that both crypto and QAnon were invented by enemies of the U.S., such as Russia, China, Iran, or North Korea.  QAnon is the engine behind absurd conspiracies adopted by an unsuspecting target audience.
  • Maga Republicans in Congress and state positions The political goals of this group are well known and include the right-wing dictatorial takeover of the U.S., as specified in their Project 25 Report, a Mein Kampf-type blueprint for a Trump election.
  • Traditional cable TV news outlets, such as CNN and MSNBC, allow lies to be broadcast unchallenged by right-wing politicians. When this happens, the news presenters do not challenge the lies in real time.  This degrades the ethics of journalism.
  • Cable news turns politics into entertainment for profit; cable news has used politicians as entertainers to get cheap programming without spending money on production. Trump fits this bill perfectly.  His rallies are one step above a WrestleMania show.  As a result, profit-center cable news outlets, including everyone, have embraced this new media format.  One estimate found that Trump got $4.96 billion in “free earned media in the year leading up to the presidential election, according to data from tracking firm mediaQuant.  He received $5.6 billion throughout his campaign, more than the combined number of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, and Marco Rubio.” Another group, Media Matters, “estimated that Fox News alone gave Trump almost $30 million of free airtime last year.  That figure was based on Trump’s interview time on the network and the cost of buying equivalent advertising time.”

How Do We Know We Are Now at War?

Civilian and military casualties are the dismal measures of war.  Total war is the destruction of cities and towns and innocent civilians.  But 21st-century war is different.  The civilian casualties in this modern war are broken or impaired psychologically, morally, and ethically.

This may explain why many Americans dislike the government.  It may partially explain the need for violent anti-government acts, including the denial of an elected president assuming office.  It can account for the constant verbal and physical attacks against people deemed undesirable by the political leaders who have announced they will be tyrants.

A New Kind of Warfare

The weapons for the 21st-century War are different. They indeed involve the exponential lethality of the military-industrial complex. However, that may not be needed if there is an alternative to weakening an enemy and conquering their political administration.

The impact of disinformation, disillusionment, apathy, and pessimistic resignation blunt the electorate’s will to participate in democracy, which is just as lethal as a neutron bomb.

But how do you measure the impact of this disillusionment and disorientation campaign? Through numerous surveys of the American electorate.

While there are scores of reputable national surveys to choose from, the highly-regarded Pew Research Center found the following in a 2023 survey:

  • Just 4% of U.S. adults say the U.S. political system is working extremely or very well; another 23% say it works somewhat well. About six-in-ten (63%) express little or no confidence in its future.
  • Favorable views of many governmental and political institutions are at historic lows. Just 16% of the public say they trust the federal government always or most of the time.  While trust has hovered near historic lows for the better part of the last 20 years, today, it stands among the lowest levels dating back nearly seven decades.  More Americans have an unfavorable than favorable opinion of the Supreme Court – the first time that has occurred in polling going back to the late 1980s.
  • A growing share of the public dislikes both political parties. Nearly three-in-ten (28%) express unfavorable views of both parties, the highest share in three decades of polling.  And a comparable share of adults (25%) do not feel well-represented by either.
  • Candidate choices are underwhelming. As the presidential campaign heats up, 63% of Americans say they are dissatisfied with the emerging candidates.  There also has been a downward trend in views of the quality of all political candidates.  Just 26% rate the quality of political candidates as very or somewhat good, down about 20 percentage points since 2018.

Preparing for War

According to the book Preparation for Combat (Army University Press), “To be prepared for war, the unit must be tactically competent. Executing maneuvers and formations according to doctrine determines tactical competence.”

This “tactical competence,” using the methods already described, has been fully implemented for years.

In a classic 1993 article in Foreign Affairs, Samuel P. Huntington argues that conflict will not occur between nations on ideological or economic lines but among groups with common cultural values.  This can include values shared by religion, endorsement of political philosophy, family or group traditions, racial composition, and the roles of the sexes and family structure.

Social Stress as the Prelude to War

The prelude for any modern war is to destabilize the enemy.  It’s a classic war tactic.  Enemies of the U.S. have spent hundreds of billions to do this.  The enemies, both foreign and domestic, have been working together to do this daily using cyberattacks, identity thefts of individuals, a corrosive and willing U.S. media, corrupt politicians, launching conspiracy theories, and empowering a sociopath as a figurehead to lead the nation into a dictatorship.

America gets the leadership it deserves.

If the nation cannot or will not recognize these evident threats, it will suffer severe, damaging, surprising changes in its ways of life within a few years. If Americans want to experience negative surprises in their lifetimes, they can remain complacent and do nothing. Our enemies will take care of the rest.

 

 

 

 

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Chuck Epstein has managed marketing communications and public relations departments for major global financial institutions and participated in the launch of industry-changing financial products. He also has written by-lined articles for over 50 publications, five books and served as editor and publisher of nation’s first newsletter on the topic of using the PC for personal investing and trading. (“Investing Online, 1994-1999). He also is a marketing consultant, writer and speaker on topics related to investor protection and opportunities in the very dynamic cannabis industry. He has held senior-level marketing, PR and communications positions at the New York Futures Exchange, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Lind-Waldock, Zacks Investment Research, Russell Investments and Principal Financial. He has won national awards from the Mutual Fund Education Alliance (MFEA) and his web site, www.mutualfundreform.com, was named best small blog in 2009 by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW).

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