As a starting point – check out the Wikipedia page for Foundations of Geopolitics .
The book is used in many Russian institutions and proposes various Russian geopolitical strategies.
Relating to the United States, there is this paragraph:
Russia should use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke “Afro-American racists”. Russia should “introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics.”
It is generally accepted by the media and political establishments that Russia did indeed play a role in the 2016 US Election – with reports of paid trolls and bots.
For a progressive then – it is easy to dismiss or be wary online that some pro-Trump twitter person may infact be a bot or paid troll.
And pro-Trump talking points is part of the strategy – normalising an opinion by making it seem like many others hold it.
But the other side of the coin – that I think many progressives have a blindspot to – is the liberal agitation from Russia.
Reports are coming out that Russia paid for ads supporting Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders as well as Donald Trump. There are reports that Russia paid for geographically targeted ads supporting Black Lives Matter. There’s also the now suspended @bostonantifa Twitter account that recently posted a tweet geotagged in Russia, whatever that means:
This highlights the need for two things:
- Progressives need to apply critical reasoning to all political actions, and not blindly go along with, or tolerate any political activity just because it’s anti-Trump. For example, in the wake of Charlottesville there was a wave of doxxing coordinated by the Twitter account @YesYoureRacist, that did end up doxxing someone innocent.
- There’s a brand of ideology I’ll call SJW-critical Trump apologism. While not explicitly #MAGA Trump supporters – these people tend to be critical of progressives (and often with well founded criticisms), but also turning a blind eye to Trumpism, or selectively applying different standards of proof or reasoning as needed.
This ideology often points at anti-free speech or fascist tendencies among the left, with the unsaid
Now to be clear – this isn’t to say that every example of extreme behaviour on the left is the work of Russian agents. I don’t think that Zara Joshi of Hugh Mungus fame is a Russian agent, nor do I think the 2016 Dallas cop shooter was. Similarly – I don’t think all the people who marched in Charlottesville were Russian agents.
But – we should all be aware that while some people genuinely do hold extreme views – often the prevalence of those views are being amplified by the internet, to make them seem like they are more prevalent than they really are. (I think too the media plays a role – as controversy sells while more moderate, and likely more common views do not).
- Progressives shouldn’t be tempted to adopt anti-liberal tendencies, because the extreme political climate warrants it. They should be aware that a lot of the extremism is manufactured.
- SJW-critical Trump apologists should be similarly aware that a lot of the liberal extremism is manufactured, and also that – just as Trump supporters can be duped – so can liberals.