November 26, 2016

Internet Wizard's Chess: weapons, economics, now Russia scores with Google/Facebook

Are we living now in the world of  "Internet Wizard's Chess"?

Ah. The game of the cold war, east versus west. CIA, James Bond movies and the KGB.
Nuclear arsenals, and submarines, fighter jets and moon landings and aircraft carriers. That was the fighting competition from the 50's into the 80's.

Then, economics caught up to a false Russian economy, and corruption, when Afghanistan and trying to keep up with NATO technology required money that Russia did not have.
The CCCP (USSR) lost out in an economic fashion, not from any traditional combat. Competition, was no longer  just about who has the biggest bombs. Turmoil, and still quite a bit of corruption in the modern Russian economy, lingers from the new ruling class that got hold of Russia's resources, in particular oil and gas.

But President Putin, a former KGB man, already knew a lot about the power of mis-information. The game of internet wizard's chess? Patience. Russians have been very good at this for decades. The art of planting tempting seeds and letting the West water them into real growing plants.
Very clever. Why build expensive weapons of the past, or worry about actually being behind the US on some technical front?

Sputnik floated around in orbit, a simple radio signal. The West imagined and feared space weapons. The first man in space, Yuri, was quite brave. He did not have a real fully functional pressure suit and his capsule had a single layer hull. Skip the technology, take a gamble, and first human in space was from Russia.

The Russian incursion into the Ukraine was full of denial and information manipulation, and now President Putin has had the last laugh and used social media, the Internet, the most modern part of the new American economy to sow fake news and to mess with American's trust in their own democratic institutions. No weapons required, just feed a Western audience social media and conspiracy theory news, add some embarrassing computer hacks (on one side of the political fence). Suddenly, down home, main street, Americans start to fight each other in an almost civil internet-war. Each side representing the extremes of liberals and conservatives and they start to fear each other. Everyone forgets about any problem from outside the USA.

Mr. Putin and Russia's version of 60 Minutes, are giggling now about how two-million more Americans can cast a vote for Clinton but Mr Trump becomes president.

Check out a very thoughtful article on this Russian influence from the Washington Post. Maybe, just maybe, liberals and conservatives share one thing in common. They just lost the latest game of internet Wizard's chess with Russia, and it happened right through their own iPhones and Android devices. Harry Potter or Harry Putin? :)

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