۲۹ خرداد ۱۴۰۰ - ۰۰:۵۸
کد خبر: . ۹۴٬۴۰۹

Tehran(Bazaar): Russia and China are already used to American information warfare since they've been targeted by such campaigns for years so the US' latest plans don't necessarily represent any greater threat to their national interests per se,  Andrew Korybko tells Bazaar in an exclusive interview.

As for America's plans to counter BRI, this isn't as easy as it may sound since China's economic influence is already deeply entrenched in dozens of countries across the world, he also said.

Korybko is an author, senior, journalist and faculty member at the Institute for Strategic and Futuristic Studies at the Russian Friendship University. A Moscow-based American political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China's Belt & Road Initiative, and Hybrid Warfare.

Following is the text of the interview:

Bazaar: Biden believes that important economies and democratic markets must work together to meet the challenges posed by major competitors such as Russia and China, as well as transnational challenges ranging from nuclear proliferation to climate change and cybersecurity. The US plans to spend $300 million annually from 2022 to 2026 to counter the global influence of China and Russia and to destroy the "One Belt One Road" plan, and the United States and its allies plan to come up with a "democracy-oriented" infrastructure development plan to counter China's "One Belt One Road" ones. To what extent does Biden's decision jeopardize the national interests of Russia and China? 

Korybko: Russia and China are already used to American information warfare since they've been targeted by such campaigns for years so the US' latest plans don't necessarily represent any greater threat to their national interests per se. The challenge, however, is that the Biden Administration is seeking to multilateralize its efforts to jointly “contain” them as opposed to the former Trump one's mostly unilateral attempts in this respect.

The so-called “Alliance of Democracies” that Biden wants to assemble is therefore more of a threat to their interests than his administration's intensified information warfare campaign against them. This “alliance” is meant to span the entirety of Afro-Eurasia and intends to incorporate India as a crucial component, but Prime Minister Modi nowadays seems reluctant to completely support this initiative after ending up on the receiving end of American bullying in recent months.

US media has become much more critical of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic than ever before, and more voices are openly criticizing the socio-political trends that he's presided over these past seven years in power.

In addition, New Delhi has serious problems with Twitter and Facebook, which it regards as latent national security threats. Other examples include the US' repeated threats to sanction India if it goes through with its plans to purchase Russia's S-400 air defense systems, as well as the US Navy's provocative so-called “freedom of navigation” operation (FONOP) in India's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) without first seeking New Delhi's permission. While the US and India still share serious concerns about China's rise, America's aggressive actions towards its “ally” in recent months have provoked a lot of distrust from it, which could endanger the viability of incorporating India into Biden's “Alliance of Democracies”, thereby inadvertently serving Russian and Chinese interests.

As for America's plans to counter BRI, this isn't as easy as it may sound since China's economic influence is already deeply entrenched in dozens of countries across the world. Contrary to US information warfare narratives, China's deals with its many partners are mutually beneficial and voluntarily agreed to, not lopsided in Beijing's favor or signed under duress or due to corruption.

Bazaar: What exactly do you mean concerning China's economic influence and US inability to counter China`s plans?

Korybko: This means that it'll be very difficult for the US and its allies to find inroads in those countries through which they can counter China's influence there. Some opportunities might emerge or be manufactured, but they probably won't be as promising as the US expects.

It's here, however, where the plans to intensify information warfare against China come into play. The US might focus more on weaponized narratives about various countries' BRI projects in order to turn public opinion against them. The end goal would be to either influence their elections to unseat Chinese-friendly incumbents or even provoke Color Revolutions against those same leaders unless they unilaterally pull out of their BRI deals in exchange for relief from this newfound Hybrid War pressure campaign. If properly coordinated across countries and continents, the long-term effect could be extremely concerning for Chinese interests.

With respect to Russia's, there isn't anything new that the US can propagate against it since America has already played all of its narrative tricks over the years. All that it can do is double down on the narratives that its targeted societies find most attractive, but the impact is expected to be minimal since it's already succeeded wherever it will (mostly in Central & Eastern Europe) and failed where it has (mostly Central and West Asia).

South Asia could emerge as a narrative battleground between the US and Russia, especially if America seeks to court India back into its fold, but it's ultimately New Delhi's leadership and not its people that formulate policy. Considering this, the very close personal relations between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin will likely serve to mitigate the influence of any potentially forthcoming intensified US information operations directed against India. After all, it's largely because of this relationship that India has remained committed to its S-400 deal despite the US' sanctions threats.

Another possible narrative battleground might therefore be Africa, where Russian influence is surging as Moscow helps its growing number of partners there defend against Hybrid War threats via the export of its customized “Democratic Security” solutions. One can already observe the intensification of the narrative war there between these two countries following increasingly publicized claims by Western media about alleged human rights abuses carried out by purported Russian “mercenaries” (private military contractors).

These accusations, however, haven't yet led to any tangible change in those countries' policies or influenced the way that their people perceive Russia's role in their societies, but it could become dangerous with time if it's used to provoke Color Revolutions or even justify the US' arming of various groups who might serve as proxies against Russian-friendly governments there. The same scenario can also unfold with respect to America arming proxies against Chinese-friendly governments in Africa too on the pretext that they're so-called “freedom fighters” battling against “despotic Chinese-backed regimes” (according to the predicted narrative that might be propagated in that scenario).

These forecasts all suggest that the “Global South” is becoming the most important arena of Great Power competition in the coming future, which will manifest itself in many ways, including information and proxy warfare.

۲۹ خرداد ۱۴۰۰ - ۰۰:۵۸
کد خبر: ۹۴٬۴۰۹

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