From Flynn to McMaster: The “Future of War” and the Three Dimensions of Proxies in US Political Warfare

The US has long used proxies and propaganda to accomplish short-term geopolitical goals in what George Kennan called ‘political warfare’.  Over the years, the US has developed these tactics to varying levels of intensity.  These intensity levels can be associated with the different ways in which they are deployed, i.e., through diplomacy, espionage, or military applications, each one using the same method at a gradually higher intensity.  The method is the manipulation of ideological proxies. The Russians direct their criticism of US policy on this “new method” of warfare.  Political warfare as a method itself has historically been inimical to the formation of achievable strategic goals.  Further, when foreign countries see through the rhetoric employed by the US, the concepts behind the rhetoric become delegitimized.  Trump’s foreign policy advisers and non-hostile political contacts have been, for the most part, against this hallowed tradition of US political warfare, leaving the opportunity for the formation of a new strategic posture for the United States possible.  However, the ousting of Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser and H.R. McMaster replacing him can be seen as the Trump administration being co-opted by the very thinking it was elected to amend.

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The replacement of Michael Flynn with H.R. McMaster, for the position of Trump’s National Security Adviser, can be seen as an about-face in defense policy planning from the ideas on which Trump campaigned, ‘détente with Russia and no more arming terrorists’.  While Flynn is widely seen as “pro-Moscow” and had made many public statements against the policy of arming terrorists for geopolitical purposes, McMaster, in addition to being the leading US theorist of what he calls Russian ‘hybrid warfare’ and part of “Petraeus’ inner circle” charged with forming “CENTCOM strategy for Petraeus” in Iraq, considers controlling hostile proxies an art.

Russian Generals have referred explicitly to the US ‘soft coup’ model in Ukraine as a new form of warfare.  In a blog post at the Valdai Discussion Club, Dmitry Gorenburg gives a brief rundown of what was said at the Valdai Conference in 2014.  Russian General Valery Gerasimov is said to have said,

the U.S. and NATO are responsible for initiating the majority of conflicts in the world … the United States has developed a new method of warfare, beginning with using non-military tactics to change opposing governments through colored revolutions that utilize the protest potential of the population to engineer peaceful regime change … Western countries have failed to take responsibility for post-conflict security in Libya.  The same thing would happen in Syria if the government was overthrown.  The Ukraine crisis is now turning into a civil war, with paramilitary groups being used against the peaceful population in eastern Ukraine … NATO is turning more anti-Russian, organizing a military build-up on its eastern borders.  This will necessitate a Russian response.  What is needed is more cooperation between Russia and NATO, but this is frozen. Again, colored revolutions are causing instability throughout the world.[1]

Bartles has written about Gerasimov’s theory and the overall Russian perspective, which focuses on countering and preventing the “primary threat of regime change,” “color revolutions”.[2]  For Gerasimov, this “new form of warfare” is a mixture of military and nonmilitary tactics deployed to increase the intensity level of a conflict slowly and to limit the opposition’s response capabilities in terms of public opinion.[3]  The color revolutions take advantage of social media, and are coordinated by Western NGOs.[4]  Bartles notes that Gerisamov’s theory is not a theory of US warfare, but simply a theory of the way in which war is now conducted; rather than declare war, a state manipulates foreign domestic groups to instigate political change.  That is why everyone is calling it “new” even though the tactics go back some time; the formality of declaring war and mobilizing moral forces is now obfuscatory rhetoric, denials of actions taken, and manipulations of proxies.  This method of war being utilized previously by the West Bartles says, indicates that Russian developments should be seen as “defensive measures” taken to respond to the “new Western way of war.”[5]  In reasonable quarters, these comments on Ukraine are not contested.[6]   Some in the US are even opposed to these tactics.

Lt. General Michael Flynn, Trump’s initial pick as National Security Adviser, is famous for his statements mentioning the fact that the Obama administration was purposely arming terrorists in Syria in the hopes they could topple Assad’s government, and warning that toppling Assad was a bad idea, period.

Seymour Hersh reported in January 2016 that,

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition.[7]

It is hard to say the US is fighting terrorism if the US is arming and manipulating terrorists.  However, as Bartles phrased it “From a Russian view, the West would much prefer a manageable chaos than the stability of an unfriendly tyrant.”[8]  Just as in Pakistan in the late 1970s, the US promotes the causes of local militias, whatever they may be.  Flynn’s appointment to the National Security Adviser position had many thinking the US was finally going to turn a corner with a maturing US/Russian foreign policy.  Instead, Flynn was ousted on Valentine’s Day over routine conversations that may have defused Obama’s lame-duck provocations with Russian diplomats during the transition period.[9]  The illegal leaks from Obama appointed bureaucrats, which led to Flynn’s resignation, were rightly called a “political assassination.”[10]  Kredo at The Washington Free Beacon blamed an Obama-network trying to prevent Flynn publicizing secret details of Obama’s Iran deal.  Eli Lake at Bloomberg emphasized the possibility and power of limited hangouts to “destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity.”  At The Daily Caller, Richard Pollock decried the “politicization of intelligence,” saying “Intelligence officials are supposed to use their expertise in psychological warfare and disinformation campaigns against enemy states, but never against an occupant of the Oval Office.”  Whatever the real reason for Flynn’s dismissal, if it was even purposeful, it poured water on the potential for the United States to at least temporarily abandon these methods of conducting war.

The real problem with stating that the US is arming terrorists, in official capacity, aside from the fact it would place the US in the same category as Iran (state-sponsor of terrorism), appears to be that the Russians point to that fact as their main problem with US foreign policy.  Admitting the US does so essentially vindicates the Russians, who, according to Erna Burai, are delegitimizing Western rhetoric by mocking Western claims of the moral high ground in diplomatic justifications.[11]  Russian Generals, as well as Putin himself, specifically refer to this US policy as a new method of warfare.  This is quite the coincidence, because Flynn’s replacement, H.R. McMaster, also refers to it as “the future of war.”


McMaster recently gave a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies outlining his vision for an improved Army strategy, among other things.

Regarding US Army strategy, he said “partnership capacity” is not the main problem with current strategy, as is, apparently, posited by some, but instead “developing the will within that force.”  That force referred to is a proxy; the will referred to is the will of a proxy to accomplish US goals under whatever impression the force needs to have in order to act to accomplish US goals; it is about moralizing a group of people to do something.  McMaster then frankly reveals for thoughtful people that,

often times these forces that we’re trying to develop are, in and of themselves, the prize in a political competition between various factions.  Some of which are criminalized; some of which are infiltrated by adversaries [rubs tip of nose].

Implicitly, he is saying that the US arms and manipulates criminal gangs, and, in drawing these forces together, to control them as proxies, the US must compete with “adversaries,” who “infiltrate” and also seek to manipulate and control them.  He concludes, that section, by saying the failures and frustrations of current US large-scale operations occur “because that kind of political understanding” is not “at the center of our efforts” [ending @41:53].  Because of the international confusion this ‘strategy’ causes, “outsiders look at our actions and conclude we are incompetent, indifferent, or both, or maybe in collusion with somebody else … you know, because of the conspiracy theories” [ending @43:00].  Conspiracy theories would consist of the empirical content to his abstractions.  He stresses that the US needs to better articulate what it is doing, implying what would seem an obvious imperative, that the US not be accused of arming and colluding with terrorists.  His suggestions are to improve three things:

1 – Intelligence and Understanding – understanding the capabilities and limitations of “that force” (the proxy).

2 – Interest mapping – understanding the interests of your key partners, recognizing congruence and divergence from US interests.

3 – Institutions – he is confident the US can build “battalions” that are effective in combat, but says the problems lie in the “institutions” behind them.  These “institutions” provide the forces with “intelligence,” “plan their operations,” and “sustains their operations logistically in a way that is sophisticated within the political dynamics of human dynamics.”  [@43:46]  One is left to think that, ideally, the US would control everything the forces do and think, and observers would think exactly what the US wants them to think about what is happening.  He reiterates that “These forces in and of themselves are often times battlegrounds between various groups” [ending @43:54].

