Trump Tweets: Information Warfare Campaign
Posted On April 19, 2018
America Has Moved Into the 21st Century
While many critics continue to rely on old-school forms of diplomacy and international power politics, our President has moved into the 21st Century with a vengeance. It is evident that President Trump has a clear grasp of the new age of information warfare.
The most recent example is with the current arena in Syria. The previous administration, in a typically ineffective academic approach, declared that Syria had disarmed itself of chemical weapons in 2014. This bold pronouncement by Obama, Kerry, and others came after taking the half-hearted promise by Russian President Putin that Assad would be defanged. The follow up by U.S. intelligence agencies, led by then CIA Director Brennan, seemed to confirm that Syria had indeed given up its chemical weapons.
As we now know, all of this turned out to be false, proven by America NSA communications intercepts of Syrian forces in 2017 while they prepared and executed a chemical weapons strike. The intercept not only identified exactly where the air dropped chemicals came from but also which Syrian commanders were in the chain as the orders flowed down from Damascus. The intercepts also gave President Trump the evidence needed to prove the origin of the attack, allowing him to strike back swiftly with Tomahawk missiles.
The latest chemical attack in Syria brought a swift warning by President Trump via his usual megaphone outlet, Twitter. The evidence from the attack has not pinpointed who is responsible, whether it is Assad and his forces or one in a variety of rebel/terrorist groups that populate the Syrian landscape like weeds. Thus, the President returned to Twitter to confirm he is reviewing the intelligence and will keep the pressure on.
How Has the President Waged His Information Warfare Campaign and What Are the Results?
Trump has caused quite a bit of damage to the Russia and Syrian governments with two Tweets posted on the Internet. The first tweet flushed Russian naval vessels out of their Syrian bases in a frantic sortie to avoid becoming targets. The Russian naval units in the eastern Mediterranean also changed course to encircle a lone U.S. destroyer which had moved into Tomahawk firing range offshore of Syria.
This last movement was very good. Destroyers are designed to “go in harm’s way” and luring a larger force toward a single “picket” ship not only reveals the Russian intent, but it also allows these forces to become easy targets for a variety of other unseen assets lurking nearby.
Trump’s single tweet also forced Russian, Syrian and Iranian air assets to retreat to safer havens and restricted areas where they can defend themselves. In fact, the entire Syrian air force has moved itself to Russian bases much farther away from rebel targets, hiding beneath Putin’s skirt or to be more accurate, inside the bubble of airspace protected by the Russian S-400 air defense missiles. Trump’s post curtailed Russian and Syrian air activity, constrained their bombing, and put the Russian air defense missile crews under a great deal of pressure.
Russia Did Not Shoot Down Missiles
It is well worth noting that, although touted as one of the most advanced air defense missile systems in the world, the Russian S-400 system did not shoot down a single Tomahawk cruise missile during the 2017 strike into Syria. The US Tomahawk is a formidable weapon, but it is not stealthy. The 2017 strike was well within the radius of action for the Russian S-400s, yet none were fired.
The recent airstrikes by Israeli air force jets also brought them well inside the S-400 target zone, but again, no S-400s were fired. Why have no S-400 missiles been seen in Syrian skies? Since both U.S. and Israeli air assets have been operating with impunity, it leads to the conclusion that western forces have neutralized the S-400 into being not much more than an impressive frozen statue in the desert. The single loss of an Israeli F-16 to a Syrian missile, not the Russian S-400, appears to be attributed to the pilot taking an extraordinary risk to destroy a newly discovered target and not to the adept skill of the Syrian or Russian air defense crews.
Nothing stands still in warfare and since the first strikes against Syria; U.S. forces have bolstered themselves with a variety of new assets in the region. Trump has deployed more stealth F-22s and new stealthy missile systems such as JSOW and JASSM-ER. The latest addition of the JSF F-35 stealth fighter may very well be quietly deployed. It is not certain that the B-2 stealth bomber has made it into Syrian skies, but it is certain that a large number of stealthy drones have made the rounds pinpointing targets in Syria.
The Russian response to the F-22 deployment was a sortie of three Su-57 stealth fighters to Syria in March 2018. The three fifth-generation Russian fighters were photographed by satellite while parked at a Syrian airbase. The Su-57s left Syria after about a week of in-activity, flying with no reported missions of leaving the air base except to return to Russia. The movement of the Russian stealth jets back to their home base inside Russia was immediately followed by reports that the entire tiny fleet of advanced jets was grounded due to a variety of problems encountered during their trip to Syria.
This Is Not Trump’s First Information Warfare Campaign
Trump’s information warfare campaign against Russia and Syria is not unlike his similar campaign against North Korea. When digital warfare is combined with real iron-on-target assets, it becomes a formidable combination that other nation states cannot ignore. Clearly, with a single tweet, the President can send whole nations into a frantic course of disarray and confusion.
This electronic warfare also serves to draw out Trump’s opponents inside America into making grave mistakes of their own. The reaction by many in the main stream media to Trump’s electronic warfare campaign is to rave in a maniacal chorus of anger and fear. These opponents have repeatedly screamed “DOOM!” at the top of their lungs which only re-enforces Trump’s formidable reputation abroad and shows them to be hysterical fools at home.
The raving chorus of pundits’ rings loud in the media echo chamber. The drawback is their bellowing that “we are all going to die” or “he will start a World War” is immediately followed by a smiling news anchor stating to follow the show on Facebook and a commercial break for underwear.
The Charade of Doom Sayers
This past year has been a side show circus of watching the doom sooth Sayers and professional diplomats from the past two decades of failure declare that Trump’s policy with North Korea will take us to the brink of war. Trump’s policy approach is one of tough negotiations, picking on the weak points of an opponent until they tear themselves apart. We have witnessed this success in Asia, and it is now unfolding before us in Syria.
It is well worth pointing out that the so-called career diplomats and academics that played this game preached appeasement and presented our adversaries as honorable opponents who could be trusted. The peak of this diplomatic ‘smartest guy in the room’ fiction was the 2014 sham played on the west by Obama in his chemical deal with Putin on Syria. The “red line” became a hollow catch phrase echoed along with “you can keep your doctor” inside and outside of America. The ultimate chess player on the stage of international politics turned out to be a chump.
Trump may not be the smartest guy in the room, but he is the best poker player in the game, and right now he has Putin down to his shorts.
Charles R. Smith is a writer for NRN and the author of “Deception.” His reports have been covered by Security Affairs, Insight magazine, USAF, “The Connection” Information Protection journal, E-SOURCES Online, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings Magazine, NewsMax.com, and other outlets.