StratCom was set up to improve strategic communications within NATO, with seven states, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the UK, signing memorandums of understanding. The facility, which distances itself from the alliance’s command structure, is supposed to provide information on specific issues through various channels, including media outlets, social media, etc., to increase the bloc’s capabilities and build public awareness.
Mainstream media have on numerous occasions contributed to StratCom’s “building awareness,” mainly highlighting its mission to counter the so-called Russian disinformation campaign in Europe. It appears that the entity regards Russia’s actions as a hybrid war, citing some “blatant” cases in the Baltics and Poland, where Russia has purportedly weaponized social media in order to promote the Kremlin’s interests and portray itself in a more positive light compared to the “rotten” West.
While graphic stories about Russia spreading deceptive information are being put on the front page, with mainstream media praising StratCom for its efforts to halt the so-called Russia-backed disruption, they avoid mentioning some of the absurd statements about Russian propaganda being made by the communications center.
Russia’s Hybrid War Doctrine
StratCom has long been sounding the alarm over the threat of the so-called “Gerasimov doctrine,” named after Russia’s chief of general staff, as an “expanded theory of modern warfare.” It appears that there’s a slight problem regarding the doctrine: it does not actually exist.
“I’m sorry for creating the Gerasimov Doctrine,” said Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations, who has largely contributed to the expansion of the term among mainstream media which were quick to pick it up without verifying its existence with the original speech by Gen. Valery Gerasimov, published in the Russian newspaper Military-Industrial Courier.
While sponsor nations have been pouring funds into StratCom’s research on a non-existent doctrine in an attempt to counter the Kremlin’s alleged destabilization measures, which are supposedly aimed at undermining the West, Gen. Gerasimov merely described the consequences of the US-backed “color revolutions,” emphasizing that non-military means of achieving political goals have exceeded the power of force and weapons in their effectiveness. In his speech, he did not mention the possibility of a hybrid war between Russia and the West, having only stressed the need to understand how asymmetrical forms and means of modern warfare work.
Humor, the Kremlin’s Secret Weapon
The “Gerasimov doctrine” was not the only gaffe in StratCom’s crusade against reputed Russian propaganda which the mainstream media preferred not to disclose. Last spring, the center conducted a study, according to which Russian TV humor became a new challenge to peace. The center revealed that several popular late night shows, such as Vecherniy Urgant (Evening Urgant), which is reminiscent of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Yesterday Live, Maxim Maxim and Projector Paris Hilton, as well as a comedy quiz program, KVN (Club of the Merry and Witty) were “used as tools of strategic political communication.”
Having analyzed the shows, the researchers “exposed” links between KVN principal Alexander Maslyakov and Kremlin officials that guaranteed the government access to a strategically important young audience that was “ready to serve the regime with the best emotion-touching content made for the target audience.”
While the “StratCom Laughs” report alleges that the Kremlin uses such shows and programs to advance its anti-Western agenda via elaborate jokes about European and US leaders, it appears to forget that western late night shows also deal with political matters, parodying Russian President Vladimir Putin, mimicking his accent and his “tough guy” image; and do not hesitate to react to any news regarding Moscow.
StratCom is a NATO Propaganda Outlet
According to Chief Editor and Director of AttackTheSystem.com Keith Preston, StratCom serves as a propaganda machine for the alliance.
“There’s nothing new about fake news. What is new, are the technological capabilities now available. StratCom is the propaganda outlet for NATO and NATO countries. There’s no purpose for StratCom beyond that. Accusations that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential elections are a smokescreen. This is a propaganda method that is used to create anti-Russian hysteria and this has to do with increased rivalry between the United States and Russia. Syria is a real hotspot for the conflict between Russia and the US because of different geopolitical interests. I don’t know if full-fledged confrontation will be in the interest of both states and efforts will be made to avoid that,” Preston told Sputnik.
Another international relations scholar, Dr. Huseyin Bagci, chair of the international relations department at Ankara's Middle East Technical University, reveals to Sputnik his views on the perception of “Russian aggression”:
“The former Soviet republics, mostly the Baltic states, supported by Germany and Great Britain – they assume that Russia is a military threat towards Europe so they talk about the so-called preventive measures against possible Russian aggression. Tensions between Russia and some European countries will continue to increase. The Turkish-Russian relations are on the way to improve very rapidly. The Turkish-European relations will continue to have tension in a negative way, there’s no cooperation, no possible future membership in the European Union,” he elaborated.
As for the US’ role in the information war, Dr. Jan Oberg, director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, suggests that Washington struggles to maintain its power so hard that it “sees everybody as an enemy.”
“Threats, threat images is something you construct, it’s not something you measure objectively. Arms traders sell weapons all over the world. The American Empire is on its way down and global dominance is definitely on its way down. The reason so much weaponry is used and warfare is fought is that people are illiterate when it comes to handling their conflicts. The anti-democratic cancer that is growing in society is militarism. The fall of the US Empire will happen in the next 5 or 10 years. This will be the last empire in human history. The US is so desperate about it losing power internationally it sees everybody as an enemy.”
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.