First, I do not think further articulation of this strategy is the issue.  I also cannot imagine the US Army does either.  Sure, brainwashing people to understand things in way that brings zero resistance would be ideal, but no one is going to want that, and it is not possible.  The best they can do is brainwash a small percentage of people, which will be touched on below.  Second, McMaster describes without stating that the US balkanizes groups to create proxy forces consisting of criminals and dupes that serve as a justification for the destabilization of the target state’s political order, the goal of which is to manage the peace negotiations and the construction of a new political order.

The relatively new journal Special Operations Journal, a publication of the Special Operations Research Association, a 501(c)3 partnered with the Joint Special Operations University, itself an educational agency of the United States Special Operations Command, has several essays dealing with these aspects of US military strategy, Russian reactions, and the utility of proxy forces.[12]  Rubright’s essay in the journal lays out what McMaster wanted further articulated, as a “paradox” in US strategy.[13]  The US is forced to rely on proxies because US conventional forces overwhelm all other competitors; this overwhelming conventional capability has pushed other countries to adopt “irregular warfare” techniques.[14]  The short-term utility derived from manipulating particular proxies in an environment of constant human social and political changes hinders the US in constructing an achievable long-term strategy because we cannot tell what the future political dynamics will be.  “Interest mapping” is, then, important because the values and ends of potential proxies may differ from those of the US, so the US must ensure it only allies itself with third-party proxy forces when their strategic ends are the same as those of the US.[15]  Rubright says “the paradox resides in the inability of U.S. strategic culture to permit the achievement of political outcomes because warfare has become ritualized through constraints.”[16]  His “preferred ‘theory’ of war” places “Theory/ideology” at the apex of the action in that “Theory drives politics and policy, which, in turn, drives strategy, operations and tactics in descending order.”[17]  Because the military is not political, it is subordinate to the ideological elements involved in political processes and policymaking.  Liberalism then becomes a constraining force on military conceptions and actions, the development and evolution of political correctness determining the linguistic and definitional aspects relevant to military policy making.  This ideological constraint, Rubright says, is causing the US military to “address the paradox,” with “the whole-of-government approach” where “all facets of national power are deployed to achieve our political objective.”[18]

The “strategic paradox” outlined by Rubright is the same problem identified by Lucas and Mistry in their essay “Illusions of Coherence” about how George Kennan’s lack of political strategy resulted from employing the many mechanisms of what is called “political warfare.”  Political warfare was developed, first implemented, and first regretted by George Kennan in the State Department’s bureau of Policy Planning in the late 1940s.

In broadest definition, political warfare is the employment of all the means at a nation’s command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives. Such operations are both overt and covert.  They range from such overt actions as political alliances, economic measures … and “white” propaganda, to such covert operations as clandestine support of “friendly” foreign elements, “black” psychological warfare and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states.[19]

Included in this brilliant strategy is the persistent use of covert propaganda. Propaganda is a general term, which, “in the most neutral sense, means to disseminate or promote particular ideas.”[20]  The different types of propaganda are defined according to transparency; white, gray, and black.  White propaganda is basically official public relations statements.  Gray and black propaganda are increasingly more difficult to unpack.  Turner gives “surreptitious placement of favorable news items in foreign media outlets” as an example of gray propaganda, noting that it does not promote your causes, but it supports the local causes of foreigners (the targets), including incitement of riots.[21]  Black propaganda, or disinformation, Turner defines as “the purposeful manipulation of the perceptions of a target audience through the use of disinformation or deception.”  The “distinguishing characteristic” of black propaganda is it is “either exaggerated or false” and can be falsely attributed to other parties.[22]  So the Policy Planning Memo is chiefly referring to three categories of propaganda, but these are often times only cover, or public relations, for actions taken elsewhere.  US perception management, what used to be called psychological warfare, is today called “public diplomacy.”  But, political warfare is understood as an aggregation of parts into a whole.  Kennan saw political warfare as the sum of “diplomatic, economic, military, cultural, and covert initiatives” which “fostered a bureaucratic structure to oversee and implement a coordinated campaign with the participation of state and private actors.”[23]  This bureaucratic structure might be likened to McMaster’s “institutions.”

“Operations would be pursued,” in Kennan’s vision, “not as the implementation of a coherent American strategy but as part of a continuing bureaucratic impetus toward initiatives that would take U.S. overt and covert interventions into Eastern Europe and, later, into ‘the non-Soviet world.’”[24]  These bureaucratic politics permeate the most important and esteemed sections of the administrative state.  They are often not in coordination, which may be a key difference between Russia and the West.  In Russia, things appear more centralized and planned.  Despite the US engaging in the same things, it, at least appears, the various bureaucracies, State/Defense/Intelligence, are disconnected from each other and private institutions.  Kennan’s Policy Planning Staff were, probably predictably, unable to “integrate methods and objectives.” As a consequence, the distinction between War and Peacetime methods became unclear due to the organizational conceptions necessary to implement the policies, i.e., attempting to implement some kind of conceptual mixture of then and now, means and ends, and overt and covert activities.[25]  Rubright’s conception of “the whole-of-government approach” is inverted from Lucas and Mistry’s account of “political warfare.”  Rubright says the military is adapting to ideological constraints by making, or acquiescing to, a strategy conceived as political warfare aimed at “irregular enemies,” i.e., allowing non-military bureaucracies to move political objectives forward.  Lucas and Mistry, like Rubright, identify “perpetual uncertainty” as being a key problem in the development of political strategy.  But, on the other hand, they say Kennan’s political warfare policy was inherently unable to develop strategic goals, and instead relied on the projection of the perception to others that, if there were goals, they could be obtained by these various means of US power.[26]   In other words, Rubright’s conception has the military “adapting” into the same illusion of strategy that created the Cold War; Rubright reverts ‘Nitze’s “militarized” conception’ of the conflict with NSC 68, that took initiative from State into Defense, back to State – the bureaucratic impetus advances unabated; if not one bureaucracy, then another.  General Joseph F. Dunford, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said recently at the Brookings Institute articulable “political objectives” (goals) are a key element of the developing Trump’s policy for the Middle East.  This may be the case, but with “the whole-of-government approach,” the military is not the only, or even the primary, actor.  The various non-military means would be the components of diplomacy and “soft power,” and in this realm, liberalism, Rubright’s ideological constraint on the military, is the weapon.[27]


Joseph Nye, a Rhodes Scholar specializing in international relations, is often credited as the innovator of the soft power concept.  This may be true in terms of academic articulation, but it is certainly not the case in terms of actual policy history.  Soft power, according to Nye, is the ability to co-opt the preferences of others, based on their positive perception of one’s values, practices, policies, and relationships with foreign actors.[28]  Legitimacy distinguishes actions of soft power from propaganda, and “polls” determine the legitimacy of things; if people dislike something, then it is propaganda, but if they do like it, then it is soft power.  Public diplomacy, as an application of soft power, consists of a mixture of high-level planning and low-level execution mediated by all forms of propaganda and non-violent coercion.  The higher-level institutions (think tanks, NGOs, high profile individuals) create dialogues, define and manage debate parameters, initiate policies, and create and maintain networks of friendly foreigners.  Obama’s public diplomacy aimed, in part, at affecting the lives of foreigners who come “to the U.S.” to “experience life in America,” and in “English language teaching programs throughout the world,” while “furthering inclusion and tolerance though exchange programs.”  To measure success one must attempt to track and maintain these positive relationships with foreigners.[29]  Nye described the “development of lasting relationships with key individuals over many years,” listing “access to media channels” as an avenue for successful public diplomacy.[30]  Often these networks develop from the interaction of government bureaucracies, think tanks, philanthropies, and corporations; “many areas that are not covered by traditional international relations.”[31]  Boyer says that “most U.S.-led government-to-people or U.S.- sponsored people-to-people activities designed to further professional, educational, or cultural collaboration or understanding would fall under the U.S. public diplomacy umbrella.”[32]  Low-level execution of some of these policies appears to be something like cult creation for the purposes of political agitation.

