Steve Lunetta: From Russia, with love

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(Somewhere under the Kremlin, a short and plump man in a poorly tailored suit entered the office of the Grand Leader, Ivan Pootin)

“My leader, I am pleased to report that your wondrous plan is working!” started the short man.  “We have seriously weakened the Americans.”

The large man behind the desk looked up and smiled, “yes, Igor Hilarovan Blagoyavich, our plan was devilishly simple yet catastrophic in its effects.”

Igor continued, “by using the Americans social media platforms- Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit and others- we have set Americans against themselves and caused them to think that their true enemies are their neighbors and friends!”

Ivan laughed quietly. “It was so easy to do.  While we supported this ‘Donald Trump’ in the main election, we now sponsor events and publish media that tear him down.  We feed the questions and concerns of their media and build a hysterical view of anything their White House does.”

“Our reach extends beyond politics” he continued. “We now comment on tragic events such as the school shooting in Florida.  We post gun control comments that infuriate their conservatives then post second amendment diatribes that infuriate their liberals.  It is like throwing gas on a smoldering fire, Igor.”

“And the Americans are so stupid!” Igor responded.  “They cannot see that their reactionary response is just what they don’t need.  If they stepped back from the emotion and the hype, had a reasoned conversation about the issue, came to consensus, and worked together, we would be powerless.”

“Yes, Igor.  Let us hope they do not realize this.  Democracies and Republics are extremely weak forms of government.  They are easily manipulated by internal and external forces that shape public opinion.  Often, this is devoid of facts or a vision to the future.”

“My leader, you are so correct” the plump flunky spewed.  “We can make up lies that cannot be verified and feed them to their masses with such ease that it is child’s play.  Americans never seek to verify their information nor go true trusted news sources.  They read something on Reddit and it becomes their gospel!”

“The amazing thing, my leader, is that we can now to this without human intervention!  While we still employ many trolls to go on the internet under fake pseudonyms and identities, we now have automated ‘bots’ that can write comments on numerous sites that carry forth our propaganda!  It is like shooting fish in a barrel.”

“Igor, you are correct.  Let us hope that the Americans do not get smart and start requiring identification for posting comments and material on the internet.  That pesky Constitution of theirs never promised anonymity.  If they begin requiring identification, our program would be seriously damaged.”

Igor responded, “and if they get smart and begin tracing source code and web addresses back to eastern European or Russian sources and blocking them, our influence would again be diminished.  It is a shame that such a wonderful tool as the internet has become a tool for subversion.”

The leader leaned forward.  “What did you just say?”

Flustered, the fat man stammered “I mean, we have taken this tool of western decadence and turned it back on the worthless capitalists.”  The sweat became visible on his forehead.

“If I was not so sure of your loyalty, Blagoyavich, I would question that last statement.  In what other ways do you think our program could be stopped?”

“My leader, if Americans simply stopped the anger and calmly engaged one-another to find common ground.  If they sought compromise, both left and right, and ignored the inflammatory bleatings of their easily manipulated media- CNN and Fox News primarily- our efforts would be wasted.”

“That is correct, Igor.  While the freedom and openness of their society is a weakness to be exploited it is also their greatest strength.  If they begin to remember that they are all Americans and that their true enemies are outside, they will build a wall that we cannot penetrate.  But, we know that will never happen.”

The fat man then nodded, turned on his heel and left the room.  Feeling that he narrowly avoided revealing his true feelings, Igor thought about the Americans and what the Russian program was doing.  He knew it was wrong.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita.  He can be reached at [email protected]


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