DailyPost 2003

Wars are like The Onion Router; you will never be able to make out the information route. This is just to state the complexity of information transmission during any modern-day war. Within the underbelly of Russia – Ukraine war, any number of wars are being fought out. The drone as an independent and also as interdependent weapon has been documented and also how it has been tilting the balance of war. Every element of war complements and supplements the war machine. Though it looks flimsy, even one tragic mistake in any of these areas can spell disaster and can also take you to the brink of losing the battle. Besides, the new element of war, the cyber hacks / breaches as the backend support of the war, would have certainly been playing out, but nothing much has come out in the open, except for the initial few outages.

Russia has been playing the Cyber War game effectively in recent times. A very different element of war is the mercenary information machine, working tirelessly to fight for the same cause, which the forces fight on the ground. If the people were to know of your war, the way you want them to know, I think the war would have already been half won. Selling the idea of war, which normally civilised society is averse to, is not easy as it sounds. The cause of war would be so humongous that it is difficult for people to find rationality in it. This can turn out to be an uphill task. The aggressor has a different story to today, and after getting trampled upon, the adversary will have his side of the story. To win the hearts and minds in the battle of these stories is yet another story.

Who controls the media is another dimension. It applies to heavily state controlled media. The Russian state. Some cracks seem to be appearing off and on, but given the nature of the background and repression being currently used, they seem to be under good control. Creating fear psychosis among journalists is another tool of propaganda war. If you are fed with only government propaganda, day in and day out, what would be the state of mind of the viewer/listener/reader. For the ones who disagree, there are draconian laws to take care. So nothing gets amplified, but for the echo chamber game, which the state has been playing for a long time. Courting your main constituency is the most critical task of the ruler / government, otherwise how does the war machine gain support. Wars happens on war cries, nationalism and national interests being the main fuel, it certainly cannot happen with plummeting public opinion.

Influencers can make a huge difference. They are used quite decisively. The western media machine is totally different; a mix of electronic, print and social media. They have been the masters of perception management. Making any mission look like a rescue operation of a large group of people (nation), always helps create the right perception. The tough stand and connected stance have to be communicated to the world correctly. Different media is handled differently. Media war games are played by the veterans of the game. The videos of Zelenskyy have their own impact. Sagging fortunes of war can be pulled up by the perception / media / propaganda machine. We live in the age of pixelated wars, the pixels which define your video footage, also define how many and how much the eyeballs will move and with it hearts and minds, and with it the opinion. How complicated can a war become, is anybody’s guess.

Sanjay Sahay

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