Can Russia invade Europe?

13.06.2019 - Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research

Can Russia invade Europe?

By Jan Oberg

Oh yes! It can and it is ready to. And perhaps it even will. To tell you the truth, although NATO is the strongest, it could well fall apart thanks to Russia’s – Putin’s – cunning schemes.

See here is how and why – in a video from The Infographics Show – and you’ll understand it all. You fear will increase and you’ll be more to pay more to your national military.

Looked at from a professional conflict analytical perspective, one may mention a few problematic aspects of this piece of propaganda:

• There is no conflict analysis. Russia is treated as the independent variable (active), the US/NATO the dependent (re-active).

• Almost no mention of history (except that Russia was weak before but strong now). No mention, for instance, of NATO’s expansion in spite of promises given to then president Gorbachev.

• Security and peace is about military matters only.

• You focus almost only quantitative indicators, not quality – for instance the technological quality superiority of the West.

• You do mention that NATO is stronger but just in passing and not how much stronger.

• The implicit, or tacit, assumption underlying the whole “infographics” is, of course that Russia is the bad guy and the US/NATO the good guys. It’s bad offensive motives versus good defensive motives.

The title’s question is biased; a similar video would never be produced by an American/Western company – “Can the US invade Europe” – although it is that side that has made far the majority of invasions around the world.

• And you point out where NATO is weak (oh yes damn’ it, it’s so difficult to move the North American continent closer to Russia!) but not a word about where Russia may see itself as inferior.

• The other huge weakness, of course, is the “lack-lustre” commitment to the alliance – i.e. the fact that only some of them pay the famous 2% of their GDP to their common defence. The 2% measure has nothing to do with reality since a national defence and security shall not move up or down in accordance with the country’s economic situation but shall be adapted to be able to meet challenges which a serious and comprehensive, multi-dimensional analysis has outlined. Here the video does nothing but conveying intellectual garbage in the interest of the Trump administration. (Although the video then also criticizes Trump for having weakened the Alliance by his statements).

• Russia has capitalized on these fundamental weaknesses – the Russia whose military expenditures is 8% of NATO collective budget. It does not surface that NATO has decided to increase its total military budget with a larger sum than the entire Russian military budget (which is falling).

• Next, of course it was Russia that invaded Ukraine out of the blue and NATO only reacted by stationing troops in the Baltic republics. What happened before those events or the attempt to get Ukraine into both NATO and the EU (even against the majority opinion of the Ukrainian people) is conveniently omitted.

• And, as if all this was not enough, Russia is portrayed as the only one who would use nuclear weapons, that is – because Putin has said so. Omitted from this equation is that the U.S. official doctrine is the only one in the world that stipulates the possible use of nuclear weapons against even a conventional and/or cyberattack and that the US has nuclear weapons stored in a series of European NATO countries.

The conclusion is predictable. Russia might take the Baltic States in a surprise move and NATO would not be willing to protect these states as it would imply a risk that such an exchange would escalate to the nuclear level. So, Putin would win – and his ultimate goal was always to weaken the West and finally win territory. NATO would, in such an event, disintegrate.

Up until today 3,2 million people have seen this Infographics propaganda piece, seemingly put together to (mis)lead viewers to understand how evil Russia is and how weak but good the US/NATO is.

Is it deliberate fake and omission? Or just incompetence?

We don’t know, but the result is the same: Conveying a particular worldview that legitimates everything “we” do and create a crystal clear enemy image of “them”.

Interestingly, it has not quite succeeded in its mission: 33.000 have given it thumbs up, while 16.000 put thumbs down.

It’s perhaps just too simplistic, too propagandist, too easy to pull apart? Oh no, it’s the Russians, stupid! Those thumbs are of course orchestrated by Russian troll factories that have mobilised all those 16,000 (min 1, namely me).

Now, I thought it would be interesting to know how this video was produced and financed. So I wrote to the InfoGraphics company*) in New York (372 Fifth Avenue, Studio 2-K, New York City 10018, New York: +1 212 629-6291, London: +44 20 8133 4200 – info@infographics.com)

Dear Infographics

Could you be so kind to tell me who produced the video “Can Russia Invade Russia?”

What research sources did you use?

And how was the production financed and – by whom?

Many thanks, in advance

Kind regards

Jan Oberg

No answer. I wrote again. Still no answer. That sort of info doesn’t seem to be their strongest point…

In summary, remember to remember this: Only Russia uses propaganda and try to influence opinions. US/NATO countries use facts. Western marketing, design, and media companies always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

We may do OK at present but our huge edge vis-a-vis the rest of the world is challenged and in the future – soon – we will be surpassed by those evil forces out to get us.

So, we in the West must mobilize all our best and most honest efforts – in terms of weapons, funds and truthful information – if we are to survive the evil forces out there. Oh yes, there is an Infographics video there is about China too

Whose next?

*) The company’s CEO is Tommy McCall and you can read more about him here and here.

Categories: Europe, International, Peace and Disarmament
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