In the US, the “values” and “practices” deemed worthy of propagation are imbued in what is called the “social justice warrior.”  In Russia, social justice warriors are seen as the instigators of color revolutions.  And the Russians are not wrong in thinking this.[33]  Kennan’s concept of “political warfare,” includes what the Soviets called “ideological struggle.”  The Nazis called this same thing “worldview warfare.”  Nye’s “public diplomacy” is another example of the same concept, which because of prior connotations requires a new term.  By virtue of the concept of “surreptitious belief subversion” it from time to time requires a new term.  As people associate negative events with the terms, the terms lose their potency for open concealment and become conspicuous when used.  The word propaganda is, by necessity, the classic example of a word accumulating negative connotations requiring practitioners, propagandists, to come up with a new term to rejuvenate their shady practices.  Smith and Mos describe public diplomacy as “basically an extension of the propaganda and psychological warfare techniques developed during World War II.”  They contrast public diplomacy with the New Public Diplomacy (NPD) on the grounds that (1) NPD is applied by non-state actors in addition to the government, (2) it is tied to domestic propaganda, and (3) not aimed at persuasion, but ‘creating a dialogue’.[34]  Persuasion is all about dialogues now, as will be covered below, because when one creates a dialogue they frame the discussion via the definitions in the premises they assert when creating the dialogue.  Because public diplomacy links domestic values and foreign policy as a form or element of diplomacy, it politicizes culture.  This boundary breaching between foreign and domestic is related to the politicization of culture though the creation of dialogues, as we can see from the highly political “academic field” of “social justice.”

Amanda Tidwell recently described an identity politics class at Ohio State as, “dedicated to social justice themes,” which

pledges to teach students how to ‘identify microaggressions,’ define and address systems of power and privilege,advance notions of diversity and inclusion, and prioritizeglobal citizenship,’  …  ‘Crossing Identity Boundaries’ aims to expand students’ ‘self-awareness’ and help them developdialogue skills.’[35]

The class teaches people (1) how to define systems of unwanted behavior, (2) to identify with cosmopolitan definitions of citizenship, i.e., academic fictions that differ from the legal definitions of citizenship, (3) to create dialogue skills.  So, between Smith, Mos, Nye, and Tidwell, we can see that identity politics classes teach all the things necessary for students to antagonize political regimes within the framework of public diplomacy; what the students are taught, and what they think, are, essentially, the contents and results of psychological warfare.  This sounds a lot like what Sherr describes as Leninst “ideological struggle.”  The goal of which was the “‘undermining [of] the political, economic and social system, and massive indoctrination of the population for destabilizing the society and the state, and also forcing the state to make decisions in the interests of the opposing party.’”[36]  Seeing the actual manifestation of these ideas gives a better idea of what is happening.

This form of repeat-after-the-speaker appears to be a derivation of the Occupy movement’s “mic check.”  The testing of these agitation movements is happening in US Universities; US citizens purchase the ability to take these classes and “learn” these “things.”  Sargon of Akkad’s full presentation, What is a Social Justice Course?” gives a good overview of the academic environment generating this phenomenon.  Some Universities require that students take a “Social Justice” class as part of their general education curriculum.  There are also full-fledged “degrees” in “social justice.”  They are being given credentialed authority positions to be thought police.  US Universities appear to be ground zero for the prototyping of new models of the social justice warrior.  People joke about how the academic product of the professors in these departments must be garble or nil.  But, while much of it may be terrible, it would not be surprising to find papers describing new methods of subversion that might gain traction, or be selected for experiment.  One might ask where these professors are getting their money, or where does the prerogative for these programs come from?  One would then be led to places like the Ford Foundation.


One of the institutions helping to create the content of the social justice warrior ideology is the Ford Foundation.  Foundations are important to consider, and typically ignored, because they provide grants to professors and researchers; they farm out research projects to specialized and compartmented academics.  These grants give direction to people’s energy, the scope of the direction being at the discretion of the grantor.  Inevitably, when research money is divvied out, some projects get funding and some do not.[37]  What is funded then becomes the science or culture the grantors seek; the science and culture of the future.  What requires funding to exist but is not funded is, generally, not known.[38]  Ford, and its ilk, are large enough institutions that what they do fund is not just known, but studied for its influence.

Pooley describes the development of Ford Foundation’s communications grant programs in his essay From Psychological Warfare to Social Justice.[39]   In the essay, Pooley argues that the end of the Cold War had a “democratizing” effect on the Ford Foundation.  Despite Ford’s Cold War history of researching methods of psychological warfare on behalf of the corporate, military, and intelligence communities, organizational power diffusion granted autonomy enough that “scholar activists” were influential in remaking Ford’s grant process.  They used that influence to help “a loose coalition” of struggling “media democracy” activists, who just so happened to have “coalesced around” the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, push back against corporate media consolidation started in the 1980s.[40]  The movements, however, were bent on changing the framework for how various minority groups are presented in the media.

The hiring of Becky Lentz in 2001 presaged the direction of Ford’s social justice grants the field of communications studies.  According to Pooley, Lentz was “the central figure” in Ford’s foray into media activism, and “dispersed over $20 million dollars” to the movements during her tenure.  But the most important factor in these studies is the elevation of “radical groups” to the status of “reformists and mainstream liberals.”[41]  In the first few years, Lentz is said to have done research to help her create a “strategy” which would later be operationalized.[42]  As Pooley says, “Over these years her goal became nothing less than the self-conscious seeding of a bona fide social movement.”[43]  Lentz is said to have dedicated “about a third of her time to educating the philanthropic community” towards this goal.[44]  Ford’s positioning within the philanthropic, policy, and academic world is what allows for particular ideas to spread from important institution to important institution, allowing for it to generate a “grassroots” conference which can be considered “a pivotal moment in the history of media activism.”  This characterization stems from the “terminology” which became standard among “media activists working from a social justice perspective.”[45]  Arguably, “grassroots” organizations are by definition not funded by these large philanthropies that have historically been associated with military and espionage research into psychological warfare, the behavioral sciences, and mass social engineering; the opposite is the case.  Of course, as usual with these people, Lentz’s rhetoric is wrapped up in “the public interest.”[46]  She assumes authority to define the public interest.  Her contrast of forces is between the “media-related philanthropy” that “underwrites content creation and neglects ‘more systemic issues’” and those neglected systemic issues themselves, the “‘policies that shape and govern the production, distribution, exhibition and exchange of information and ideas in society using electronic media resources.’”[47]  Lentz, and the media democracy activists, lament the “market” domination of the media, which squeezes out the “non-experts, ordinary citizens, and grassroots groups,” as well as magnifies the prominence of the “legal and technical professionals” in the field of communications and media policy.  However, Pooley never mentions, or quotes Lentz mentioning, that the market is more than just the corporations; it is also the consumers.

