Is This World War III?

If You Don’t Understand We’re At War, You Haven’t Been Paying Attention

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Image Credit: Sergey Bobok

Is this the beginning of World War III? The answer to that question goes like this: no, it’s closer to the middle. Maybe about a third of the way through, to be accurate. World War III began quite a while ago, and not nearly enough attention was paid, because part of the point was subterfuge, to unravel our societies in a hidden, covert manner.

If we think about war in modern terms, World War III is what’s called a “hybrid war.” That means it’s not just about guns, but about information. Not even just cyberwar, but propaganda, disinformation, misinformation, about taking societies apart while they’re not even aware of it.

The three stages of this World War go like this. One, destabilization. Two, local war. Three, world war. And we’re at the end of stage one, at the beginning of stage two. That is why I say we’re about a third of the way into World War III.

This is the point that journalist Carol Cadwalladr recently made on Twitter: “I think we may look back on this as the first Great Information War. Except we’re already 8 years in. The first Great Information War began in 2014. The invasion of Ukraine is the latest front. And the idea it doesn’t already involve us is fiction, a lie.”

Let’s take each of these phases one by one, so you really understand what is playing out on the geopolitical stage today — and what comes next.

Do you remember the story of the Trojan Horse? Troy accepted it as a gift, knowing full it shouldn’t have — because it was a gift to their gods, fine and beautiful. It was made irresistible by the Greeks. A Trojan horse was delivered to our societies in the West — one that glittered, too. It was made of Russian money, Russian oil, resources, finances. And we accepted it, without a second thought.

That was just after the fall of the USSR, as Putin came to power, in the late 2000s or so. What happened next? Our societies in the West began to destabilize, badly. A new far right movement began to emerge. It gained power and ascended in influence. Where had it come from? Nobody could quite say. And yet it spoke literally the language of Putin’s philosophers — figures like Dugin and Ilyin, who called for a “planetary confrontation” against “globalists” and spoke of the soil belonging to the pure of blood and true of faith.

This new far right movement had seemingly emerged from nowhere all across the West. From America to Britain to France and beyond. Mighty coincidence, no? An even bigger coincidence that it spoke the literal language of Putinism. An even bigger coincidence that it deployed the Kremlin’s Orwellian “firehose” model of propaganda: gaslight reality, turn it inside out, call the peaceful people the Nazis and fascists, call freedom the enemy of peace, bombard innocent people with those messages a million times a day on Facebook and Twitter. Carpet-bomb them with the inversion of reality — War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength — until their weary minds, baffled, finally gave out…and gave in.

What a coincidence. Of course, it was no coincidence at all. That the far right had suddenly emerged in the West all at once, in unison, like a choir of idiocy. That hate had begun to proliferate like a pandemic, and a kind of bilious populist rage was shaking the foundations of the Western world. That it used tactics from a literal Kremlin propaganda manual. As we know now, all this was funded, financed, organized, and coordinated by Russia.

But back then? The West was still innocent. That the first stages of World War III were beginning. Instead of worrying about these obvious links, the West still revelled in the easy money oligarchs gave it, as they bought up entire districts like Mayfair and Chelsea, and straddled Cannes and Nice in their superyachts. The West was still seduced by how the Trojan horse glittered and shone — even as the soldiers poured out.

What happened next? The attacks began. The big ones. All the disinformation and propaganda that was by now being poured across the West like a great toxic oil slick had a point. And now Russia smiled, and flicked a match.

It interfered in a US Presidential election. It hacked Hillary’s emails — this is a fact, a real one — and leaked them. The US media, credulous, fell for it. Meanwhile, at the same time, Russia had backed Trump, literally elevating him as a national security priority in perhaps its biggest intelligence operation ever, coordinated across all its spy agencies. Don’t believe me? Don’t remember? Let’s review the leaked Kremlin memo.

“‘It is acutely necessary to use all possible force to facilitate [Trump’s] election to the post of US president…This would help bring about Russia’s favoured ‘theoretical political scenario.’ A Trump win ‘will definitely lead to the destabilisation of the US’s sociopolitical system’ and see hidden discontent burst into the open, [the leaked memo] predicts.”

“After the meeting, according to a separate leaked document, Putin issued a decree setting up a new and secret interdepartmental commission. Its urgent task was to realise the goals set out in the “special part” of document No 32–04 \ vd.

“Members of the new working body were stated to include Shoigu, Fradkov and Bortnikov. Shoigu was named commission chair. The decree — ukaz in Russian — said the group should take practical steps against the US as soon as possible. These were justified on national security grounds and in accordance with a 2010 federal law, 390-FZ, which allows the council to formulate state policy on security matters.

“According to the document, each spy agency was given a role. The defence minister was instructed to coordinate the work of subdivisions and services. Shoigu was also responsible for collecting and systematising necessary information and for ‘preparing measures to act on the information environment of the object.’”

