Steps to Take Now
“You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you” – Leon Trotsky
There’s a looming threat of a global war brewing around Ukraine and in the South China Sea. At the same time, we have a never-before-seen level of divisiveness in democratic countries worldwide. Old alliances are fractured, and new partnerships have been formed behind closed doors. Ransomware cyberattacks have created shortages and outages. State-sponsored troll farms, right now, are ginning up conflicts, and deepening divisions are driving people further apart. When we look at the big picture, it doesn’t add up neatly. The war of today is vastly different than the wars of the past. The battlefield stretches around the world and will leave no person unaffected. Is World War III around the corner, and are we being played right into it as the world’s nations get divvied up and redistributed among the superpowers? Here we will examine that possibility and what you should be doing now if war is on the horizon, even if you are thousands of miles from the conflict zone. Let’s find out…
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THEN VS. NOW: THE NEW LOOK OF WAR
There was a peacetime draft in the United States starting in September of 1940. The ranks of fighting men swelled to 1.8 million. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, by December of the following year, that number had doubled to almost 4 million soldiers, sailors, Marines, and even Coast Guardsmen. There was a clear build-up following a clear attack. World War, even then, had a predictable build-up.
You also had a role if you were at home, far from the frontlines. You planted a victory garden, worked in factories, became part of the civil defense, raised bond money to support the war effort, and endured shortages of rubber, metal, and other resources, so the soldiers had what they needed. Nations mobilized and united to fight a common enemy whole-heartedly. Alliances were formed. Allies were made that still hold some value even today.
The United States fought in faraway lands during the Vietnam war, while those at home were assured that those foreign adversaries wouldn’t storm U.S. soil. The two conflicts were different. War was different, but there were clear enemies in all previous wars. There was a clear period of buildup to the major conflicts. After previous wars ended, whether it was the GI Bill or VA loans, America experienced an economic boom. Wars today do not take these more conventional forms. Clearly, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq looked traditional, and there will still be a buildup of troops and armaments overseas, but the war on terrorism wasn’t against nation-states, though the terrorists were covertly funded and supported by our nation’s adversaries.
When a clear nation is to blame, there can still be ground conflicts, even in a nuclear age and an age of hypersonic weapons; but ever since Krushev said in 1956, “We will take America without firing a shot. We do not have to invade the U.S. We will destroy you from within,” a conflict of a different sort became more dominant than ground conflicts with neatly defined enemies. The enemies have become less clearly defined but have been increasingly more active in the shadows.
THE COLD WAR IS FREEZING
There’s been a Cold War that has been fought for years. Many who don’t follow as closely Russian and U.S. relations would claim that the U.S. won when the U.S.S.R. collapsed and the Berlin Wall fell, but that was just the conclusion of years of covert battles. The war raged on, and the struggle for global control, the distrust, the covert actions seeking to destabilize the other–those conflicts continued. The merging of food production and supply chain systems increased our vulnerability by making us dependent upon singular systems for our food, water, and energy. It made us more efficient and made us have to work less, but it also turned multiple options into a singular target.
MISINFORMATION: TROLL FARMS
At the same time, technology and the information age brought misinformation and made us vulnerable to attack. Over the last decade, we have seen the rise of troll and misinformation farms, state-sponsored, out of Albania, Brazil, India, China, Finland, North Macedonia, Philippines, Russia, Turkey, Nicaragua, Vietnam, and even within the United States. It’s not likely the government of North Macedonia or Bulgaria is that interested in an election or a mask or vaccine mandate in Canberra, Ottawa, Wellington, Paris, or Brussels. Yet, for some reason, thousands of individual social media posts per day are coming from those locations daily by people with profiles alleging that they’re your fellow citizens.
These propaganda campaigns are highly focused on democratic nations. Acting as an individual, maybe even in your city or town, the sole purpose is to fuel misinformation, spread propaganda, attack critics, and interfere in political opinions and decision-making. These often escalate to involve real people who believe in the cause, have absorbed the online fervor, and are legitimately making their voices heard. We are not saying by any stretch that the truck blockades and protests aren’t legitimate or that the causes aren’t worthy. However, it is interesting to note that the Central Intelligence Agency secretly financed striking labor unions and trade groups, specifically truckers, in Chile for more than 18 months from 1972 through 1974 before then socialist President Salvador Allende Gossens was overthrown. Is what we are seeing a page from the same playbook but a different clandestine agency coaching the play? The similarity of the actions and causes though the countries and people are so ideologically different, speaks to a singular playbook being used rather than a world coming together all at the same time about a particular cause.