What they were discussing is social justice in the form of media propaganda.  According to the media justice advocates, people did not have a problem with their media; implicitly this is because they spend their money as consumers to “get what they want,” and these social justice experts want to say that those people just do not know what the problems with media content are because it has not been in their media.  Hence, their focus on the neglected systemic issues with the goal of content modification.  Their identifying themselves with “the public interest,” and then launching a propaganda assault to persuade people, through media propaganda, to think something else, built the media democracy cause.  How can they be in charge of these policies and possibly be the down trodden?  This is the problem with pseudo-Marxists (usually self-proclaimed “radicals”) who use class dialectics to refer to differing groups of people; once they get in charge, their claims of oppression are inverted.  Now, there is a new class of downtrodden media activists (the alternative media) who are opposed to the Ford Foundation’s social justice brainwashing.  Because they are not products of the Ford Foundation or any other like-institution, they really are grassroots.  All this is doubly ironic, because the meaningful issues, like copyrights, licenses, privacy, and patents, are still the main issues and still dominated by the technical and legal experts required to deal with those problems.  Lentz recognized the necessity of including these professionals and recruited the Social Science Research Council to assist in creating cooperative projects for “legal and media scholars…inclusive of media justice advocates.”[48]  These same issues of consolidation and social engineering prompted Matt Drudge to give an interview, something he is not known to do, to Alex Jones at infowars, where he warned that a Supreme Court Justice [if true, process of deduction, it was Thomas] had told him they “have the votes” to regulate online content based on copyright and hyperlinks.[49]  Drudge and Jones expressed concern that the Federal Communications and Federal Elections Commissions were looking for ways to “regulate” political content online.  Again, if true, this media democracy movement could have helped elect Donald Trump.

Lentz’s “last goal” at Ford was to “support university-based scholarship” oriented towards the “public interest” in the form of “values such as diversity, freedom of expression, and universal access to electronic media.”[50]  She left Ford in 2007, but her legacy lives on.  Alex Daniels reported in June 2015 that, “The doubling of general operating support to 40 percent of the foundation’s grant-making budget, projected to be in excess of $1 billion over five years, will enable Ford to create what its president, Darren Walker, calls a ‘social-justice infrastructure’ reminiscent of the support it provided nonprofits during the civil-rights era.”[51]  Innocuous sounding when compared to the civil-rights era, these movements are important to intelligence agencies because they can foster political change.

Pooley’s perspective is restricted to communications, which in many ways is the broadest element of Ford’s function as a node in a major international knowledge community/network.  The criticism mentioned at the end of his article, that Ford might be co-opting “radical” liberal activists and academics, is probably correct.  Pooley’s retort, that the independence of Lentz in developing the system of grants and the organizational components, obviates Ford’s former activities, largely is subsumed by the wider existence of the Ford Foundation in the international system.  First, that Ford funds both conservative and radical liberal perspectives can be comprehended without apprehension if one understands Ford as an international or transnational institution.  By that, I mean, ideologically, it is both liberal and conservative insofar as the specific variety is internationalist, i.e., liberal internationalist or conservative internationalist.  The other element is the fact that these organizations see themselves as “nonpartisan.”  For instance, the Brookings Institute was, in its early days, a conservative internationalist institution, evidenced by, among other things, their support for the United Nations in the 1940s and their opposition to the New Deal in the 1930s.  It presented itself as “nonpartisan,” and is described by Critchlow as “professional” and “technocratic,” but also a “shadow government.”[52]  Others in the same network of, mainly, Anglo-American international institutions (think tanks and philanthropies) push liberal internationalism.  Ronald Coase, when denied grants from Ford because of his “ideology” at the Thomas Jefferson Center, even tried to defend himself by refuting Ford’s understanding of his methodology and its convergence with Ford’s agenda by appealing to his past work and proximity to British Fabians.[53]  Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller, Pooley’s “beholden foundations,” not only all worked together, in virtually every field, but catered to different demographics, different political circumstances and dynamics – always pushing internationalism or globalism depending on the audience.  One might notice that when social justice ‘crosses national borders’ in defining citizenship, they are implicitly opposing existing legal definitions (explicitly if one broaches the subject).[54]  I argue that signals an international, or potentially, global political ideology, a long-term trend that will undermine national legal systems.  Second, recall, the “new” public diplomacy links domestic and foreign propaganda, effectively blurring the line.  That is what is at stake, not mere liberal or conservative ideologies; rather, it is the concept of local political legitimacy, or a new “denationalized” legal system and dominant culture, catering to MNCs, social justice warriors, and migrants of various kinds instead of local populations and their traditionally sovereign governments.[55]  SJWs undermine local political legitimacy in the domestic realm as much as armed terror groups in Syria undermine it there; the difference is in the degree.  One might say Ford is “utilizing” the “radical” liberals in this effort, if they prefer that, instead of “co-opting.”  SJW behavior in the United States is merely an early phase in regime change as intended and utilized by the CIA and the Army.  If this seems hyperbolic, consider the example set by the CIA in their South American adventures in the 1980s.  They wrote clear guidelines for their proxies in Nicaragua.


This, more explicit, parallel of past US policy, and possibly evidence that, while, this policy is not new, it is new and is so new it can still be considered “the future of war,” is the CIA’s manipulation of armed groups in Nicaragua in the 1980s.  An infamous CIA pamphlet entitled Psychological Operations and Guerrilla Warfare, archived by the Federation of American Scientists, described exactly how the CIA intended their proxy forces to behave.  The document is clear, and much of this will be familiar to those aware of US foreign policy and domestic politics in the last few years:

When the cadres are placed or recruited in organizations such as labor unions, youth groups, agrarian organizations or professional associations, they will begin to manipulate the objectives of the groups. The psychological apparatus of our movement through inside cadres prepares a mental attitude which at the crucial moment can be turned into a fury of justified violence. …

Through a small group of guerrillas infiltrated within the masses this can be carried out; they will have the mission of agitating by giving the impression that there are many of them and that they have a large popular backing. Using the tactics of a force of 200-300 agitators, a demonstration can be created in which 10,000-20,000 persons take part. …

  1. Selective Use of Violence for Propagandistic Effects

It is possible to neutralize carefully selected and planned targets, such as court judges, mesta judges, police and State Security officials, CDS chiefs, etc. For psychological purposes it is necessary to gather together the population affected, so that they will be present, take part in the act, and formulate accusations against the oppressor.

The target or person should be chosen on the basis of:  …

Our psychological war team should prepare in advance a hostile mental attitude among the target groups so that at the decisive moment they can turn their furor into violence, demanding their rights that have been trampled upon by the regime.…

Our psychological war cadres will create compulsive obsessions of a temporary nature in places of public concentrations, constantly hammering away at the themes pointed out or desired, the same as in group gatherings; in informal conversations expressing discontent; in addition passing out brochures and flyers, and writing editorial articles both on the radio and in newspapers, focused on the intention of preparing the mind of the people of the decisive moment, which will erupt in general violence.

Clearly, McMaster was only vaguely describing something that the US has engaged in for decades.  His application was intended to describe the anti-Assad Islamists in Syria.  In the 1980s, in Nicaragua, the CIA referred to these proxies as “psychological war cadres” and they have a lot in common with what we call “social justice warriors.”  The main difference is the particular rhetoric, but it is still thematically the same, liberation.  Contrary to Pooley’s assessment that the Ford Foundation has changed its ways, these practices are too similar to that which preceded it, the message being only different.  Thus, Ford, and the “media democracy movements,” cannot be separated from psychological warfare because they grew up within those information projection institutions, and used those mechanisms to project information.  That the information is different does not obviate the fact that Ford is inescapably an institution for mass social engineering; its networks are large, prestigious, and heavily financed, which is why it works.  It is far more insidious because it operates with so little public scrutiny, despite it being a high profile organization.  When Pooley refers to Lentz, saying, “part of her mission was to educate the philanthropic community,”[56] he is referring to her ability, in that position, to affect a high-level knowledge community, a network with the power to direct massive amounts of intellectual energy to its causes, all of which are to disseminate some particular kind of information to some particular group.  The Ford Foundation wanted to fund social justice, Ford has available channels and knowledge necessary for mass social engineering on a military grade scale, and its vocabulary matches that which comprises the vocabulary of “public diplomacy.”  It is not inconceivable that social justice warriors are being utilized as, what amount to, proxies in political warfare within the United States.  Kennan held, “It would be a mistake to consider psychological measures as anything separate from the rest of diplomacy. … [The U.S. must] appreciate the fact that everything it does of any importance at all has a psychological effect abroad as well as at home.”[57]  Social justice looks to be the new psychological warfare model.  What it is being utilized for, “global citizenship,” among other things, requires the demoralization and delegitimization of ‘lesser’ forms of political identification, i.e., national and subnational jurisdictions, as well as the combination of contradictory things, such as war and peace or means and ends.

