Editor – The article linked below from the Strategy Bridge is from a fellow IPA member and among our members his thesis is hardly controversial yet, western governments (mostly, some exceptions like the Baltic states) still struggle as any attempt to coordinate our “narrative” quickly starts to sound like we’re orchestrating from a ‘ministry of information.’ Yet, we must get better at ensuring our “narrative” becomes a part of our strategy, our theater operations, and, yes, our tactics. Why are we so afraid?
Weaponizing a narrative resembles weaponizing a disease in several ways. One similarity is that neither is kinetic, yet both can have immense effects. Both are dangerous and chaotic, but are less dangerous to the faction prepared for the risks—or with less to lose. Modern scientists better understand disease resistance than did their predecessors, but some use that to tailor diseases to be more dangerous, easier to acquire and transmit, and harder to resist. Similarly, modern scientists better understand the mind, but some use that to tailor messages to be more dangerous, easier to accept and pass along, and harder to resist. Like viruses, narratives can combine to create overwhelming effects, and can appear and propagate with unnerving rapidity. Unlike viruses, though, the narrative is so inexpensive that almost anyone can weaponize and deploy it. Also unlike viruses, the weaponized narrative targets our minds, which usually lack the resistance our bodies enjoy. We have no immune system for the mind. Defending the body but sacrificing the will still means defeat.