Conclusion?

“Putin has repeatedly denied accusations of interfering in western democracy. The documents seem to contradict this claim.They suggest the president, his spy officers and senior ministers were all intimately involved in one of the most important and audacious espionage operations of the 21st century: a plot to help put the ‘mentally unstable’ Trump in the White House.

“The papers appear to set out a route map for what actually happened in 2016.

“A matter of weeks after the security council meeting, GRU hackers raided the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and subsequently released thousands of private emails in an attempt to hurt Clinton’s election campaign.”

We have actual evidence that all this happened. It’s not some kind of fantasy scenario.

Russia interfered in an American Presidential Election. That is a major, major attack. It is an act of war for a sovereign nation to do something like that, to try to literally install a puppet leader. To try and unravel a democracy. It is an attack on a society’s critical systems, just like, for example, attacking its water supply or food supply or dropping a bomb on its power systems — because democracy, of course, is a critical system to us in the West.

And yet nothing happened. Nothing much has still happened. And I’m leaving aside the obvious — which is that Fox News and such far right organizations are all obvious means of Russian “firehose” propaganda, too.

Can you imagine what should have happened? Having seen that our literally leadership and democracies were under serious and critical attack, we should have, in the West, done all this then — all the sanctions on the oligarchs, all the cutting of business ties, all the elimination of Russian money and influence from our societies. Had we done that then, Ukraine — and the rest of us — might not be in this position now.

At the same time, just as Trump was being elevated in a literal Russian intelligence operation, coordinated across all its spy agencies, another major attack was taking place. Brexit. The objective of this attack was to split Britain from the West, and reduce it to a pale shadow of a world power. It was to use hate and rage to divide it, scapegoating Europe. We have evidence that Russian money backed Brexit — and at the time, plenty pointed out that it was sold to British people literally, again, using Russia’s “firehose” model of propaganda.

Reality was turned inside out. Gentle Europeans, Britain’s longtime allies and friends, were painted as everything from selfish to vain to cruel and stupid warmongers and worse. The average Brit was told obvious lies like they’d receive hundreds of millions of pounds a week. From who? For what? Or that Britain would be able to strike trade deals like some kind of glorious empire. With who? For what? Today, in reality, even America’s turned Britain down, and it’s having to go, hat in hand, to individual states in America, begging for some morsel of trade.

And yet because these Big Lies were bombarded at Brits a million times a day on Facebook and Twitter…enough of them fell into a kind of delusional mania, a frenzy of rage and hate…at their European neighbours.

Who was the obvious beneficiary of this? Russia. To split Britain up from the EU and NATO was to weaken in the West in critical ways. And yet, just like Trump’s rigged elevation to power, astonishingly, all this was allowed to proceed without much of a second thought.

Russia hadn’t just interfered in an American Presidential election. Now it had interfered in a European referendum. In a referendum that was to decide the future of EU-British relations for a lifetime. It had attacked that referendum, and turned it inside out, manipulating its result to its own end.

Britain was even more clueless than America — because the Trojan Horse glittered that much more brightly, the oligarchs pouring money into London, buying football clubs, snatching up fine country mansions. Britain needed the money. It looked the other way. And Russia wrecked its future.

Interestingly, just as Americans still don’t want to admit, by and large, that Russia installed Trump, even though the literal evidence is right there before them, so too Brits are reluctant to admit Brexit was essentially Russia’s creation. Denial is a powerful drug, and nobody wants to admit they were made a fool of.

But that is exactly what happened, and worse. Russia attacked the West. In major, spectacular fashion. It literally shaped the future of the West for a decade, and we are still feeling the effects of its success at manipulating us. It corroded us from the inside. To install an American President and split Britain from the EU? It’s the single greatest intelligence feat in history — since the Trojan Horse — twice over.

This was the destabilisation phase of the war. And of course this was war. Coordinated attacks like this, on the West’s key leaders, America and Britain? Today, Britain is a laughingstock — but it wasn’t so long ago. Coordinated attacks like that, major ones, aimed at destroying a society’s critical systems, which in the West’s case aren’t just food or water or energy but democracy, are war. Russia was declaring war on us — but we were too seduced by its Trojan horse to even notice.

The truth, sadly, is that we are still destabilized. Look at America — Americans might support Ukraine. But millions upon millions of them believe in the Big Lies that the election was “stolen” from Trump. Every indication is that they’ll back him in the next election. And then what? Boris might talk a good game — but he’s still compromised, as is his party, by Russian influence and money. They still back Brexit ardently. How much unity is ever really possible between Britain and Europe again? In the long run? Trade is still at a standstill. Brits, many of them, still despise Europeans. Relations are still soured, and both sides don’t trust each other.

