Carl von Clausewitz was a 19th century Prussian general and military theorist best known for his treatise, “On War,” which is studied by military officers and theoreticians to this very day. Perhaps his most famous quote was, “… War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means,” which has been frequently shortened to, “War is politics by other means.” Perhaps the reverse is true, as well. The Democrats have been on a political war footing since President Trump was inaugurated in January 2017.
By all accounts, the Democrat Party has blurred politics and war, especially this year. At the very least, their practice of politics amounts to a “cold war.” Wargaming is all the rage among Democrats and their media allies this year. As has been discovered during the “Toobin revelations,” Democrats in the media have actually been wargaming potential outcomes of the election. The leftwing Transition Integrity Project had previously war-gamed the election back in July, as reported here. Publicizing these various simulations has been part of their strategy of sowing chaos and warning of major unrest and rioting unless their damaged candidates, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, are elected on 3 November.
Those veiled threats of widespread post-election violence have added weight in the minds of most Americans, given the months of rioting that continues unabated in Democrat-run cities like Seattle, Portland, and Chicago.
The people involved in those riots – Antifa and Black Lives Matter thugs – are for all practical purposes the Democrats’ modern-day equivalent of Adolph Hitler’s Brownshirts – the paramilitary “Storm Troopers” who fought Communist gangs for the control of Germany’s streets from 1920 through 1934.
While the street thugs represent one aspect of the Democrats’ war on America, much of their energies have been focused on “information operations” intended to persuade, fool, brain-wash, and intimidate Americans to support their political objectives (or at least to remain silent for fear of being doxed!).
In DoD’s Joint Publication 3-13, Information Operations, IO is characterized as “the integrated employment … of ‘information-related capabilities’ in concert with other lines of operation to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp the decision making of adversaries and potential adversaries while protecting our own. … The ability to share information in near real-time, anonymously, and/or securely, is a capability that is both an asset and a potential vulnerability to us, our allies, and our adversaries. Information is a powerful tool to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp an adversary’s ability to make and share decisions.” Joint Pub 3-13 further identifies the “cognitive dimension” as the generic “target audience” of well-coordinated info operations:
The cognitive dimension encompasses the minds of those who transmit, receive, and respond to, or act on information. It refers to individuals’ or groups’ information processing, perception, judgment, and decision making. These elements are influenced by many factors, to include individual and cultural beliefs, norms, vulnerabilities, motivations, emotions, experiences, morals, education, mental health, identities, and ideologies.
The Democrats have adopted this doctrine and wage info operations as a major political tactic in their political warfare arsenal. The Democrats use them to sow misinformation and disinformation intertwined with snippets of truth in order to influence public perceptions about current events. Info operations are also used by the Democrats as an element of the military phrase “preparation of the battlespace.” In military terms, preparing the battlespace involves those pre-war activities that facilitate the achievement of the military mission and its objectives. In this context, the Democrats use info ops to prepare Americans (the “target audience”) for the coming “managed destruction” of our constitutional Republic by the Democrat Party once they regain complete political power in Washington, DC. They achieve this by focusing their actions on the cognitive dimension in America.
The target audience within the cognitive dimension on which Democrats are focused includes Americans in general, but most particularly likely voters and influential members of America’s cultural institutions such as Academia, Hollywood, and the Media. And they have been VERY successful in propagating their info operations because, over the years, they have placed Democrat operatives in all of our cultural institutions, as well as in the federal bureaucracy and left-wing nonprofit organizations like Media Matters and ShareBlue. This enables the Democrat National Committee to promote the coordinated circular reporting of narratives in a virtual echo chamber to cement those narratives in the public consciousness. Their goal is to influence the public’s perception of fundamental truths to achieve a desired behavioral outcome. Over the past four years, their desired behavioral outcome has been to undermine public support for President Trump in order to provide political cover for them to remove him from office by any means possible.
Democrat info operations encompass all the main phases of military info operations defined in Joint Pub 3-13: Shape, Deter, Seize the Initiative and Dominate. The Democrats shape the operation by defining and controlling the terms and parameters of the narrative, deter opposition by the nature of the claims made (“the allegations MUST be investigated further” no matter how demonstrably false), seize the initiative through early circular reporting of leaks from unnamed sources, and dominate the discussion through tight coordination among the Democrat-media-Deep State-nonprofit echo chamber.
