Foreign Policy magazine has posted an article that cogently highlights the role that Russian influence operations will likely play in the future, given success in their current invasion of Ukraine. As the article points out, Russia’s most significant asset will be any domestic division either in Europe or the United States:
Russia’s asset will be any source of domestic division or disruption in Europe or in Europe’s transatlantic partners. Here Russia will be proactive and opportunistic. If a pro-Russian movement or candidate shows up, that candidate can be encouraged directly or indirectly. If an economic or political sore point diminishes the foreign policy efficacy of the United States and its allies, it will be a weapon for Russian propaganda efforts and for Russian espionage. Much of this is already happening. But a war in Ukraine will up the ante. Russia will use more resources and be unchained in its choice of instruments. The massive refugee flows arriving in Europe will exacerbate the EU’s unresolved refugee policy and provide fertile ground for populists. The holy grail of these informational, political, and cyberbattles will be the 2024 presidential election in the United States. Europe’s future will depend on this election. The election of Donald Trump or of a Trumpian candidate might destroy the transatlantic relationship at Europe’s hour of maximum peril, putting into question NATO’s position and its security guarantees for Europe.
The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported earlier on Russian influence operations centered on Ukraine, which an EU disinformation watchdog called “ever more detached from reality, and at times cartoonishly unhinged.”
In recent months, the Global Influence Operations Report has extensively covered Russian disinformation operations targeting Ukraine. We will continue to monitor developments as this extraordinary event unfolds.
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