The weaponization of liberalism is, I posit, responsible for making liberalism more and more unpalatable.  On top of this, Western political philosophy is a mess; an often unkempt amalgamation of liberalism and postmodernism where no one’s feelings are hurt because no one can be considered wrong by any objective standard.  Emotional reactivity is encouraged in political discourse, because there is no objective measure of conceptual and emotional understandings of facts.  Meanwhile, science, where objectivity is the goal, cannot comment on emotional reactivity in political discourse (save for behavioral).  The cornering rhetoric of political correctness that prevents substantive criticism is utilized for suppressing and delegitimizing opposing perspectives, particularly locally oriented, religious, or traditional/conservative perspectives.[58]  The key goal is, as Codevilla put it, to “inculcate new ways of thinking and speaking that amount to a new language.”[59]  Rectenwald, who is not conservative, describes this cornering rhetoric as a social control mechanism within Universities, “surreptitiously introduced,” which now comprises the “ethical vocabulary of academia.”[60]  Stigmatization (through hyperbole and emotional appeals) is a tool for diminishing the range of conceivable preferences for actions among peer groups.[61]  The assertion of premises, of definitions, when creating a dialogue, is the device to condition the rest of the dialogue.  Using stigmatizing definitions, then, is a “weapon” of discourse.  Using definitions to stigmatize and put political opponents on the defensive is a strategy to create new behavioral norms.  In this campaign of rhetorical stigmatization, the media is integral.

Trump and the Media

When Trump criticizes the press for their hyperbole and lies, he is absolutely justified.  Because we know exactly the psychological warfare formula to foment and “justify” political violence, and we can see the current mainstream press engaged in that very behavior (emotional exploitation; dangerous hyperbole), we can conclude that the press is engaging in psychological warfare (preparing mental hostility and compulsive obsessions[62]), especially those organizations pushing war propaganda in the same breath as anti-Trump propaganda.  Kier Giles, at Oxford, published for the Chatham House a report in March of 2016 about Russian disinformation.  In it, he said Western media needs to be made aware, with “delicacy in order to avoid any taint of direction or constraint,” that the Russians are trying to subvert their “objectivity and independence,” as a means of their sophisticated new “hybrid warfare,” to spread disinformation.[63]  The point, of course, is so that the Western media will accept “assistance” from the Chatham experts in identifying it.  Russian “public diplomacy,” their overt information programs, are defined as “campaigns that promote understanding of Russian politics and culture, and cultivate an objective image of the country abroad” consisting of “international broadcasting, cultural and language promotion, as well as branding and public relations.”  These are the things the Obama administration intelligence officials cast as efforts to influence the US elections (note 9).  The “Intelligence Community Assessment” summary, published for public consumption, is a joke.  It reads like it was written by someone at Buzzfeed.  It describes what it omits as “highly classified,” implies editorial bias in news is a weapon of war, implies that Russia is influencing people unduly on Youtube because CNN has more Facebook likes than RT, but far fewer Youtube subscribers than RT (pp. 8, 11).  That is the kind of reasoning that comes from the weaponization and militarization of culture and rhetoric in the pursuit of successive successes in political warfare.  The Western media is clearly cooperating in the dissemination of anti-Russian propaganda, and it overlaps with the anti-Trump propaganda.  It overlaps because Trump represents people who want to step back from the social justice warrior brand of liberalism.  RT must engage in “anti-liberal” “information warfare” because liberalism is being weaponized in the West.  This hesitation with liberalism in the US is the most important element of the overlap because Russia seeks to promote “an alternative cultural, moral, and civilizational pole in the world to be followed by those unhappy with Western liberalism.”[64]  That same Western liberalism is being targeted at Trump.

Loretta Lynch’s recent comments are almost taken right out of the CIA’s manual:

I know this is a time of fear and uncertainty for so many people.  I know it’s a time for concern for people who see our rights being assailed, being trampled on, and even being rolled back.  I know that this is difficult, but I remind you that this has never been easy.  We have always had to work to move this country forward to achieve the great ideals of our Founding Fathers.  And it has been people, individuals, who have banded together.  Ordinary people, who simply saw what needed to be done, and came together and supported those ideals who have made the difference.  They’ve marched.  They’ve bled.  And, yes, some of them have died.  This is hard.  Every good thing is.  We have done this before.  We can do this again.[65]

The implication is clear enough.  Nye said legitimacy is measured through polls.  Trump’s poll numbers have dropped since his inauguration.[66]  It is in the interests of the agitators to use emotional hyperbole to catalyze reactions described as “compulsive obsessions of a temporary nature.”  The media is acting, so to speak, by the book, if these are their desired outcomes.  As Professor Kovacevic reported, Russian newspapers are discussing whether or not Trump will be ousted by the Western Establishment for being too close or too not-hostile to Russia.[67]  Western journalists are discussing similar things, at cocktail parties.[68]  And they are discussing that while they ignore (or deride) Steve Bannon, who has expressed similar concerns about foreign subversion in the recent past.[69]  The fears Trump will derail the international community by helping stoke the flames of nationalism is the real problem ‘the elite’ have with Trump.  From a more nationalist perspective, “international influences” in the United States can be considered a stone’s throw from “foreign espionage.” “International media,” then, is close to “foreign propaganda.”  If the US public turned against the UK, BBC would be seen in the same light as RT, which is Russia’s “countermeasure to CNN.”[70]  Because information warfare of this variety is seen as preference or branding competition, when people call something “fake news,” what they mean is to dismiss whatever it is as opposition propaganda.

Trump has frequently mentioned CNN, specifically, when referring to “fake news.”  There is curiously substantiating evidence for Trump’s assessment found in Scot Macdonald’s book, Propaganda and Information Warfare in the Twenty First Century: Altered Images and Deception Operations.  In his chapter on the United States, entitled “The Easy Mark,” Macdonald says,

The television news, especially CNN, sets the agenda for much of the rest of the media.  Once CNN or the major television networks cover a story, it is usually picked up by every other station, as well as by newspapers around the world.  …  This “follow-the-leader structure” means that stories spread with incredible speed.  …   Training in modern media technology and methods is crucial to developing effective psyops, yet concerns were raised when the Fourth Psychological Operations Group based at Fort Bragg, NC, had personnel training as interns at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters.  Critics charged that the military personnel were involved in news production, although CNN denied the accusation … Truthful propaganda is usually credible and effective, while deception operations that use the truth to reinforce existing beliefs in order to reach an invalid conclusion are far more effective than attempts to deceive using lies.  …  It is far more difficult, if not impossible, to argue against an altered image that arouses emotions than against an erroneous position stated in words in the form of a proposition.  … the media does not, usually, help society determine which information is true and which is false.  In many ways, in fact, the media facilitates the spread of disinformation, which can only help an adversary seeking to use altered images for propaganda and to support deception operations targeted against the United States.[71]

Just the process of 24-hour advertisement-based media is the mechanism exploited for disinformation purposes.  For those in the US intelligence community, Michael Turner identifies a moral dilemma facing any who would “use the press as their conduits” to disseminate false propaganda: doing so undermines the free press and it could engender opposition and counter propaganda.[72]  Not to mention totally discredit the organizations that engage in it.  It is dangerous enough that the US military and intelligence agencies are using this as an early phase in a strategy to compel ‘regime change’ in other countries (because those countries know the US is doing it).[73]  Calling ideological subversion “democratization” no longer anaesthetizes the public to the espionage function of many NGOs.[74]  The US may have temporary success in these efforts, but the long-term costs to the reputation of the US, and the degradation and trivializing of the concepts and rhetoric used to justify US actions, should warrant reconsideration.  The US should not be engaged in blending culture with covert action, nor utilizing strategies of ideological warfare indistinguishable from those of the Soviet Union, all the while blaming it on Russia, who, today, is merely a target.  Nor should the media for such things be aiding the US government.

