Stop Playing Second Fiddle to External Subversives!

NewsBharati    28-Jul-2021   
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Internal subversion is the root cause of rise and fall of dynasties - Mauryans, Guptas, Pandyas, Cheras, Cholas, Cherans, Khiljis, Tughluqs, Mughals, Vijayanagar among many others that were accentuated by external subversion invoking policies of divide and rule. Some of their remnants and relics serve as signals for posterity. Wake up internal subversives lest backlash consumes you too!

What strategy can pay dividends to counter particularly internal subversion? Can India - a “Soft State” – manage the crisis proliferation due to internal subversion abetted by external subversion?

“A known enemy is better than unknown friend” and “A Thousand unknown known enemies are better than one unknown Traitor” are the two quotes relevant to India’s internal crisis envelopment. Key lesson of Mankind’s history is “None learn from its lessons”. Never have Indians learnt from its many key lessons. They forget that not only “History repeats itself”, but it swings inexorably up and down.

The inherited legacy or lesson of India’s history include: Intrigue, treachery and corruption. For example, the two epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata – are glaring reflection of the most heinous internal subversion in pursuit of power. Furthermore, “No Holds Barred power struggles” from within provide opportunities to external forces to exploit and assert their dominance. Foreign invaders – Muslims and British took advantage by “divide and rule policies” to assert their dominance.

Yet, our bankrupt political leadership is hell bent upon pursuing “policies of divide and rule” employing religious, race, language and caste divisions with utter disregard to its disastrous outcomes for national unity and integrity. Internal subversives, in pursuit of self aggrandizement, fail to realize that chaotic backlash could engulf them too. Today, the Parliament has returned to the ancient ways of treachery, intrigue, corruption and violence with many criminals masquerading as leaders. Barely the political scoundrels or goons allow the Parliament to function. “Good Governance” is a mirage.

Furthermore, unending protests outside the Parliament with the Judiciary adding spice on multitude issues – Covid-19 vaccines roll out, farmers protests and so on. Most importantly, all forms of media, particularly the social media is abuzz sowing discord, spreading pernicious falsehoods and seeking to boost support for their respective parties. Chaos and anarchy are self destructive.

The latest is the crisis of “Pegasus Spyware” developed by the Israeli cyber arms firm NSO Group that can be covertly installed on mobile phones. The NSO provides “authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime.” NSO Group has published sections of contracts which require customers to use its products only for criminal and national security investigations and has stated that it has an industry-leading approach to human rights.

News of the spyware added fuel to already existential media subversion by partisan houses. The meddling set alarm bells ringing - at least 300 individuals targeted including Rahul Gandhi with “We have been attacked; we are at war”. Some partisan Media houses are crying hoarse on gross violation of freedom of press regulations and privacy of individuals. Opposition parties are accusing Modi and Amit Shah of compromising national security following revelations that dozens of Indians were potential targets of snooping by Israeli-made spyware. Their war cry is “Amit Shah must resign”. However, the government has claimed that all interception in India takes place lawfully.

None can blame political parties to indulge in Goebbelsian lies to retain/reclaim power. Let me reiterate, that “Politics is power; power is politics. It is a vicious game played by contestants in ruthless pursuit of power. No rules. No place for weak kneed. Clausewitz, Prussian emeritus on Military Affairs, viewed “War as continuation of political intercourse with the addition of other means. War and politics are intertwined. War in itself does not suspend political intercourse or change it into something entirely different. In essentials that intercourse continues, irrespective of the means it employs.”

Politics and ideals and morals do not go together. Lenin stated “There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience.” Indian politicians are wily practitioners of Lenin’s prescriptions.

Seizing the opportunity provided by internal squabbling, powerful external vested interests – both from the West and the East - are hell bent upon spinning highly derogatory images of crisis ridden nation. Their reach is over a wide cross section of people all over India.

Key lesson of Indian ancient history is Lord Krishna’s advice in Mahabharata - "Everything is fair in War and love". Chanakya also stated “wipe out your enemies completely; don’t leave anything.” Ironic that successive Hindu ruler’s followed Asoka’s tolerance, leniency and soft approach to enemies. For example, after the victorious first battle Prithviraj Chauhan made the mistake of leaving the enemy Ghori alive for which he returned back with more power this time and he won the battle but he never made the same mistake, he killed Prithviraj Chauhan.

