By Peter Evans
Most are now well aware of Russia’s attack on the US Electoral process. Current ongoing investigations , both Congressional and by the Special Counsel are almost daily revealing the breadth and depth of Russian operations against the United States. Many have referred to the Russia’s Gerasimov Doctrine, more commonly known as Hybrid War, as the operational basis behind the Strategic Planning that Putin has and is utilizing in his ongoing “Shadow War” against the Western Allies.
Russian doctrine in this space is somewhat similar to the old Soviet Operational planning in this area but with some key differences. Hybrid War doctrine tries to avoid actual armed conflict to achieve national objectives , stressing the coordinated use of all levers of Government be that Diplomatic, Economic, Intelligence, Technical & Informal personal relationships to “shape the battlespace” and to surreptitiously penetrate a target country with the aim of
- Gaining Information
- Spreading Disinformation
- Influencing key Governmental & Economic persons, agencies or companies
- Moulding public opinion in a target country to support aims beneficial to Russia
- Influencing decisions of a target Country Government to align with Russia’s aims
This is Asymmetrical Geopolitical warfare using conventional and unconventional methods to achieve national outcomes that, in this case, are for the ultimate benefit of Vladimir Putin and those close to him.
But what else is Russia up to? And more importantly with whom?
Russia, more than most, does things strategically. It has always placed great importance on long term planning. Operationally they coordinate all aspects of planning and they integrate all operations they carry out to their strategic objectives.
The attack on the 2016 US Election was not just an isolated operation in response to US sanctions of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
And in this Putin had a partner in crime.
In 2010 the then Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, visited Moscow at the express invitation of then Prime Minister Putin. Xi was slated to take over as China’s President in 2012. Putin was due to stand for “election” to become Russia’s President at about the same time. Both were deeply concerned about the direction of the Obama Administration’s towards their respective countries. The two men by all accounts formed a close and warm relationship from the outset.
Both Xi and Putin talked extensively about global power moving from a Unipolar World (read US leadership) to a Multi Polar World (Russia & China leading with some minor other players). Both men made it clear they were against what they saw as American values (liberal Democracy) being pushed unfettered around the world. They saw these values as neither universal nor applicable to them or their Governments.
In December 2010 a series of uprisings, beginning in Tunisia and spreading to Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain occurred. This became known as the Arab Spring. Protests occurred in a number of other Arab countries also, notably Saudi Arabia, Lebanon & Iran.
But what rattled leaders in the Middle East was President Obama’s support of the uprisings in Egypt ,Syria and Libya.
China and Russia both were against the US supporting these uprisings with Russia describing it as “Western Belligerence”. Leaders across the Arab world became nervous about US policy to their own regimes, particularly after close US Ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt was seen by many Arab leaders to have been “abandoned” by Obama in favour of the will of the Egyptian people.
Both Russia & China subsequently increased their diplomacy & presence in the Middle East via economic and in Russia’s case , military footprint in Syria. The message to the Arab Leaders was clear. You have alternatives to America. Relations with the Obama administration continued to erode with both Russia and China.
In 2012 Congress passed the Magnitsky Act which President Obama signed. This directly affected for the first time the illegal financial activities of Putin and the Oligharchs that supported him. Vladimir Putin saw this as a direct assault on himself by President Obama & Secretary of State Clinton.
Similarly, the Chinese Government had much to be annoyed about with US policy. Obama, at the urging of SecState Clinton, had begun the Asia Pivot, a refocusing of American economic and military power in the Western Pacific Asia area. China saw this as an attempt to keep them from their rightful place as a Great Power.
In late 2012 Xi Jinping was confirmed as President of China. His first overseas trip was to Russia in early 2013. By this time Vladimir Putin was again President of Russia.
At this point Hillary Clinton had resigned as Secretary of State and President Obama had just started his second term. It must have been obvious to both men that she was preparing to run for President in 2016. This was the nightmare they faced. An American administration that would continue with Obama’s policies of supporting Democracy movements and resisting China and Russia’s ambitions. The genesis of the idea may have started in the years before when they first met. Certainly by 2013 Xi and Putin, I put to you, agreed to work together to actively undermine the United States political process, if for nothing else, to prevent a Democratic successor to Obama. It is important to note that from this time onward Russia and China agreed to dramatically increase cooperation in all areas including Military & Intelligence sharing.
