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Without a core, shared, national identity, there is no national security.
Everything else, is built on the foundation of our values
Threats to our national identity as Americans, based on our founding principles, frames every single thing we do in support of our national security. Today’s TAT uses three of today’s headlines as examples of undermining that foundation.
“Judge says Fox News has 'credibility problem' after Murdoch disclosure | Reuters.”
Texas Senate gives first OK to bill that limits teaching political beliefs | The Texas Tribune
Since the Trump era, I have been exceptionally disturbed and concerned about the willful erosion of our national identity. With nukes, war, pandemic, cyber-attacks and so many other threats, you are probably wondering how I came to this unusual claim. This is a very complex topic so I will talk in examples and with context in order to convey the danger we are in should we choose to allow one of our two major parties, to continue redefining, our national values.
First, while the US national security community talks a great deal about resilience, they refuse to understand the actual concept. Like everything else in our NSS, resilience revolves around being able to ethically and honestly be persuasive at home, or abroad. In fact, the community at-large refuses to even accept anything but decades long, failed thinking about persuasion, whether in war, competition or otherwise. I have written on this topic often. Today though, we must look at the key component of persuasion, influence and yes, national security.
The bullet points below are some of my previous works, regarding the US national security community’s failure to support decades of national security with ethical influence:
The US National Security community is incapable of managing mis/ disinformation threats (truthaboutthreats.com) (truthaboutthreats.com)
FOX NEWS is a national security threat. - by Paul Cobaugh (truthaboutthreats.com)
Combat ineffective, the rusted, broken hulk of US Influence Operations (truthaboutthreats.com)
A lesson about "shaping" the Russian and Ukrainian battlefield. (truthaboutthreats.com)
So, our NSS, National Security Strategy is written as the narrative of US national security that explains our most prominent threats, what our intentions are towards them and relevant to today’s TAT, the American Values that inspire and sustain our efforts against those threats. The short and simple explanation is that the NSS tells us what we must protect ourselves from, based on “who we are as a nation.”
Now, specializing in Narrative Warfare, I fully understand that our national identity is key to both protecting us at home and projecting the values, that Americans have always held sacred… until the Trump era. In fact, protecting those common values are what bolsters our resilience, far more than any other element. You might say that unity over actual, not fake American values are an inoculation against adversarial mis/ disinformation that compromises the key to our immunity.
There are plenty of similar terms to “resilience.” The military often talks about, “will-to-fight.” That specific “will” is built on the bedrock of our national values and the core values so often preached by leadership. People talk about, moral courage and intestinal fortitude too, all with a long list of other phrases and words, describing much the same. Most cover certain aspects of resilience and together, they describe exactly the point I am making today about our failing resilience based on miss-disinformation at the hands of adversaries, both foreign and domestic.
The three articles listed at the beginning of today’s post revolve around one of our only two major parties, attempting to change the definition of our national, hence resilient values. As a professional influencer, I know that redefinition of these basic US values and human values shared with our allies like NATO are the glue and inspiration for defense of these values. Those attempting to redefine them are doing so only, for their own selfish quest for power. This should tell you clearly, that defense of those values from the threats attempting to change them means that they are attacking our nation.
So, in a democracy it is accepted that there will always be debate about the interpretation of our values and over centuries, the redefining comes from democratic debate and the processes of our government. It should never be allowed by threats like Russia working in conjunction with political parties and select politicians around the world. The ongoing far-right wave campaign against the RBIO, rules based international order works tirelessly to insert fake values into our national narrative. In the case of the US, it is the current version of the GOP that is a witting partner of the disseminators of far-right extremism, largely centered on false narratives from Putin.
If you would listen to FOX News, Trump, DeSantis, Greg Abbott and the endless array of other MAGA leaders and their base, they will tell you directly that everyone is wrong about the interpretations of our values by our founders. If you listened to them long enough to become a Pavlovian follower, you too are a threat. At the moment, my professional opinion is that the MAGA hordes are largely, irredeemable. I have a long history in CT, counterterrorism and have participated in and developed strategies to reintegrate extremists back into society, safely. Other strategies globally, and those I have had input into, have a very poor record on recidivism.
Let’s look at a couple of far-right extremism values, that do not reflect American values. For these examples, I will use the articles at the beginning of the article:
“Judge says Fox News has 'credibility problem' after Murdoch disclosure | Reuters.”
When FOX News, willfully and dangerously lied to the American people about the big lie and attacked Dominion voting machines, I believe that their regular newscasts were Seditious and helped substantially, to incite the armed rebellion against the United States, January 6th, 2021. Their broadcasts framed the coup attempt in false values and conspiracy theories about true American values. FOX was and still is tapping into their audience’s identity that they have helped curate for the entire time that they have been on the air.
Some of those fake values:
Christian nationalism, as preached by traitors like Mike Flynn and never disputed by the GOP, is the foundation of our nation and our founding values. There’s nothing at all wrong with being a Christian nor any other religious belief, even atheism but constitutionally, none take precedence. This makes Christian Nationalism anti-American when pushed as an alternative to US values.