It has been reported recently that the CIA has ended its distribution of arms to rebels in Syria.[75]  Tulsi Gabbard, for her part, being on the House Armed Services Committee, is currently attempting to end US money to terror groups in the Congress.  Her official House website contains an article saying,

The CIA has also been funneling weapons and money through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and others who provide direct and indirect support to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.  This support has allowed al-Qaeda and their fellow terrorist organizations to establish strongholds throughout Syria, including in Aleppo.

Ending Congressional funding without also reversing the supporting ideological elements within the Executive or administrative bureaucracy, or even Congress, might just push the desired policies underground, as was the case in the 1980s with Iran-Contra.  McMaster’s “institutions” support these operations more so than the Congress, who are little more than a piggy bank that can be replaced.  Trump’s foreign policy perspective is clearly informed, however sparsely, along the lines of Flynn, Gabbard, Mearsheimer, and Seymour Hersh.  The dismissal of Michael Flynn was a cheap political maneuver that has already harmed the potential for the US to end its participation in the arming and manipulation of proxy forces, and repair its relationship with Russia.  The elevation of McMaster to Trump’s National Security Adviser forces one to consider how long the US will not be engaging in these kinds of operations.  Or how long Trump will stave off the “deep state” elements attempting to delegitimize him, the Russophobes being installed around him, or the increasingly desperate Democrats, who are going to push the “Red Menace” narrative as hard as they can.[76]


[1] Emphases added.  Also available here: Dmitry Gorenburg, “Moscow Conference on International Security 2014, part 1: The plenary speeches,” Russian Military Reform, May 29, 2014.

[2] Charles K. Bartles, “Russia’s Indirect and Asymmetric Methods as a Response to the New Western Way of War,” Special Operations Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2016, p. 4.  See also, Charles K. Bartles, “Getting Gerasimov Right,” Military Review, Jan/Feb 2016, pp. 30-38.

[3] Ibid, pp. 3-4.  Bartles describes something like this when referring to the Russian “4:1 ratio” of “military to nonmilitary methods” and quoting the Russian defense minister Shoigu.

[4] Ibid, p. 4.  Bartles refers to “Western government-sponsored nongovernmental organizations,” i.e., the National Endowment for Democracy.  See notes infra 73-74, especially Meyssan and Wachtmann.

[5] Ibid, p. 10.

[6] John J. Mearsheimer, “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault,” Foreign Affairs, September/October, 2014.

[7] Seymour M. Hersh, “Military to Military,” London Review of Books, Vol. 38, No. 1, January 7, 2016, pp. 11-14. ; Seymour M. Hersh, “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” London Review of Books, Vol. 36 No. 8, April 17, 2014, pp. 21-24.

[8] Bartles, “Russia’s Indirect and Asymmetric Methods,” p. 4.

[9] President Barack Obama, “Statement by the President on Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment,” Office of the Press Secretary, December 29, 2016. ; “‘Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,’” Intelligence Community Assessment, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, January 6, 2017. ; Also see, Brian Bartholomew and Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade, “Wave your false flags…or the Nightmares and Nuances of Self-Aware Attribution Space,” Securelist, October 6, 2016, and their report presented at the 2016 Virus Bulletin Conference.

[10] Eli Lake, “The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn,” Bloomberg, February 14, 2017. ; Adam Kredo, “Former Obama Officials, Loyalists Waged Secret Campaign to Oust Flynn,” The Washington Free Beacon, February 14, 2017. ; Richard Pollock, “EXCLUSIVE: In Final Interview, Defiant Flynn Insists He Crossed No Lines, Leakers Must Be Prosecuted,” The Daily Caller, February 14, 2017.

[11] Erna Burai, “Parody as Norm Contestation: Russian Normative Justifications in Georgia and Ukraine and Their Implications for Global Norms,” Global Society, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2016, pp. 67-77.  For an examination of the Russian/Western contest of legitimacy in the media see, Jacob R. Crawford, “Legitimacy of Lexicon,” February 14, 2017.

[12] The Executive Committee of the journal consists entirely of military academics, as does the Board.  The one exception is Linda Robinson, who is not really an exception because she is from the RAND Corporation.

[13] Richard Rubright, “The U.S. Strategic Paradox, Third-Party Proxies, and Special Operations Forces,” Special Operations Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2016, pp. 135-145.

[14] Ibid, p. 137.

[15] Ibid, p. 144.  Short-term congruence does not mean long-term congruence.

[16] Ibid, p. 136.  What is required to account for time, potentiality, and actuality in strategy is a process/economic philosophy.

[17] Ibid, p. 138-139.  The complexities of dealing with hostile foreign ideologies (in the Middle East) have created the main problems.  Political correctness prevents the military from forming traditional strategies as it had done when faced with Native American and Filipino “irregulars.”  Rubright laments this politically correct treatment of war, as well as the historical jungle of value judgments placed on people in the past attempting to resolve the problems they faced.

[18] Ibid, p. 139.

[19] Policy Planning Staff Memo, “The Inauguration of Organized Political Warfare,” April 30, 1948. Box 11A, Lot File 64 D 563, Record Group 59, National Archives & Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.  Cf. Scott Lucas and Kaeten Mistry, “Illusions of Coherence: George F. Kennan, U.S. Strategy and Political Warfare in the Early Cold War, 1946-1950,” Diplomatic History, Vol. 33, No. 1, January 2009, p. 39.  For the developments of US and Soviet “revolutionary warfare strategy” until the end of the Cold War, see Richard H. Shultz, Jr., “Political Strategies for Revolutionary War,” in Political Warfare and Psychological Operations: Rethinking the US Approach, Lord and Barnett, eds., National Defense University Press, 1989, pp. 111-138.

[20] Garth S. Jowett & Victoria O’Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion, SAGE Publications, 2006, p. 2.

[21] Micheal A. Turner, “Covert Action: An Appraisal of the Effects of Secret Propaganda,” in Strategic Intelligence, Loch K. Johnson, ed., Vol. 3, Praeger, 2007, pp. 111-112.

[22] Ibid, p. 112. ; Jowett & O’Donnell, Propaganda, pp. 22-28. ; John D. Stempel, “Covert Action and Diplomacy,” in Strategic Intelligence, Loch K. Johnson, ed., Vol. 3, Praeger, 2007, pp. 147-149.

[23] Lucas and Mistry, “Illusions of Coherence,” p. 41.

[24] Ibid, p. 43.

[25] Ibid, pp. 48, 62.  Claims by both the US and the Russians that these are new developments seem unfounded.  For instance, according to Bartles, Russia’s great innovation is to militarize the nonmilitary means of war.  These words are going to lose meaning if they continue blurring them.  The new warfare, which does not distinguish between peace and war, is similar to the notion of total war.  Particularly, the fact that in total war, civilian war production is seen as indistinguishable from soldiers’ ‘war production’, meaning that everything is a target.  Bartles, “Russia’s Indirect and Asymmetric Methods,” p. 5.

[26] Lucas and Mistry, “Illusions of Coherence,” p. 65.

[27] This is observed, but apparently not understood by some who have mentioned it.  For instance, Osipova says, “Moscow…perceives Western soft power as a threat, recasting Nye’s originally Liberal concept in terms of…what the Kremlin sees as the modern modes of warfare: soft power and public diplomacy.”  Emphasis added.  Yelena Osipova, “Indigenizing Soft Power in Russia,” in The Routledge Handbook of Soft Power, Naren Chitty, Li Ji, Gary Rawnsley, Craig Hayden, eds., Routledge, 2017, p. 4.  Implicitly, Liberalism is benign.  It is defined and conceived in such a way that it cannot be part of realism, which is not the case.  Because of this implicit conceptualization, Russia cannot be justified in their opposition to liberal values being ‘democratized’ into their society by Western NGOs.