The truth, sadly, is that we are still destabilized. Look at America — Americans might support Ukraine. But millions upon millions of them believe in the Big Lies that the election was “stolen” from Trump. Every indication is that they’ll back him in the next election. And then what? Boris might talk a good game — but he’s still compromised, as is his party, by Russian influence and money. They still back Brexit ardently. How much unity is ever really possible between Britain and Europe again? In the long run? Trade is still at a standstill. Brits, many of them, still despise Europeans. Relations are still soured, and both sides don’t trust each other.

Destabilization. We are living its consequences. Our societies might be coming together to support Ukraine, and that’s a good feeling. But just think of two weeks ago. How bitterly divided we were — over everything, from Covid to elections to finances. Think of how crazy and ambitious and deluded our right wings had become — bilious with rage, openly supremacist. That is where we were, and are in the long term. Russia’s destabilisation worked.

And it is betting that as the costs of war become apparent to us — inflation, fewer resources, shortages, turmoil, refugees — we will break.

That brings to this phase. Local war. Russia’s attacked Ukraine. You can see how this works. In the beginning, it made some mistakes. A sense of hope dawned. Now it is going for all out war. Cluster bombs and thermobaricweapons are fired on civilians. Putin is happy to go full Assad on his neighbours and cousins, to reduce Ukraine to Syria.

Why is he doing that? Is he “crazy,” as our own intelligence analysts wonder? No, he isn’t crazy. He’s making an example of Ukraine. He is warning: this is what happens if you resist. Total devastation. Crimes against humanity. Cluster bombs and being burned alive.

Why is he sending that warning? Well, why did he spend decades trying to destabilise the West?

Both of those critical facts are telling you something even more critical: he’s not going to stop here.

You don’t spend a decade or more taking the risk of destabilising nations like America and Britain for nothing. You don’t even to do it to win Ukraine. You only do that if you want to go much, much further than that. To build an empire. That is exactly what Putin has already told us he wants to do, in his speech declaring war on Ukraine — and his “brains,” like Dugin, have told us that many times before. Dugin speaks of a “planetary confrontation.”

That means a world war.

Putin is using Ukraine as a warning. He is making an example of it for a reason. You don’t make examples of a nation or use it as a warning if you don’t plan to go further. This point should be clearly understood. He is trying to teach the world — and the rest of the former Soviet Union, and Europe in particular — this is what happens if you resist. Total war. Civilian death on a mass scale. It’s better for you to submit.

Putin sending that warning is a clear sign that he is quite happy to go to the next phase — world war. He won’t stop at Ukraine. But will he test NATO’s borders? Making an example of Ukraine is meant to send to exactly that message.

Putin is warning us that nothing matters to him. Nothing. Not innocent lives on our side. Not lives on his side. Not his economy, not his oligarchs, not their fortunes, not public opinion. Nothing. The only thing that matters to him is his goal. His goal is to establish a Third Reich for Russia, which stretches into the heart of Central Europe. That empire is a fascist one. Just as his favourite thinker Ilyin, a Christian Fascist called for. It is a spear aimed at the heart of a decadent, “globalist” West, as his “brain” Dugin wants. The aim of that empire is to destroy us.

Yes. This is World War III.

Think of World War II for a moment. What if we’d stopped Hitler at the Anschluss or the Sudetenland? History would have been different. The thing we call World War II now might not have ever happened at all. So what would we have called all that, then? Hitler’s War? Germany’s Invasion Period? Something like that, maybe.

The same thing is happening now. This is World War III. The hybrid war started long ago, major attacks on the West literally tearing its leading democracies to shreds, ripping Britain away from the EU, reducing America to a failed state led by a puppet. The next phase of the war — local war, military war — is starting. After that will come the phase of military world war. Hitler will continue invading Europe — sorry, I mean Putin — from Estonia to Latvia to Poland. NATO will have to step in. Russia will use it’s tactical “backpack” nukes. NATO will be obliged to respond. It will escalate out of control.

And yet if we stop it here, history might not call it World War III. It might just call it “Putin’s Fall.”

We must learn the lesson now, finally, once and for all. The Trojan horse is a legend of history for a reason. No society should be foolish enough to accept a gift from another which has committed to end its very existence, no matter how such a gift glitters and shines. It will only contain the poisons of war, death, and ruin.

We made the same mistake Troy did. And we are paying the price, just like it did. Soldiers are pouring out. Weapons are reducing our cities to ruin.

This is war, my friends.

It has been for more than a decade now.

You are going to be part of it, too, soon enough, whether you like it or not.

Because in this war? We are all going to have to choose a side, and fight for it.

And at this juncture, it’s super important to be aware of what really happened. To us. To the West. We were destabilizedThat was the first phase of what was to become a brewing World War. Because just as the propaganda and disinformation had a point — destabilization, so too, the destabilisation itself had a point.

Umair Haque

March 4, 2022