HOW DID WE GET HERE?

From hybrid warfare to a disinformation machine, Donald Trump’s insurrection did not happen overnight.

Early readers of Narativ from when it was a blog will recall terms like hybrid warfare and Gerasimov’s Doctrine. These are abstract military concepts unfamiliar to most of us for whom war is a far away thing.

When Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 they were the embodiment of a hybrid war transforming into kinetic action. A rare historic and political event that was also testament to the effectiveness of this mostly Russian-practised military art of hybrid warfare.

In a traditional war, two sides face off against each other on either side of a front line. When the shooting begins, it’s very obvious who is firing.

In a hybrid war, disinformation agents, cyber hackers, bribed officials and embedded foreign operatives all operate simultaneously on different fronts. When there is no front the firing can appear to be coming from your own side, or from everywhere or sometimes no place at all.

On the latest Narativ podcast, Twitter’s mob authority ‘Lincoln’s Bible’ and Dirty Rubles author Greg Olear joined me to explain how Donald Trump and his enablers caused an insurrection, and why they’re not finished yet. It’s worth your while to watch both parts of the podcast. Begin here:

In a well-structured hybrid campaign, significant portions of the population are manipulated by an extraordinary array of disinformation and propaganda tools. This is how Q-anon went from conspiracy theory to a radicalized domestic terror organization in just four years.

When a lie is repeated often enough, like Trump’s repeated claims that the election was stolen from him, significant population groups will not only believe the lie, they can be coaxed into acting on it.

We like to believe we are masters of our own domain in the US, and the radicalization of these characters is purely homegrown, but in all likelihood we are witnessing the result of tools created by foreign intelligence as part of a foreign operation. And we shouldn’t be surprised, Jan 6 is certainly not the first sign of a Russian hybrid assault on the US.

In part 2 of the podcast below, we explore who in the GOP appears to have conspired with the insurrection, and detail the foreign operatives and the enablers who built Trump’s disinformation machine.  

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