[28] Joseph S. Nye Jr., “Public Diplomacy and Soft Power,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 616, Iss. 1, March 2008, pp. 95-96.

[29] Emphases added.  Spencer P. Boyer, “Transatlantic Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century,” in Smarter Power: The Key to a Strategic Transatlantic Partnership, Jehan & Simonyi, eds., Center for Transatlantic Relations, 2014, p. 149, 158-159.

[30] Joseph S. Nye, Jr., “Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century,” the Globalist, May 10, 2004.

[31] Boyer, “Transatlantic Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century,” pp. 149-150.  Outside of traditional international relations, Parmar and Rietzler identify, as a “key thread” in “the history of US foundation philanthropy in the twentieth century,” the “centrality of knowledge to political and state power. … builders of heavily politicised knowledge networks—networks that may be likened to epistemic communities or, in Gramscian terms, networks of organic intellectuals linked with the US state as well as with civil society.” Inderjeet Parmar & Katharina Rietzler, “American Philanthropy and the Hard, Smart, and Soft Power of the United States,” Global Society, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2014, p. 4

[32] Boyer, “Transatlantic Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century,” pp. 149, 152-159.

[33] See notes infra 73-74.

[34] Giles Scott-Smith & Martijn Mos, “Democracy promotion and the New Public Diplomacy,” in New Directions in US Foreign Policy, Parmar, Miller, and Lewidge, eds., Routledge, 2009, p. 227.  Indeed, Iran-Contra was considered to be a “public diplomacy program.”  See, Robert Parry and Peter Kornbluh, “Iran-Contra’s Untold Story,” Foreign Policy, No. 72, Autumn 1988, p. 4.  On the development of psychological warfare research as the professionalized academic field of mass communications, see Christopher Simpson, Science of Coercion: Communication Research & Psychological Warfare, 1945-1960, Oxford University Press, 1996, p. 11.

[35] Emphases added.  Amanda Tidwell, “Ohio State class teaches students to detect and respond to microaggressions, white privilege,” The College Fix, January 27, 2017.  Williams refers to the crossing of identity boundaries, a form of division, as resulting in “matrices of identity politics” which “at times enrich and facilitate class solidarity.”  In other words, the factions create alliances.  See, Johnny E. Williams, “Review: Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism,” Journal of the Research Group on Socialism and Democracy, Vol. 17, No. 2, April 17, 2011.

[36] James Sherr, “A War of Narratives and Arms,” in The Russian Challenge, Giles, Hanson, Lyne, Nixey, Sherr, and Wood, eds., Chatham House, 2015, p. 23.

[37] Peter Thiel has referred to this in regards to government grantors hindering medical technologies, saying those “nimble in the art of writing grants who have squeezed out the more creative.”  Eliana Johnson, “Donald Trump’s ‘shadow president’ in Silicon Valley,” Politico, February 26, 2017.

[38] Ricci laments this.  David M. Ricci, The Tragedy of Political Science: Politics, Scholarship, and Democracy, Yale University Press, 1984, pp.  232-233. Lily Kay wrote specifically about the Rockefeller Foundation’s selection and funding of particular grant applications to ensure biology could be used for the purposes of eugenics.  Lily E. Kay, The Molecular Vision of Life: Caltech, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rise of the New Biology, Oxford University Press, 1993.

[39] Jefferson Pooley, “From Psychological Warfare to Social Justice: Shifts in Foundation Support for Communication Research,” in Media and Social Justice, Janson, Pooley, and Taub-Pervizpour, eds., Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, pp. 211-240.

[40] Ibid, pp. 212-215.  On the various groups in this movement see, Christina Dunbar-Hester, “’Being a Consistent Pain in the Ass’: Politics and Epistemics in Media Democracy Work,” Journal of Information Policy, Vol. 4, 2014, 547-569.

[41] Ibid, pp. 217-218.

[42] Ibid, pp. 221-223.  The third report is described as “devoted to building a ‘persuasive and compelling argument for ’increasing donor and foundation funding for a wide range of media activities.’”

[43] Ibid, p. 218.

[44] Ibid, p. 221.

[45] Ibid, pp. 218-219.

[46] Ibid, pp. 222-223.

[47] Ibid, p. 222.

[48] Ibid, p. 224.  One might point out this is politicizing and biasing academic research, and simultaneously de-scholarizing the research that is done by these academics.

[49] Matt Drudge and Alex Jones, “Matt Drudge Visits the Alex Jones Show: Full Interview,” The Alex Jones Channel: Youtube, October 6, 2015.

[50] Pooley, “From Psychological Warfare to Social Justice”, p. 223.

[51] Alex Daniels, “Ford Shifts Grant Making to Focus Entirely on Inequality,” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, June 11, 2015.

[52] Donald T. Critchlow, The Brooking Institution, 1916-1952: Expertise and the Public Interest in a Democratic Society, Northern Illinois University Press, 1987, pp. 3-4.  Critchlow says the self-characterization of “nonpartisan” was a “political strategy by an elite group of social scientists, mostly economists, and businessmen who sought to undermine the existing control of the government by political parties,” which had been seen as corrupt since the Civil War, “by depoliticizing public policy” (p. 9).  See also, Crawford, “Legitimacy of Lexicon,” p. 14 note 67.

[53] David M. Levy and Sandra J. Peart, “’Almost Wholly Negative’: The Ford Foundation’s Appraisal of the Virginia School,” August 24, 2014.

[54] To see how far SJWs are from legal reality on US citizenship and how they are in the process of undermining it, see Philip Hamburger, “Beyond Protection,” Columbia Law Review, Vol. 109, No. 8, December 2009, pp. 1823-2001.

[55] See, A. Claire Cutler, “Transformations in Statehood, the Investor-State Regime, and the New Constitutionalism,” Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Vol. 23, No. 1, Winter 2016, pp. 95-125. ; A. Claire Cutler, “Global Capitalism and Liberal Myths: Dispute Settlement in Private International Trade Relations,” Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 24, No. 3, 1995, p. 387.  Academics usually compare the implications of current trends to the medieval era.  For instance, Mazlish and Morss characterize the new global elite as “in certain ways akin to the earlier aristocratic society of the European Middle Ages.” Bruce Mazlish and  Elliott R. Morss, “A Global Elite?” in Leviathans: Multinational Corporations and the New Global History, Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., and Bruce Mazlish, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 170-171.  This also true of military theorists.  See, Phil Williams, “From the New Middle Ages to a New Dark Age: The Decline of the State and U.S. Strategy,” Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, June 2008. ; Phil Williams, “Here Be Dragons: Dangerous Spaces and International Security,” and Anne L. Clunan and Harold A. Trinkunas, “Conceptualizing Ungoverned Spaces: Territorial Statehood, Contested Authority, and Softened Sovereignty,” in Ungoverned Spaces: Alternatives to State Authority in an Era of Softened Sovereignty, Anne L. Clunan & Harold A. Trinkunas, eds., Stanford University Press, 2010.

[56] Pooley, “From Psychological Warfare to Social Justice,” p. 221.

[57] Kennan, “Measures Short of War (Diplomatic),” MSW: NWC, 9–10. Cf. Lucas and Mistry, “Illusions of Coherence,” p. 48.

[58] This is exactly what the Russians are attempting to do, according to Bartles breakdown of Russian methods of the “new” information warfare.  The Russians attempt to legitimize/delegitimize the actors they like and dislike with information campaigns carried out by “information warriors,” then deploy unmarked troops to hinder knowledge of who is really fighting where and distort perceptions like military vs. police actions, peacekeepers to bypass international condemnation for military actions, and “Cossacks,” or local militias, to initiate conflict.  Bartles, “Russia’s Indirect and Asymmetric Methods,” pp. 5-9.

