Is the Keyboard The New F15?

December 26th, 2017

875291168.0.jpgYou may remember that during the cold war, particularly during the Vietnam conflict, we were told that the battle was for the “hearts and minds” of the enemy. We understood that in conflict, propaganda, particularly as told through narrative, was an important tool of warfare.

Narrative, if successful, was there to reinforce the battle. The ultimate expression of this was the phrase, sometimes attributed to both John Wayne and Chuck Colson, that “if you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”

Today, in our 24/7 always on, social media saturated world, the objective has changed. Now, the battle through social media and television, for the proverbial hearts and minds, is sometime the goal, in and of itself.

As we’ve seen with Russia in both the Ukraine, and in it’s new cold war with the US, sometimes control of the Twitter and Facebook narrative is enough to create disruption, to change the terms of the conflict itself and ultimately to win. Suddenly, in cold war 2.0, a keyboard has as much power as an F15. That's the reality that David Patrikarakos lays bear in War in 140 Characters: How Social Media Is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century.

My conversation with David Patrikarakos: