The Propaganda Wars: Information Warfare in a Digital Age
The tenets of modern warfare place a significant emphasis on winning hearts and minds, or in other words ‘information operations’.
In the highly globalized and inter-connected world with trade, financial and infrastructure linkages, the prospect of an all-out war between opponents is perceived as a ‘last resort’, simply because physical destruction (including tactical nuclear weapons) is likely to have an adverse effect on the attacker as well. In most military doctrines and national security policies worldwide, (be it the U.S. and its allies, or Russia and China), strategists focus on methods aimed at influencing people’s perspectives at home and abroad. The new paradigm is: he who manages to successfully shape opinions will be the new master. However, unlike in traditional, physical wars, ammunition (or content) lobbed at an opponent can just as easily be picked up and thrown back in return: that is to say, everything said can and will be used against you.
We are entering into an era of perpetual information war – old approaches such as criticizing opponents, fighting with facts and banning information simply do not work in this new environment.