India is a soft state today even under Modi, who is following Ashoka and Gandhi; but not the wisdom of Lord Krishna and Chanakya. What India needs is a “Strong” central State if it is to remain in its present form. Inappropriate is democracy for a pluralist and diverse society as per Montesquieu, emeritus political sage of yester years. “Enlightened Despotism” based on a strong center holds the key to survival and success.

In today’s political arena, the three Clausewitz’s concepts – “Center of Gravity (CoG)”, “Fog of War” and “Friction” – are absolutely apt. Ipso facto, “Voters Minds” constitutes the CoG in the battles of the “Ballot Box”. Figure out how to shape or shatter your rival’s spirit, and you might win the war while avoiding the enemy army entirely. Finding and neutralizing an adversary’s “CoG” is, therefore, most critical.” However, it is not easy to discern as to how people’s minds and hearts will sway and rally around, like shifting sand in a desert storm – Fog of War. A “Wave” can humble the most dominant party with factors of caste, communal, class, money and muscle power inevitably producing “friction”.

“Information warfare”, more aptly “Subversion”, is pursued by all alike to achieve end objectives. The main thrust of information warriors is to spin the message to go viral: narrative, emotion, authenticity, community, inundation and experimentation. They build and shape the story lines based on public expectations and aspirations thereby provoke the responses that impel to people to action, to connect with a plurality of followers at the most personal level, to build a sense of fellowship, and to do it all on societal scale, again and again, but using individual reaction to each attack as a moment for mass refinement.

Subversion implies the use of insidious, dishonest, monetary, or violent methods to bring about change. Each subversive campaign is different because of the social, political, economic, cultural, and historical differences. It generally carries less risk, cost, and difficulty as opposed to open wars. Subversion encompasses internal and external actors. Internal subversion is actions taken by those within a country.

The end objective of internal subversion is to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working from within (Marxists). The use or threat of force is the last step of internal subversion. Internal subversion is carried out by establishing front groups and penetrating and manipulating existing political parties, infiltrating the armed forces, the police, and other institutions of the state, as well as important NGOs and generating civil unrest through demonstrations, strikes, and boycotts. Hardly a day passes today in India without protests and unrest.

In external subversion, the aggressor state attempts to recruit, assist and cooperate with indigenous political actors to overthrow their government. Only when the foreign government itself furnishes a nation with money, arms, supplies, or other help to dissidents it is called external subversion. Economics – cutting off trade or imposing sanctions - can be both a tool of the internal and external subversive. Cutting off credit or sanctions can cause severe economic problems for a country.

Subversion has been categorized in many forms. Some refers it to a process by which the “National Values” are contradicted or reversed in an attempt to transform the established social order and its structures of power, authority, hierarchy, and social norms. In retrospect, “National Values” have been defaced and destroyed long ago. Some others described it as an attack on the public morale.

Subversives infiltrate State organizations to achieve their end objectives. Today, most of the State institutions have been politicized what with labor unions owing political affiliations with parties. To gain public credibility, attract new supporters, generate revenue, and acquire other resources, groups undertake political activities that are entirely separate, or appear separate, from the overtly violent activities. Once the organization has been co-opted, the dissident can then move on to establishing ties with other groups.

Furthermore, such groups can bolster political allies, attack government policies, and attract international support. Mahaghatabandhan, sans convergence of ideologies is real.

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Mass demonstrations or the political strikes like the Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA and farmers protests, are subversive activities. Mostly, they are politicized to defame ruling regime. Discrediting, disarming, and demoralizing the government is the goal of these activities. For civil unrest creates many internal security challenges. If the government is unable to quell the unrest it leads to an erosion or loss of state power that stems from the people's lack of trust in the government to maintain law and order. In turn, the people begin to question whether or not new leadership is needed. Furthermore, propaganda and agitation, even when they are legal forms of freedom of speech, press, and assembly, can still be classified as subversive activity, if the covert/hidden intent of those taking action is different.