Believing that guns are as an important a piece of our patriotic heritage, as the Stars and Stripes, is inane and any simple read of our Second Amendment shows this clearly. Gun access is clearly indicated to be in support of a, “well-regulated militia.” Paintings of the Revolutionary war period of American history show guns in pursuit of our liberty, but you will notice that this issue is mostly minor at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. They were focused on the highest ethical standards and protecting them, not waving assault rifles in public and using them to murder innocent citizens. Today’s GOP would have you think that a bunch of overweight, white men running around with guns, wearing camo is patriotic. The truth is, precious few of them served their nation in uniform due to cowardliness and selfishness.
What should terrify everyone, is that citizens, so easily duped by adversarial propaganda are the ones walking around with guns when there is no earthly reason. Adversaries like Russia have long fed social divisions with all manner of divisive ideology and encouraged violent confrontation between different elements of US society.
A racial caste system is being preached, day in and day out by the far right. Here in Texas, with a long history of being under Department of Justice restrictions because of discriminatory voting practices, only saw relief under the Trump administration. As soon as they were free of oversight, the TX GOP went right back to their Jim Crow roots with SB 1 which is already being investigated by DOJ.
As in one of the introductory articles, it discusses the issue of abortion access and all the American values that the GOP wishes to shuttle aside in order to have, “their way.” We must remember that people and organizations are what they do, not what they say. Those schooled in our true founding principles would recognize that the issue of abortion is a tactic to impose the GOP’s un-American values of Christian Nationalism on everyone.
Make no mistake about it, the SCOTUS decision last year was the imposition of their religious values on all Americans. I’m not going to argue the merits of abortion here because for me, it’s about upholding the constitutional freedom from any religion imposing their theology or ideology on all of us.
If one looked closely at the GOP’s current ideology, it is closer aligned with Putin, than the US values. In fact, the GOP largely gave Putin free rein in the world under Trump and in other ways, still. Look no further than their intentions to defund Ukraine support or trim it excessively. Their support to sellout our Kurdish allies in Syria and hand over the oil, to Putin. The support the GOP Congress gave to Putinish thugs like Kim Jong Un, Modi, Bolsonaro, Sisi, Erdogan and their marriage to Viktor Orban’ in Hungary, are actually endangered the US, by aligning the fake values of MAGA with those of the named rabid populists, globally. They all share many of the same oppressive narratives.
If we continue to have significant portions of America voting for extremism values, there is no way to rally America around our true values. A former and long-standing American value was to rally around the flag in the face of an outside threat. A very bad omen regarding the sanctity of common US values is how the GOP ignored the mountain of evidence showing the Trump campaign and administration’s collective values with Putin’s. This still exists. That most in the GOP, still refuse to acknowledge truth means that no outside threat can be addressed with unity.
Whether we call it, brainwashing, reflexive control, Pavlovian or any other term, allowing professional and unethical influencers to maintain, Svengali-like control over roughly a third of the US voting population, is the most significant threat to US national security. Again, I use Texas as an example. The legislative sessions in Texas, controlled exclusively for 28 years, spends roughly 80-90 percent of their time on culture wars. They do this to shape the identity of the voting Republicans to their extremist ideology.
People naturally become wedded to their political parties in the US, like most identify with their college or pro football teams. It’s human nature to tribalize but there are limits when subtribes like political parties, replace national values with their own immoral and anti-American values. When immoral influencers get involved, they cement the new identity with dishonesty and conspiracy theories. Yes, all parties try to build and sustain their base but it’s a direct threat when the ideology they are solidifying, is that sponsored and supported by US and allied adversaries like Putin.
The last time the world went through this trend was just prior to and including WW II. No one in a foxhole during WW II ever doubted what they were fighting for and why. One major difference was that the Allies, fought for shared moral values. The Axis was fighting for fascism.
One of the primary faults I find these days with the Department of Homeland Security and other domestic national security entities is that they don’t lift a finger to deal with mis and disinformation that undermines our national resilience, in any intelligent or effective manner. They ridiculously believe that there is an exclusive CYBER answer. This is willful ignorance if they ever listened to professionals with real-world experience.
You cannot protect your core values without sustained campaigning, that uses narrative principles to build resilience to enemy and un-American propaganda. In their absence, we must do this ourselves. There is a lot of work to do. Schools cannot be restricted from teaching US history as they are in Texas and other red states. Schools must keep religion outside their purview unless private. Schools, especially in places like Texas, Florida, Missouri and other red states are denying all the founders’ admonitions to create a well and accurately informed citizenry.
The assault on gender is a global, far-right narrative that the GOP in Texas uses to harm children and sentence families to suffering. Like abortion, this is a personal decision, and both are due access to healthcare. Eliminating access to anything is illegal if based on discrimination. Targeting gender, abortion, civil rights etc. is state-sponsored abuse of US citizens, and our constitutional rights.
Just imagine if Russia had attacked the US with something other than influence operations in 2016. Would all of America rallied to protect us from an outside aggressor? Not since the Civil War would I have entertained the idea that our founding values would be ignored… until Trump and his lemming-like followers, falsely considering themselves patriots.
Yes America, those sometimes corny but ever-present values are the heart of our security. Denying them puts us all at risk. Allowing extremists to redefine them with extremist ideology increases that risk. If the USG remains cowardly and fails to create a narrator/ audience relationship with the American people or if part of Congress won’t do their job and keeps forbidding DHS to do theirs, we are placing our nation at its worst risk, since 1865.
If we are to ever rally round our flag as a unified nation again, fake values must go. Until then, every aggressor around the world, knows that we are weaker than at any time since the Civil War.