Putin by this time was already well aware that Republican strategist Paul Manafort was working for the then Russian supported Ukraine dictator Viktor Yanukovych. Putin would have also known about Donald Trump and the birther claims he made against Obama and how Obama had humiliated him at the 2011 Press Correspondents Dinner. By Donald Trump’s own admission, he was phoned by Putin in Nov 2013. We don’t know if there was contact between the two men prior to that.
Trump and his adult children had extensive business contacts and interests in both Russia and China. There were multiple leverage points on Trump and his children. Putin also knew Trump had extensive shadow relationships to Russian mobsters. The mark was chosen.
Putin and Xi would have seen the original success of President Obama in the 2008 election was derived in a great part , by the online campaign the Obama Team was able to formulate and that massive influence internet operations had to Obama’s success. This was Putin and Xi’s way in, they saw. A low risk, high gain Hybrid War Operation.
At this point it is instructive to illustrate how China has conducted itself internationally in its own “Hybrid War” tactics, especially since Xi came to power.
Both US and Australian Intelligence agencies have stated that Chinese Intelligence organs use China’s international businesses and nationals to conduct intelligence operations against the West. This includes theft of information and intellectual property, penetration of databases, and influence operations. In the Australian context, this included hacks into several Australian Government databases and servers, use of Chinese students studying in Australia to promote Chinese Government objectives and attempts to influence Australian Government policy through political donations or payments via third parties. In a recent case a member of the Australian Parliament, Sam Dastyari , was found to have received payments from a Chinese national in order to support the Chinese Governments position regarding the South China Sea dispute.
Since Xi came to power these types of operations have been stepped up exponentially.
So, one may ask, how sure am I China that was part of the 2016 US Election attack? The most prominent give away was Donald Trump’s opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP. The TPP was not just an economic pact, it would have also effectively been a security pact against Chinese economic hegemony across the Asia-Pacific. It would have protected smaller nations from economic pressure that China could exert on them and the Pact specifically excluded China. Xi complained loud and hard about the TPP. The TPP would have actually protected American jobs and economic power in the long term. It was not just Steve Bannon, who only officially came to the campaign in August 2016, who opposed it. Trump was opposing it as early as late 2015. For an international businessman it was a stunning policy to have. But not if he was following Russia & China’s wishes.
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Furthermore, what have we seen since Trump was inaugurated on January 20th? China has launched its own version of the TPP, the New Silk Road and Belt, a development that will see roads, ports, rail links and oil & gas pipelines stretching from Central Europe and Russia, through Turkey, Iran and Central Asia to China. Additionally the ocean side of this, the “Belt” will link to Malaysia, Pakistan and Kenya with a rail line running through Kenya to East Africa.
Oil & Gas from Russian and Arab countries will run directly to China over land through pipelines. Strategically that would somewhat nullify the US Navy’s ability to interdict or blockade Oil and Gas supplies to China in any future conflict.
We have also seen China & Russia accelerating business investments in the Middle East, with Russia playing a lead political role with Saudi Arabia and Iran. Under Trump, America is slowly losing influence in the Middle East and appears to be in lockstep with Russian & Chinese political & economic objectives for the area. And Arab leaders appear to be going along with it
The fact of the matter is this. China had as much to lose , if not more, had Hillary Clinton won the 2016 Election. Putin and Xi planned this operation together. Russia took the lead as it had the most contacts with the American players on Trump’s side. China provided technical and general intelligence support to the Operation.
The international intrigue we are seeing now over with North Korea is nothing but a Kabuki Dance designed to confuse and distract the Western public from what is really going on. North Korea would not scratch its nose without China & Russia’s say so, let alone fire missiles.
Fact is that the biggest geopolitical heist in history occurred when Donald J Trump was elected as President. Because he was elected not by the people, for the people, but by and for the interests of the Russian Federation – and the People’s Republic of China.
- Gen. Mike Flynn’s Treason Tour -He Ran Putin Propaganda in NATO
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