Yet another means of subversion is bribery. Most societies see bribery as a form of corruption, and it used as a subversive tool because it "implies the undermining of existing rules of political or moral conduct." Lending of aid, comfort, and moral support to individuals, groups, or organizations that advocate the overthrow of incumbent governments is the way of subversives. All willful acts that are intended to be detrimental to the best interests of the government and that do not fall into the categories of treason, sedition, sabotage, or espionage are placed in the category of subversive activity.

Using culture to bring about change to a political system through integration of political warfare and political action and the targeting of cultural vehicles and institutions is another tool of subversion. For external subversives it is the key strategy. The targets of cultural subversive activities are traditionally film, literature, popular music, educational institutions, mass media, religious organizations, charitable organizations, and other forms of art.

Most important in latest lexicon is “Like War”, more aptly “Lie War”. Vested interests, both internal and external, are exploiting the Internet and Social Media Age – Face book, Twitter and so on. Awareness of social media and its fallout is least understood by majority. Face book CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s during congressional testimony stated “Social media remains difficult to understand even for many policymakers today” stated. Face book and Twitter can make or break political parties and change the course of national and international politics by controlling their networks.

Societal environment is the battle ground of “Lie War”. Their target is “Voters Mind”, that is like a piece of contested territory - “Battle of Ballot Box”. Information has been weaponized in the battlefield of “Ballot Boxes”, which is far more disruptive, destructive, devastating and decisive than nuclear bombs. Attacking adversary’s COG – the minds and spirits of its people – no longer requires massive bombing runs or reams of ineffective propaganda/psychological warfare.

Almost everyone is a collector and distributor of information. Anyone can do it. Teenage digital marketers, wielding selfie-taking smart phones, have turned social media into a weapon to change the course of ballot box battles in democracy. They are all trying to bend the local and national information environment to their will. All it takes is a smart phone and a few idle seconds. Social networks also create new ways to reach out and attack, even thousands of miles away. Today, it is possible to communicate directly with someone you are at war with – to send them “friend” requests, debate them or silently stalk their digital lives. Everything “Voter” watches, like, or share offers advantage to one side or another. Figure out how to make something go viral and you can overwhelm even the truth itself.

Propagandists can identify a few dozen sympathizers out of faraway population of millions and then groom them to attack their fellow citizens. Voices from around the globe can stir the pot of hatred and resentment between rival peoples, sparking a war or genocide. They can even divide and conquer a country’s politics from afar, realizing the political objective of a war without firing a shot. None of these scenarios is hypothetical. Each of them has already happened in some country or another.

All political leaders and parties without exception are playing dirty politics – some more naive; others more sophisticated. Although the truth is more widely available than ever before, it can be buried in a sea or litany of oft repeated lies. Those political leaders and parties will win an election, which can exploit information or disinformation usage to advantage – out think and outfox rivals.

In sum, the root causes for the emerging internal scenario of oft-repeated Parliament adjournments day after day following raucous scenes and 24 x 365 protests on streets can be laid at the door steps of internal subversion abetted by external subversion. “Lie War” - perfidious and pernicious -is the strategy employed by subversives to ferment violence, stoke hate, spread lies, spark wars, and even erode democracy itself in the ultimate. Oft repeating lies to obfuscate truth is the option exercised by all political parties to confuse gullible voter’s minds and hearts.

So called iconic leaders must pay heed to the voice of a commoner who stated on social media: “Don’t Fight among ourselves, foreigners will annex our country and reap benefits and will kill population and force their religion on us also they will destroy our culture; Don’t give second chance to enemies; Don’t forget history; No country is our friend, they are all our competitors; and ethics and morals don’t have any place in geopolitical grounds for protecting national territorial integrity; etc.”

Can India’s elected representatives, claiming iconic “Leadership” status, learn from lessons of history and stop indulging in 24x365 vicious politics abetted by external subversives paving the way for disintegration of modern India. Wake Up internal subversives; stop playing second fiddle to external subversives. Political instability on account of subversion is a sure death knell for India.