Here are just a few examples of Democrat info operations, both large and small:
Russia Collusion Hoax
Perhaps the classic case of a Democrat info op during the Age of Trump, illegal Obama administration activities led to a multi-year Russia collusion hoax containing these elements – and many more: FBI leaks to sympathetic media that jumpstarted and perpetuated the false narrative, heavy use of leaks from other “unnamed sources,” circular reporting by media sympathetic to the Democrat narrative, actions by corrupt federal bureaucrats to investigate the false allegations of collusion, overt lies, and sensational false allegations by elected Democrats, and a two-year special counsel investigation perpetrated by that info operation. Thousands of articles have appeared in legacy media outlets covering various aspects of the false allegations, and a New York Times “investigative team” (sic) was awarded a Pulitzer prize in 2018 for the “national reporting” of a hoax that has been completely debunked! While criminal actions of various Deep State players involved in Spygate – the FBI’s counterintelligence operation that was the central element to the Trump-Russia collusion hoax – have been exposed piecemeal over time, the info ops aspect has continued to this very day to the point that perhaps 35 percent of Americans still believe that there was “Trump-Russia collusion” and associated “illegal activity” for which the President has not been held accountable. One underreported success of the hoax operation was to influence and persuade elected Republicans that “Trump was a goner.” This corrupted the decision-making processes of nearly 40 House Republicans into not standing for reelection in 2018. Given that greater than 90% of incumbents are reelected, there is a reasonable probability that the House would not have been flipped to Democrats in 2018. Lastly (and ironically), the Democrats themselves have been used as pawns by the Russians, whose exploitation of the “Russia hoax” resulted in the most successful “dezinformatsiya operation” ever waged against the United States in the history of the Russian Federal Security Service!
Ukraine Abuse of Power/Impeachment
After Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in July 2019 failed to deliver the Democrats’ desired outcome (the legal foundation to impeach the President), the Democrats shifted into the coordinated Ukraine info op. This was virtually a repeat of the template used for the Russia collusion hoax and involved many of the same players, unsourced Deep State leaks to Democrat-friendly media, false accusations by elected Democrats, and circular reporting for months by the media. These were staples of the Democrats’ efforts to influence public opinion during the Ukraine impeachment process with a new feature added – the use of a purported “whistleblower” (who was later exposed as an Obama political operative). This info op failed with the President’s acquittal in the Senate in February 2020, but it succeeded in reinforcing the false beliefs among the Democrat base about President Trump (a secondary objective of the info op).
While the Russia Hoax and the Ukraine Impeachment info operations were the big enchiladas in the Democrats’ campaign to influence public opinion against President Trump, there have many lesser info ops, some of which are ongoing. These are part of the larger Democrat strategy to discredit the President in the eyes of the American voting public at any cost. Here are just a few of them:
Allegations of the payment of “hush money” to former stripper Daniels was endlessly repeated by the usual suspects – elected Democrats and sympathetic media and “media contributors” (Democrats and/or NeverTrumper Republicans). Her defamation lawsuit against the President petered out when she lost her appeal in August. For months, this info op was reported in the Democrat-media echo chamber as a means to separate the President from his support base (if not to hamstring his presidency politically, in general).
A lawsuit by congressional Democrats was filed in 2017 claiming that President Trump had been violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by personally profiting from foreign governments without congressional consent. An info op was built around this lawsuit such that periodic anti-Trump stories that included public statements from elected Democrats about the lawsuit appeared in the legacy media over the ensuing three years of litigation in order to keep the topic in the public consciousness by imputing supposed illegality by the President. On 13 October 2020, the US Supreme Court declined to take up the case, rendering the lawsuit over. However, the lawsuit – first initiated by the virulently anti-Trump Senator “Da Nang Dick” Blumenthal (D-CT) – reinforced the beliefs of many in the Democrat base that “the President is corrupt.”