According to one study by the British daily broadsheet, the Telegraph, 30 governments out of the 65 studied paid keyboard armies to spread misinformation, destabilize political adversaries, and foster distrust in the media. There are forces at work, right now, in every comments section of every political or socially debatable opinion piece on the internet, and this has only served to widen divisions and turn neighbor upon neighbor. The ultimate feather in the cap of these misinformation campaigns is when the movement develops its own leaders and activities of good-hearted people suddenly swept up in a cause. Then, the true puppetmasters can sit back and watch the destabilization and protests they were able to create. People encouraged by these stoked and sometimes made-up causes act out in very public ways that further amplify divisions. Make no mistake about it, the war for your attention is raging on, is being orchestrated often thousands of miles from you, and is being delivered to a screen on your wall or in your hand.
The ransomware weapon deployed in this escalated cold war is more noticeable and more likely to impact you directly. Some of the same state-sponsored groups, but this time organized hackers, have seized control of and shut down various critical systems. Like a covert Operation Paperclip, successful hackers are either sent to jail or rewarded with jobs in the clandestine services of nations worldwide. They are matched up with groups, supplied with the latest equipment and intelligence, and set loose on enemy nations. The JBS meat processing plants and the Colonial Pipeline are two such attacks you have probably heard of, but there have been hundreds more. JBS paid $11 million to these foreign hackers. The owners of the Colonial Pipeline paid $4.4 million to these state-sponsored hackers.
Meanwhile, the links to governments are often unprovable. Though the shots, the orders to attack another nation’s vulnerable systems, might be directly called from the Kremlin, Zhongnanhai, or the White House, they are mainly unprovable. These ransomware attackers are working with state-sponsored immunity, often receive millions of dollars in ransom, and become even more sophisticated after each attack. While seemingly opportunistic in nature, these attacks are the first shots in a much greater conflict. They are more proof of concept and tests, even though they have off and on crippled certain parts of our supply chain. When we witness clusters of these attacks, a precise orchestration of them, you will know that the proof of concept is being applied as an all-out weapon.
The next war we face will be overt land grabs by Russia and possibly China, accompanied by orchestrated ransomware attacks and an escalation of troll farm activities to make us appear even more divided every day. After all, the U.S. government will have a hard time convincing the American people that we need to keep Russian troops out of Ukraine, when hackers attack the supply chain and the people are starving. When the American people, divided even further by the fires stoked by foreign troll farms, can’t agree on the simplest of things, they will be sufficiently distracted to allow Russia to grab back each of its former soviet-bloc countries. Add to that a significant grid-down situation, and it isn’t likely Americans will have the will to fight anything in the South China Sea or Ukraine. When the world’s nations are reeling with their domestic conflicts aggravated by ransomware attacks starving their populations, they will hardly come together to stop Xi Jinping from sending forces in to seize control of Taiwan.
Beyond Russia and Ukraine and China and Taiwan, there remains a constant threat of a nuclear Iran or an EMP from North Korea. There remains the continual threat of either Russia or China creating a disaster to look like it originated from North Korea or Iran. There’s even an ongoing possibility that the troll farms will stoke the fires of civil war and sow the seeds of division so profoundly that the only harvest is chaos and neighbor turning on neighbor. The instability out there will impact you in your hometown, despite being thousands of miles from any direct conflict zone. The face of war is different. The fog of war is more significant. The famous Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz said, “three-quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty.” This is still true today. The only difference is the fog of uncertainty has gotten much thicker. The visibility to see clear enemies who are clearly responsible has become more difficult. The likelihood of entering a war without a clear enemy is very likely.
This is a new type of war, with unclear enemies, but raging in your own community and delivered to you daily in the media, over the internet, in higher prices for everything that becomes in short or threatened supply, and in the form of protests and conflicts in your city streets encouraged by foreign adversaries. As this escalates, some governments will change. Well-intended leaders will be demonized and defeated. We have seen it happen in several former soviet-bloc countries, but it can just as easily occur through the same tactics in your country. Make no mistake about it, Krushev’s prophetic statement in 1956 has become a full-blown war strategy and is being implemented around you every day.
HOW CAN YOU PREPARE? STEPS TO TAKE NOW
There isn’t anything you can do to divert the course of geopolitical conflict when secret hackers and troll farms are fighting those conflicts. There is little that even your government can overtly do to countries they know and have evidence of being directly involved in cyberattacks or instigating disputes and protests in free nations. Whether you voted red, blue, orange, green, or purple won’t matter when the power goes out. None of that will matter when Russia rolls troops into Ukraine or China lands troops on the beaches of Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, or Malaysia. What cause or protest you join won’t matter when the flow of natural gas through pipelines is halted, the byproduct of fertilizer is depleted, agricultural yields plummet, and the world is starving. Most of the world’s grain reserves are held or controlled by just three nations. One of those is China. Another is Russia. What happens when one of those countries doesn’t get its way? Still, with all of these potential problems, some of the same ways we have mobilized for previous world wars apply to our situation now.
