Yesterday, you'll recall, I blogged about my theory of "GMO geopolitics" and Russia, offering the speculation that Russia is engaged in a strategy of soft power and cultural critique that is quite deliberate, well-thought-out, and that the "GMO geopolitics" was only a small component or subset of that strategy. There is, however, a "hard" component to this strategy, and a geopolitics paradigm shift, from which it must be viewed, in my opinion.
That paradigm shift, as I have indicated in previous blogs, was really foreseen around the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth centuries by the famous British geopolitician, Sir Halford MacKinder. MacKinder is, of course, most well-known for his geopolitical axioms that the Eurasian landmass was the principle geopolitical feature, and problem, for the British Empire. Those axioms are usually understood to be connected to MacKinder's three propositions: (1) that who controlled the World Island - i.e., the great Eurasian land mass - controlled the world; (2) that who controlled the East European-Euro-Russian "heartland" controlled the World Island, and (3) that this meant above all costs that an alliance of Germany and Russia had to be prevented at all costs. In this respect, there is a school of thought that Kaiser Wilhelm II's overtures to his cousin Tsar Nicholas II created such alarm in Great Britain that the latter redoubled its efforts to bring Russia into the alliance system encircling Germany prior to World War One. That effort, as we know, was successful. Its current counterpart - the Russian sanctions and shifting of US NATO bases eastward into Romania, Poland, and the Baltic States, which I have argued repeatedly is a similar game, looks to be equally successful, at least, for the moment.
There was, however, a technological component to MacKinder's geopolitical musings which many forget, or ignore altogether, and that technological component was, in fact, the real heart of his concerns. MacKinder saw, with a great deal more prescience than his contemporaries, that railroads and aircraft would eventually bind together that great Eurasian landmass, and essentially make "Oceania" as George Orwell called it, with its sea-power-based trading empire, an irrelevancy, and an expensive, and non-cost-effective one, at that. After all, over the long run, railroads are less expensive and easier to maintain than battleships and cargo ships. It was, as MacKinder formulated it, a contest between "pirates from the sea" against "robbers from the plains," and those were his characterizations. The twentieth century had, by the end of World War Two and the ballistic missile, added space into the geopolitical mix, and the secure control of communications. After all, if one wants to dominate that World Island, one has to have the ground forces, and the communications, to do so, and one must secure the "high ground."
In that context, then, ponder this disturbing article shared by Ms. K.M., which in the context of recent events that suggest Russian electronic warfare capabilities - the Donald Cook, Fitzgerald, and John McCain incidents, the failure of some US cruise missiles to find their targets in Syria, and so on - and one has a technological-geopolitical nightmare which should have the analysts burning the midnight oil in the Pentagram:
Now, as Ms. K.M. pointed out in her email to me, there's a certain statement in this article that must really have the analysts burning the midnight oil (among many other disturbing revelations in the article):
Russian daily Svobodnaya Pressa published an analysis of Russian EW capabilities as they stand today, with a possible nod towards the “Zapad-2017” military exercise and NATO’s resulting anxiety. The paper notes that Russia's qualitative EW superiority vis-a-vis the West is also quantitative—during the past decade, more than a dozen systems underwent state trials and evaluations: “Borisoglebsk-2,” “Algurit,” “Rtut-BM,” “Infauna,” “Krasuha-4,” “Moskva-1,” “Parodist,” “Lorandit-M,” “Leer-3,” “Lesochek,” “Less,” “Magnyi-REB,” “Pole-21,” “Hibini” and “Vitebsk.” Among these are systems designed for localized short-range action; those that protect aircraft, ships and soldiers in a given area of operations; along with systems that neutralize explosive detonators in IEDs and other devices. This list also includes powerful systems with an extensive zone of operation, such as “Krasuha-4” and “Moskva-1.” The paper further notes that the last two systems are built “on the principles that had not previously been used in radio engineering.” In order to suppress radio signals in their entire spectrum, a large set of radiating antennas with extensive power sources are no longer required to create powerful jamming of adversary’s signals. Today, modern means of detection and processing allow these systems to receive an exact copy of enemy signals followed by the generation of analog signal by changing the parameters necessary for the counteraction. Therefore, “a false signal in a distorted form is returned to the enemy”—such counteraction is called “nonenergy interference.”
(Italics and bold emphases added)
To those who've been following the work of U.S. Army Lt. Col Tom Bearden (Ret.) and his research into Russian electronic warfare capability over the years, this will sound very familiar: waves are returned to a target, exactly out of phase with the signals it is broadcasting. And it is important here to understand that "broadcasting" doesn't mean what conventionally most people think it means, for any electrical system - including organic life and therefore humans - broadcast small signals; they have an "electromagnetic" signature which, while minute, is nevertheless very real. The same holds true with electrical systems on ships, military equipment, and so on. Broadcast, in this context, means more than just a crew operating a radio or radar equipment. It means all electronic equipment, period. And provided one can develop a technology to read even the smallest signals, then the ability to "jam" them and shut them down follows in course. Depending on what broadcast signal one wishes to target, from the actual broadcast of a radio or radar transmission, to the "small broadcasts" of electronic systems on ships, military vehicles, aircraft, or their human crews, one can target that specific system. Granted, I'm indulging in a lot of reading into this paragraph, based on some familiarity with the claims of Lt. Col. Bearden made decades ago, but in my high octane speculative interpretation, this appears to be what the Russians are saying. "After decades of work and research, we've finally made it work, and to develop operational and deployable technologies to do so." The Russians, it would appear, have developed a technology to read the broadcast signals of electrical circuits precisely and remotely (remember that UFO incident at Malmgren USAF base, and the Boeing aircraft company was brought, and was eventually able to shut off flights of ICBMS remotely, just as the UFO did? Remember the UFO-ICBM incident at Byelokoroviche in the Ukraine in the early 1980s, where a UFO allegedly started the launch sequence remotely? Hmmmm...)
Given this capability, what does it mean? Well, think of it as a kind of "targetable EMP or electromagnetic pulse" weapon, sans the nuclear explosion typically understood to be needed to create the effect. This means, in short, that any space-based communications system - global positioning satellites or financial clearing - can not only be shut down, but presumably, this might also permit the distorting of the information modulated into a signal (which, again, the article suggests). In other word, information "x" is the input signal, but what pops out at the other end is not "x", but "y," or even no signal at all. To put this high octane speculation country simple, this system might be capable of shutting down even those systems based on quantum communications (after all, they're broadcasting a signal too). There's another wild and woolly and off-the-end-of-the-twig speculation here, but I'll save that one for another time, perhaps.
Of course, all of this is high octane speculation, and very high octane at that. The Russian systems described may or may not be related to those systems outlined by Bearden, and under investigation in the Soviet Union. They may or may not work on the same principles he was trying to reverse engineer from the intelligence data he was sifting. But in any case, they're demonstrating capabilities which, if extrapolated, lead to some stunning operational and strategic capabilities.
Bottom line: one can rest assured that the US, France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, India and Brazil(for those who've been paying attention, remember Richard Hellman?) will attempt to understand the Russian capabilities, and as it once coaxed and lured Russian pilots to fly their MIGs to Western airbases, or even to steal the Russian equipment right out from under their noses in covert operations (remember the Clint Eastwood film Firefox?) or off the ocean floor (remember that CIA operation to bring up a Russian submarine from the bottom of the ocean?). The problem now is that Russia is no longer Communist. It may be many other things, but it is no longer Communist, and there will be fewer people with access to this equipment that would be willing to defect. And that means covert ops...
See you on the flip side...