A few brief looks at threat related issues, for this week
Framing the threats, in order to prepare for this week’s coming developments
Today I would like to frame the threats that are most dangerous this week. Forming your own narrative around truth, not the narratives of competing interests, is the key to understanding and dealing with threats. When it comes to narrative, we must remember that all narratives are: about meaning, not truth.” This doesn’t mean that solid, ethical and truthful narratives don’t exist, it’s more that opposing narratives skew truth for their own purposes. We cannot find solutions to our threat issues without building and sharing, narratives that tell truth and most critically, the meaning of those truths. For more on this, please see the embedded link.
To better understand the above, see the quote below:
“We are not in conflict over information, we are in conflict, over the meaning of information.”
Dr. Ajit Maan
CEO/ Founder of Narrative Strategies
While that we have several critical national security threats to deal with, today I briefly focus on recent news that I believe are of the most serious concern based on this week’s news.
By now, everyone knows that Xi’s China is a serious threat to not only the US, but the entire global order, economically, militarily and far more. Xi’s aggression takes multiple forms but the following three points best define his strategy to achieve regional hegemony by 2035 and global hegemony by 2049. This is not a pipe dream for him and any further success he may have, jeopardizes us all. I wrote a very long research paper on this a couple of years ago, based on 4,500 years of narrative analysis. Rather than repeating, I’ll simply share the link here. The highlights show three primary tactics Xi utilizes against… the entire world, including his so-called friends and allies”
This is the one paragraph version of his narrative of ascension:
The world, All-Under-Heaven, is one, with China / the “Middle Kingdom” at the center, and at the pinnacle, is an Emperor or “Son of Heaven”, the sole interface with heaven with no peer. The Han are the “enlightened”while everyone outside is “barbarian” and seeking a tributary relationship with enlightened China for commerce and protection. Those who do not voluntarily seek tributary status, must be persuaded or conquered militarily. This will unify All-Under-Heaven under the Chinese paradigm of world order.
The thing about in-depth narrative analysis is that when done professionally, it reveals with high accuracy, what will occur. There is no doubt that Xi will pursue his China Dream conquests, by all means possible. The world is opposing his conquest a couple of decades too late but his success is not sure. Xi has proved nearly flawless in making terrible strategic decisions. Still, in the absence of a serious and unified strategy to address the most dangerous aspects of his behavior, Xi is beating himself. This may not last, especially in light of his unity with Putin’s Russia and India’s backhanded support to Putin.
The threat is that two of the globe’s biggest economies, China and India are partially working together to help Putin evade sanctions and to supply him with the cash he needs to continue his genocidal aggression against Ukraine.
Secretary Blinken’s meetings with the Chinese foreign ministry the past few days don’t represent much progress, other than reopening dialogue between the US and China. It is Xi, not the West that has closed down communications for the most part. Xi hides behind his “Great Wall” while continuing to abuse Chinese citizens, regional neighbors and any human being that gets in his way.
Don’t get me wrong, US dedication to reopening conversations with Xi’s China is important, critically so. We must though be realists. Narrative analysis doesn’t lie when done professionally. Xi has not nor will change his agenda and will always default to using any tactic, strategies or other bludgeons of influence to get his way.
Employing a well-honed, narrative-centric campaign of actions and words that pushes back on Xi’s behavior, are key to supporting what China’s economy provides to the world, while simultaneously thwarting Xi’s immoral behavior. It’s not a US thing but rather a combined effort by nations that respect the rules of law, policies and norms, that will make the difference.
Bottom line: Bravo to Secretary Blinken and those who supported this effort in Beijing, but no one should see any reduction in Xi’s threat. Like the old saying’ “a leopard never changes its spots.” This first step in what we hope will be a general thaw, is a minute baby step that will require great diligence, if we are to see a second step.
Russia’s mounting impotency in Ukraine
We are now a couple of weeks into Ukraine’s offensive against Russian occupying forces. The fighting is brutal and both sides are taking, difficult to sustain losses, but it is Russia who is losing ground, slowly. Still, the majority of Ukraine’s forces are held in reserve waiting for the right opportunity to exploit the holes in Russian defenses. Those opportunities are beginning to present themselves. There will be more. Ukraine will also have some surprises in store for the Russian troops, dying in droves for a soulless Putin desperate for an unattainable victory.
