Social Warfare, this new threat against Western democracies

The assault on the Capitol by a group of rioters on January 6, on the sidelines of the end of Donald Trump's mandate, had the effect of an electric shock for all Western capitals. Suddenly, the conspiracy threat, which until now was considered an epiphenomenon, certainly serious, but limited in its potential for harm, was propelled to the rank of major threat against the very survival of Democracy and the rule of law. From then on, all the Western heads of state undertook to carry out actions to try to control this threat manipulated by some unscrupulous politicians and certain people whose status of social guru flatters the ego.

But beyond these mass manipulations from within for political or personal purposes, this phenomenon also shows that Western public opinion is very vulnerable to coordinated actions potentially carried out by a foreign nation, aimed at neutralizing or hampering the response. of a country on the international scene, whether military or diplomatic. At a time when political decisions are taken with one eye on Twitter and the other on a continuous news channel, the profound manipulation of public opinion through social networks, using techniques combining social engineering and psychology of mass against a background of targeted geomarketing, now constitutes a new theater in the clash of nations, as well as a new doctrine that we will call, in this article, Social Warfare.

1- From propaganda to social war

The manipulation of public opinion by a foreign nation is nothing new. This is the role of propaganda, and some countries have even become masters in the matter, both to control their own public opinion, and to create loopholes in that of their potential adversaries. During the Cold War, the European Communist, Trotskyist and Maoist parties were thus largely controlled by Moscow and Beijing. But they were both well identified and segmented by state services, and they also quickly lost their influence as the Cold War progressed. On the other hand, the public opinion of a country had not been, in its almost totality, as simply and quickly exposed to mass manipulation as since the advent of social networks on the Internet.

The assault on Capitol Hill to prevent the validation of the results of the American elections and the victory of Joe Biden, was felt as a deep trauma across the Atlantic.

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