The left-wing The Atlantic published a hit-piece on the President in early September that claimed the President made “disparaging remarks about the military” during a canceled 2018 trip to a WWII cemetery in France. There was an immediate and well-coordinated media frenzy about the allegations that included condemnation by elected Democrats and public statements by senior Democrat-friendly retired military officers to expand The Atlantic story into a narrative that “disparaging the military” is the President’s general sentiment. When actual participants of the cemetery trip stepped forward to debunk the article and other retired military officers signed a letter endorsing the President’s reelection, the Democrat info op eventually dissipated. Whether veterans were convinced by the op to vote for Biden-Harris remains to be seen.
Democrat attempts to force President Trump to publicly disclose his tax returns have continued throughout his presidency. There is no requirement to do so, but there are Democrat-initiated lawsuits in the process to force their disclosure. The Democrats in the House of Representatives have tried to subpoena the tax returns without success (so far). Fragments of his tax returns have been illegally leaked to the press and then misrepresented, including recently to/by the NY Times, as reported here. CNN has gleefully reported conspiracy theories regarding the leaked returns, too, as noted here. Then, Joe Biden magically released his 2019 taxes in a well-coordinated effort to add further context to the Democrat narrative that “Trump was hiding something.” This Democrat info op has long been focused on exposing alleged tax evasion and other politically damaging actions by the President (never mind the fact that he has been under constant audit by the IRS for a decade). Oddly enough, the leaked tax returns failed to show any debt obligations to Russia’s Alfa Bank, which was a central element to the Russian collusion hoax for years.
Whitmer Kidnapping Plot
The FBI foiled a plot by “militia members” to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) a couple of weeks ago. Whitmer immediately accused President Trump of “inciting the violence” that led to the foiled plot. Because of “militia involvement,” there was an immediate feeding frenzy of false reporting by Democrat-friendly media until it was discovered that the six perpetrators were all anti-Trump leftists and anarchists (except for the FBI informant who instigated the plot from the inside!). That Democrat info op has also faded from the radar screen once the political proclivities of the perpetrators were discovered.
Trump Berates Christian Supporters
Another Democrat info op from The Atlantic in late September involved accusations from “unnamed sources” that the President supposedly mocks and shows contempt for his Christian supporters behind closed doors. This info op went nowhere although the usual anti-Trump media echo chamber reported it without follow-up or substantiation for a couple of weeks.
Hunter Biden Laptop
Although there are many other examples that could be cited, this last example is a horse of a different color because the Democrats are trying to get out ahead of an evolving story that is extremely damaging to Joe Biden. The contents of that laptop – verified by Fox News, One America Network, and others – could destroy the Biden campaign if properly investigated and reported by the legacy media. However, they, the Biden campaign and Democrats, in general, are trying to deep-six the story by not reporting or commenting on it. Although the disgraced Adam Schiff claims that the Hunter Biden emails “came from the Kremlin,” the FBI and DOJ have already debunked that claim, as noted here. Meanwhile, some 50 former members of the intelligence community (all of them being Democrat hacks who don’t have direct access to the associated intelligence!) signed a letter on Monday claiming that the Hunter Biden laptop has “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” as reported by coup-spinner Natasha Bertrand in Politico. This is an evolving Democrat info op to try to save Biden at all costs, but with more emails and files being exposed daily, as well as no denials from the Biden campaign or Joe Biden himself forthcoming, this has “all the classic earmarks of a (failed) Democrat information operation.” [H/T Natasha Bertrand]
The Democrat Party is engaged in a cold war against their political adversaries – classical liberals (nonconformist Democrats), libertarians, conservatives, and Republicans in general. They have been preparing the groundwork for the destruction of our constitutional Republic through the use of highly coordinated information operations – the main tactic in their political warfare campaign to influence American public opinion to support their policy goals and objectives. They have adopted the template of information operations laid out in DoD publications and modified it to suit their specialized applications in the political realm. They have run many large and small information operations during the Age of Trump with varying degrees of success. And they will continue to run more in the future as they attempt to gain total political control of America’s cultural and political institutions.
Stu Cvrk served 30 years in the US Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. An oceanographer and systems analyst through education and experience, Stu is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education. This functions as the key foundation for his political commentary. He threads daily on Twitter on a wide range of political topics, such as the military, foreign policy, government, economics, and world affairs.