[59] He also mentions that the “main enemy” of the current “progressives” is religion.  Angelo M. Codevilla, “The Rise of Political Correctness,” Claremont Review of Books, Vol. 26, No. 4, Fall 2016, p. 39, 43.  Codevilla has written previously that political warfare is often employed irresponsibly so that it does more harm than good.  Angelo M. Codevilla, “Political Warfare” in Political Warfare and Psychological Operations: Rethinking the US Approach, Lord and Barnett, eds., National Defense University Press, 1989, pp. 77-101.

[60] Michael Rectenwald, “Trigger Warnings, Safe Spaces, Bias Reporting: The New Micro-techniques of Surveillance and Control,” Legitgov, September 12, 2016.

[61] See, Cass Sunstein, “Social Norms and Social Rules,” University of Chicago, John M. Olin Law & Economics Working Paper No. 36, Autumn 1995, pp. 1-47.

[62] The CIA’s goal of “compulsive obsessions of a temporary nature” should not be hard to accomplish.  See, Kevin McSpadden,You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish,TIME, May 14, 2015.  Notice how the title addresses the reader in the form of an insult; that is what they think of people.

[63] Keir Giles, “Russia’s ‘New’ Tools for Confronting the West: Continuity and Innovation in Moscow’s Exercise of Power,” Chatham House Russia and Eurasia Programme Research Paper, March 2016, pp. 52, 58.  Giles suggests any information that could be perceived to help further friendly perceptions of Russia must be purged from policymaking circles.

[64] Osipova, “Indigenizing Soft Power in Russia,” p. 5.  Also see, Crawford, “Legitimacy of Lexicon,” p. 22 notes 104-108.

[65] Loretta Lynch as quoted from Senate Democrats video.  See, Chandler Gill, “Lynch Suggests More Protests Needed in Time When Americans’ ‘Rights Are Being Assailed,’” Washington Free Beacon, March 6, 2017.

[66] Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, Rasmussen, March 14, 2017.

[67] Russian Newspapers Monitor 16 from Filip Kovacevic, “Davos Globalists Push China Against Putin and Trump,” Newsbud: Youtube, January 22, 2017.

[68] Paul Wood, “Will Donald Trump be assassinated, ousted in a coup or just impeached? The Spectator, January 21, 2017.

[69] Stephen K. Bannon, “A Cancer at the Center of the Presidency: Robert Roche a Chinese Agent-of-Influence?Breitbart, October 21, 2012.  Why, oh, why do they attack Steve Bannon?  I cannot figure it out.  It really makes you wonder what “values” allow for high-level Chinese influence, but prevent Russian influence, and still embody liberalism.

[70] Bartles, “Russia’s Indirect and Asymmetric Methods,” p. 9.

[71] Scot Macdonald, Propaganda and Information Warfare in the Twenty First Century: Altered Images and Deception Operations, Routledge, 2007, pp. 128-135.

[72] Turner, “Covert Action: An Appraisal of the Effects of Secret Propaganda,” p. 116.

[73] Kalyeena Makortoff, “Russia bans George Soros charity as ‘security threat,’” CNBC, November 30, 2015. ; Alex Christoforou, “Leaked memo shows how George Soros planned to overthrow Vladimir Putin and destabilise Russia,” The Duran, August 25, 2016. ; Thierry Meyssan, “NED, the Legal Window of the CIA,” Voltaire Network, August 16, 2016. ; Zoltan Simon, “Hungary Plans to Crackdown on All Soros-Funded NGOs,” Bloomberg, January 10, 2017.  Also see, Jenna Lee Wachtmann, “Democracy Aid in Post-Communist Russia: Case Studies of the Ford Foundation, the C.S. Mott Foundation, and the National Endowment for Democracy,” M.A. Thesis, Indiana University, May 2015.

[74] Intelligence, and today NGOs in general, play a significant and apparently, now, permanent role in politics, utilizing social science research for the purposes of social engineering.  Academics, again, apparently, are largely unaware of this, or willfully ignorant, because they do not want to lose their jobs.  See, Bruce Cumings, “Biting the Hand That Feeds You: Why the ‘Intelligence Function’ of American Foundation Support for Area Studies Remains Hidden in Plain Sight,” Global Society, Vol. 28, No. 4, 2014, pp. 70-89.  Pomerantsev and Weiss, in their pamphlet attacking Russia, act as if there is no covert intelligence function, but only overt rhetoric involved with ‘democratization NGOs’.  See, Peter Pomerantsev and Michael Weiss, “The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture, and Money,” Institute of Modern Russia, 2014, p. 18.

[75] Tom Perry, Suleiman Al-Khalidi and John Walcott, “Exclusive: CIA-backed aid for Syrian rebels frozen after Islamist attack – sources,” Reuters, February 21, 2017.

[76] Glenn Greenwald, “The Deep State Goes to War with President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer,” The Intercept, January 11, 2017. ; Paul Handley, “Trump’s Russia reset on hold as White House adds anti-Moscow hawks,” Yahoo News, February 25, 2017. ; Joshua Zeitz, “Can the Left Weaponize Russia?Politico, February 7, 2017. ; Steven T. Dennis and Chris Strohm, “GOP Senators Embrace Awkward Russian Probe That Could Hurt Trump,” Bloomberg, February 24, 2017.


2 thoughts on “From Flynn to McMaster: The “Future of War” and the Three Dimensions of Proxies in US Political Warfare

  1. Once again my reporting and analysis is accurate and months ahead of the media.

    Tulsi Gabbard appeared on Tucker Carlson on July 24th to talk about how the Trump administration is ending the CIA operation that is arming Syrian rebels. ( As indicated above, the CIA ended this operation in February. It is in the news now, presumably, because the media wants to blame Trump for doing favors for Putin (abusrd garbage – I wish it was true). My guess is that Flynn set these instructions in motion from when he was in charge.


  2. The Atlantic published a portion of a memo from an NSC staffer McMaster fired (

    “Through the campaign, candidate Trump tapped into a deep vein of concern among many citizens that America is at risk and slipping away. Globalists and Islamists recognize that for their visions to succeed, America, both as an ideal and as a national and political identity, must be destroyed. … Islamists ally with cultural Marxists because, as far back as the 1980s, they properly assessed that the left has a strong chance of reducing Western civilization to its benefit. Having co-opted post-modern narratives as critical points, Islamists will co-opt the movement in its entirety at some future point. (NOTE! Communist take over of Russian revolution against the Czars, N Vietnamese against the South, Maoists against the democratic forces against the Chinese dynasty.)


    As used here, “political warfare’ does not concern activities associated with the American political process but rather exclusively refers to political warfare as understood by the Maoist insurgency model. Political warfare is one of the five components of a Maoist insurgency. Maoist methodologies are described as synchronized violent and non-violent actions. This approach envisions the direct use of non-violent operations arts and tactics as elements of combat power In Maoist insurgencies, the formation of a counter-state is essential to seizing state power. Functioning as a hostile compete state acting within an existing state, it has an alternate infrastructure. Political warfare operates as one of the activities of the “counter-state.” Political warfare uses non-violent methods such as participation that undermines the morale or offers to engage in discussions, as a adjunct to violence. Political warfare methods can be implemented at strategic, operations, or tactical levels of operation.
    Political warfare is warfare. Strategic information campaigns designed to delegitimize through disinformation arise out of non-violent lines of effort in political warfare regimes. They run on multiple lines of operation, support the larger non-violent line of effort, are coordinated with violent lines of effort, and execute political warfare agenda promoting cultural Marxist outcomes. They principally operate through narratives. Because the left is aligned with Islamist organizations at local, national and international levels, recognition should be given to the fact that they seamlessly interoperate through coordinated synchronized interactive narratives … These attacks narratives are pervasive, full spectrum and institutionalized at all levels. They operate in social media, television, the 24-hour news cycle in all media and are entrenched at the upper levels of the bureaucracies …

    Political Warfare has been described as “propaganda in battledress.”

    It appears Trump is losing this battle. He needs people who understand these kinds of intelligence operations. The NSC and the State department are probably central to this campaign against Trump.


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