Putin‘s narratives justifying his genocidal invasion are devoid of substance, and success. He knows it, the army knows it and the Russian people largely know it. Putin’s survival hangs in the balance. It’s what’s happens when authoritarian leaders show weakness. The sharks circle.
Even with Xi’s support which is measured, is not enough. Money, logistics and weapons cannot help an army devoid of purpose, training, supply and effective leadership. Even worse for Putin is that he has clearly demonstrated that it is he, not Xi who is the now junior partner in the Russian/ Chinese relationship. In mafia-like terms, Putin now “owes Xi a big favor.” This is the threat that the world must be most cautious of.
As noted above, Russian and Chinese collaboration on any level is a threat to global stability. Add to this the lukewarm complicity of the Indian economy under Modi, and this makes this threat even more concerning. While that the US national security community seems to be fairly enamored of India’s potential as a partner to mitigate China’s ascension, Modi’s behavior is less inspiring. Although India claims, unconvincingly to be “non-aligned,” it is actions that betray truth, not words.
What Putin must be concerned about, besides his own vulnerability is that NATO and other allies and partners globally, have spoken with their actions. There is unity of actions to sustain Ukraine’s victory. Despotism that threatens global stability, is no longer accepted. Xi has gotten this message loud and clear. Modi, still attempting to juggle both, is slowly slipping in his ironclad hold on India. All three are brutal human rights abusers, inequitable and untrustworthy commercial partners, and combined have the potential to cooperate in what would predictably be, the most significant challenge to democracy since WW II.
Staying the course against Putin will also be powerful in also mitigating Xi’s threat. Modi, happy to keep his options open, regardless of the oppressive violence required by his Hindutva-underpinned, BJP political party, may also finally get the message too. My professional opinion regarding India, is best described as, “trust but verify.”
Bottom line: beat the Russian hordes into submission. Beat them so soundly that they are no value to Putin or to Xi’s strategy of global domination.
Finally, the Trump indictment and its connection to enabling Putin
Our nation is all abuzz with the Trump indictment and arraignment. Like his 2016 and 2020 election campaigns, Russia is again a player in the massive mis and disinformation campaigns designed to enable Trump while concurrently disrupting the competition. It is no secret by now that Russian assistance is not only verified but is now a significant part of the RWE, right-wing-extremist ideology of the MAGA movement. As I have written often and with a mountain of verifiable evidence, US RWE ideology is largely the same as Putin exports around the world. The severity comes also in that he also exports tactics of malign influence along with the content.
So long as this homegrown violent extremism is left unaddressed, it enables Putin in the sense that, the MAGA dominated GOP is not favorable to sustaining Ukrainian support. At best, they have signaled that even if they continue to support, it will be at a minimum level that prevents Ukraine from succeeding.
If the US falters in support to Ukraine, the first two threats mentioned above, become more acute. It’s not any one threat that will destroy Western Liberal democracy but the combined threat of Putin and Xi, with ambiguous Indian support that would change all global stability. The surest way to start WW III is to not shut down Putin so that he’s useless to China or India.
Russian and American RWE extremism’s combined threat is destroying the unity of our nation. Without this unity, the US House of Representatives under MAGA control, holds the keys to Ukrainian support. The most basic problem with leaving RWE ideology unaddressed is that so long as it exists and has power, our nation cannot lead globally, with the vigor and resources required to put Russian aggression out of commission.
The US and much of the world, including our allies unified to fight Islamic extremism, but largely ignores the most significant threat to US domestic security, RWE.
The bottom line to all three of these interwoven threats is that unity, based on US and global values, is the key to keeping us and the globe safe. So long as citizens don’t hold extremists accountable, regardless of ideology, the threats discussed today have the potential to be a series of dominoes falling. When the last domino falls… democracy is the victim globally. Of course, this is a worst case scenario, but it is also well grounded in evidence. The US, like it or not owes the globe leadership. We don’t do this exclusively for ourselves either. The global leadership role is one we asked for. We must honor our commitment to ourselves and the world. There is no room for the fake patriotism of the MAGA crowds. They are not patriots. They are divisive purveyors of extremist ideology that benefits our adversaries, most pointedly, Putin.
The answer is simple; US citizens must not only agree to unify over our values, but we must take the actions to prove we are in fact acting on them. If we can do this, the rest falls in line.
Best for your week everyone,