From a prepper’s standpoint, you need to prepare as if the war is already happening because, as we have pointed out, it already is, and it is intensifying. Focus on the eight pillars of prepping: shelter, food, water, energy, medical needs, security, communication, and community. Examine each as if we are engaged in another world war. Do you have enough stored food and locally produced food supply chains to keep you in food when the global supply chains fail and international food inventories plummet? Should this be the year you learn to sprout greens, plant your Victory garden, start a community garden, or focus on making local connections for grown food? You can probably compensate for not getting grapes from Mexico or Asparagus from Peru, but what will you do when you can’t get corn, wheat, oats, or rice? What will you do when there is a shortage of raw ingredients in all your processed and manufactured foods?
What will you do when there isn’t enough grain to feed the ranching and meat industries, herds are purposefully thinned, supplies plummet, and the price of everything you want to eat skyrockets? If you think your grocery bill is high now, it will seem like an easy street compared to when production stops or is knocked off-kilter worse than it was at the height of the pandemic and amidst ransomware attacks. Your solution is to get local, grow your own foods to substitute for reduced supply, and store enough food for 3-months or more. Learning to forage, cook, hunt, and fish will also help. If your space permits, perhaps this is the year you establish your small chicken coop.
When the power goes out because the power provider’s systems are seized up, sabotaged by a foreign adversary, or pipelines are shut down over geopolitical conflicts, you will have to function with no energy or reduced capacity of only what you can generate. If you need to heat your home in the winter or cool it in the summer, you might have an actual health and safety issue. Most modern home construction is decently insulated but lacks a fireplace or anywhere to burn biomass. You have to have even a minimal capability for grid independence. If you were on minimal power, could you get by for an indeterminate amount of time with renewable power such as a solar panel array and a battery system?
If the municipal water source is tainted, back flowed with sewage, or stops altogether, you will need your own supply of water. You will need the means to boil your water with the power out. You will need the means to harvest, filter, and treat water from wild sources. You will need medicines and medical knowledge for yourself or your community, and you will need some community. If the propaganda and misinformation troll farms are successful, neighbors will turn against neighbors. We already see that, so maybe they are already successful. It’s the community and the strong network you build now, regardless of other people’s beliefs or politics, that will get you through when the chips are all down.
Finally, whatever happens, and no matter how bad it gets, you need to keep safe and be able to communicate through the fog of this new war. If the conflict is at your doorstep, you need to make sure you are in communication with others in your network and others in your group. Maintaining contact allows you to cut through the fog of war. Your security takes you from being a soft target to a hard target, and it is always the soft target that will be targeted first.
Take these practical steps. As a prepper, focus on the eight pillars and approach them with these three things in mind. Stay calm, build or work from an actionable plan, and implement your plan daily. A little time, energy, and resources applied each day will get you to your goal. Prepping isn’t a race; it’s a marathon. You have to build slowly over time and make where you are when disaster strikes what you have to work with to get you through to a better day. The best time to prep was a year or more ago. The next best time is right now– today. Be pragmatic. Remain level-headed, and focus intently on what you need to do today. Get a plan now and act on it now. If you wait for longer, you may find that getting the things you need will be harder and at a greater cost.
In a time of globally dispersed armaments, high-altitude nuclear blast potential, and hypersonic missiles, any massive nuclear threat carries with it the prospect of mutual destruction and a poisoned planet. Though not impossible, the probability of these conventional forms of war is, in my opinion, lower. The world has seen world wars before. They happened when our resources weren’t streamlined into a single supply chain. They happened when we weren’t as deeply divided and so vehemently in opposition to each other. They happened when the enemy was more precise and the causes more certain. Perhaps nothing will happen. Possibly diplomacy and saber-rattling will keep the peace. Maybe the threat of overt and covert retaliation will carry too many perceived consequences and keep a steady calm. We can hope, but we can also prep like that won’t be the case, and we would be prudent to do so.
At the very least, you need to prep as if war is coming to your doorstep. We can still learn from the lessons of how our ancestors dealt with war to light our own path of preparedness. What do you think? Are we already engaged in a battle that we just haven’t seen play out in conventional forms? Do you have family members who survived through a war? What was their most significant asset? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We try to read the comments and respond to them when we can, typically within the first hour of releasing a video. Please consider subscribing to the channel if you’d like to be notified when we release a video and give this blog a thumb-up to help the channel grow.
As always, stay safe out there.