LITHUANIA COULD COUNTER RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA

US Professor J Michael Waller recently visited Lithuania and was interviewed on his views on psychological and political warfare. An interview with Mr Waller was published on May 12, 2015, by the blog toinformistoinfluence. Excerpts below:

Lithuania has a potential to irritate Russia if it moves from defense to offense, information warfare specialist J. Michael Waller, says and provides several examples of how Russian diplomats could be enraged.

As a non-permanent UN Security Council member Lithuania could initiate resolutions on the human rights situation in Russia, the right of nations to self-determination, ecological security and other matters.

While Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and has veto power, it will be forced to defend itself. That means less time to attack Ukraine, Lithuania and the United States.

Every time Russia has to veto a resolution, attention is drawn to her problems, says J. Michael Waller.

It is possible to provoke Russia to veto resolutions on human rights, security and the right to self-determination. Russia can be forced to defend itself, knowing that they will veto every critical resolution. Thus it would be deprived of their right of initiative and look bad at no cost.

An example could be to focus on the ecological safety of Lake Baikal. A Security Council resolution could bring up the ecological security of the Lake Baikal, as Moscow threatens to devastate the lake. The Buryat people living in the region want to preserve Lake Baikal, because it is their home.

This can bring up the question of self-determination of the Buryats in the United Nations. It can be supported by the Mongols and others. You might lose the vote, but it is not that is important. The most important thing is to win the diplomatic debate by forcing the world to pay attention, according to Professor Waller.

Most irritating to Russia would be if it was left isolated. That would require countries to bring together a broader coalition. For example, the question of the Karelian national minority rights in Russia could be brought up, possibly with the support of Finland. Turkey and Muslim countries are likely to support a resolution on the situation of the Crimean Tatars.

Mr Waller admits that the political landscape in Europe is changing. Strong supporters like Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski is at present focusing on internal politics. Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is out of office. But there are allies outside the political parties.

It might be possible to work with Sikorski’s wife Anne Applebaum, who is a well known journalist and writer.

The question the status of Kaliningrad enclave could be another question of interest.

Before World War II the Kaliningrad region did not exist. It was part of German East Prussia with Koenigsberg, which was renamed Kalinigrad. At the end of the war the Soviets had occupied East Prussia.

At the Yalta Conference the Kaliningrad region was given to to the Soviets. This decision is however not based on any legal document.

The Kaliningrad issue was brought up at the Potsdam Conference in 1945. The Soviet interest in Kaliningrad was mainly that the Soviet Union had no ice-free ports in the area. At the Potsdam Conference the Allies agreed in principle to the Soviet demands, but it was decided that a final decision would be made at a future peace conference. However, the Soviets did not wait and incorporated the area long before the peace conference. The Cold War began and no peace treaty was peace signed.

J. M. Waller says that the West might call into question the legal status of Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, because according to international law it remains unclear.

Speaking about Russia Waller stressed that, like the Soviet Union, Russia is a heterogeneous country. There are many ethnolinguistic groups. Their situation could be brought up in the international arena.

Karelia is complaining about intensified Russification.This is what we should do. We should support these people. Also the Crimean Tatars. We need to give them the opportunity to speak, to strengthen their position by showing that their claims for ancestral lands are legal. We should help the Central Asian tribes – Buryats, Yakuts – to seek sovereignty or even independence.

J. M. Waller says this would be a major threat to Moscow’s centralism. According to him, similar to the movements contribute and Russians who are unhappy with the Kremlin’s policy in selected areas of the governor, mayors.

“Ordinary Russians in the regions also have no voice in deciding their own destiny. This is dictated by Moscow, which means that much is taken, but nothing is given back.

When asked if he was not afraid that his words could be used by the Russian press as proof that Washington seeks Russian destabilization, Professor Waller said: this is not intended to weaken Russia, but the power of the Chekists, embodied by Vladimir Putin.

“At the end of the Cold War we we supported the Russian Federation, we supported its secession from the Soviet Union, we supported a strong Russia, which is not based on military force, but on market economy and democratic values. The Russian leaders betrayed this idea. The United States provided billions of economic assistance to Russia, and Putin benefited from it. The Americans and Europeans contributed to support the transition of Soviet Russia to a market economy, but people like Putin and his friends have stolen the money and abandoned democracy. Of course, we do not want to weaken Russia, we want to weaken the Chekists, who now own the Kremlin “, says Mr Waller.

Professor J. Michael Waller is an expert on public diplomacy and political warfare. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy.

Dr. Waller has been a journalist and investigative writer on national security affairs, including intelligence, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism-related issues. His articles have been published in a variety of academic and professional journals, as well as Reader’s Digest, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He is a frequent commentator on the BBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR and the Voice of America.

He has researched and written about the political and psychological dimensions of terrorism, insurgency and counterinsurgency since 1983. His coverage of military affairs ranges from the guerrilla wars of Central America and Colombia to the Strategic Air Command. He was on the scene at the Kremlin in the hours before the Soviet Union was abolished, and at the Russian parliament building during the 1993 coup attempt.

He is author of several books on security, terrorism and political warfare, including Third Current of Revolution: Inside the North American Front of El Salvador’s Guerrilla War (University Press of America, 1991), Secret Empire: The KGB In Russia Today (Westview, 1994), and Fighting the War of Ideas like a Real War (Institute of World Politics Press, 2007); co-author of Dismantling Tyranny: Transitioning Beyond Totalitarian Regimes (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), editor of the Public Diplomacy Reader (IWP Press, 2007) and editor of Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (IWP Press, 2008).

He has been a practitioner in the areas in which he has written. In the 1980s he infiltrated and disrupted Soviet international front organizations in the U.S. and Europe, wrote what is considered the definitive work on the politico-psychological support networks for the FMLN insurgency in El Salvador, and advised the Salvadoran army on the FMLN’s international political warfare strategy and its role on ground combat operations. On contracts with the U.S. government in Honduras, he trained 88 commanders and sub-commanders of the Nicaraguan Resistance Army in political warfare and political communication. He also worked in support of Afghan Northern Alliance resistance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud in his war against the Soviets in the 1980s.

In the 1990s Waller worked on U.S. contracts to design and implement political warfare attacks on the Soviet and Russian intelligence services. Since 2001 he has worked on the political, financial, psychological and related networks of Islamist extremists in the U.S. and abroad under private sponsorship, and developed strategies and tactics to employ against them in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In 2006 FBI Director Robert Mueller presented Dr. Waller with a citation for “exceptional service in the public interest.”

Dr. Waller served on the staff of the United States Senate, and as a consultant to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, the US Army, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and other agencies.

He is a regular lecturer on information operations, PSYOP, public diplomacy, propaganda and political warfare for the National Defense University and the National Intelligence University.

He holds a Ph.D. in international security affairs from Boston University, where in 1993 he won the University Professors Award for Best Dissertation. Dr. Waller earned his M.A. in International Relations and Communication in 1989, as a John M. Olin Fellow at Boston University’s Center for Defense Journalism, graduating first in his class. He received a B.A. in international relations from the George Washington University in 1985, where he graduated first in his class as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

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