Economic Statecraft
American Fake Splash: Russia and North Korea in Sight

With the November midterm elections to the US Congress and significant losses suffered by the Ukrainian army, Washington continues to use dirty information warfare methods. Clearly, if the Democrats win, the anti-Russian campaign in its various manifestations will only intensify.

Something went wrong after a fake story was published in The New York Times based on some materials that had been “declassified” by the US intelligence about Russia allegedly “buying” “millions” of artillery shells and rockets from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for use in Ukraine. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby saying there were “no indications that that purchase has been completed and certainly no indications that those weapons are being used inside of Ukraine” contradicts with what representatives of the US State Department and the Department of Defense had to say without providing any evidence to prove their claims.

There are a number of purposes for such a move:

  • indication of “serious problems” with the supply chains of the allied forces in the context of the special military operation in Ukraine;

  • demonstration of “effectiveness” of the US and European export controls that China supposedly complies with;

  • insinuations about Russia’s “forced” appeal to “rogue states” such as the DPRK or Iran for military assistance. In fact, the UN Security Council has imposed a strict arms embargo on Pyongyang, and any supply of weapons and related materiel from that country will be considered a violation of the international sanctions regime;
  • settling accounts with Pyongyang for its recognizing the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, and possible sending North Korean workers to liberated territories to rebuild civilian infrastructure.

Ironically, this situation is reminiscent of the events of two years ago, when The New York Times in June 2020 published a fake story claiming that Russian military intelligence was allegedly offering militants with links to the Taliban bounties for killing US troops in Afghanistan.

Senator Robert Menendez, a member of the Democratic Party, then suggested that the US Congress introduce a package of anti-Russian sanctions called the Russia Bounty Response Act of 2020 involving an asset freeze and visa restrictions with regard to top Russian leaders. Menendez’s proposal was supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democratic Party), who said it was necessary to immediately impose sanctions on Russia for “collusion” with the Taliban.

In turn, then President Donald Trump called the report by The New York Times “not credible,” indicating that the article was a put-up job. Later, Trump confirmed that the US intelligence services recognized the article’s data as not credible. Chief Pentagon Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said there was no evidence of Russia’s “collusion” with the Taliban. The Taliban also denied the information provided by The New York Times about its ties with Russia.

In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, Democratic circles needed the Russian factor so that they could awkwardly push the blame for their failed policies on the Afghan track onto Donald Trump. The very next year, under the Biden administration, the United States ingloriously withdrew its military contingent from Afghanistan, leaving behind, according to the Pentagon, weapons worth over $7 billion, which eventually went to the Taliban in violation of the sanctions regime imposed by UN Security Council resolution 1988 (2011).

With the November mid-term elections to the US Congress and significant losses suffered by the Ukrainian army, Washington continues to use dirty information warfare methods. Clearly, if the Democrats win, the anti-Russian campaign in its various manifestations will only intensify.

Russia and China: Joining Forces Against Fake News
Sheng Shiliang
Russia and China are alien to the United States and to the collective West. Therefore, in the future, information war will be the new normality. This is worth understanding, and we have to reflect the creation of a strategy of collective non-Western cohesion. In particular, that applies to Russia and China. Sheng Shiliang, Senior Research Fellow at Xinhua News Agency’s Global Challenges Studies Center, discussed how to deal with fake news on the sidelines of the Valdai Club’s Russian-Chinese conference.
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