How to Lose the Information War
Since the start of the Trump era, the United States and the Western world has finally begun to wake up to the threat of online warfare and the attacks from Russia, who flood social media with disinformation, and circulate false and misleading information to fuel fake narratives and make the case for illegal warfare. The question no one seems to be able to answer is: what can the West do about it?
Central and Eastern European states, including Ukraine and Poland, however, have been aware of the threat for years. Nina Jankowicz has advised these governments on the front lines of the information war. The lessons she learnt from that fight, and from her attempts to get US congress to act, make for essential reading.
How to Lose the Information War takes the reader on a journey through five Western governments’ responses to Russian information warfare tactics – all of which have failed. She journeys into the campaigns the Russian operatives run, and shows how we can better understand the motivations behind these attacks and how to beat them. Above all, this book shows what is at stake: the future of civil discourse and democracy, and the value of truth itself.
A persuasive new book on disinformation as a geopolitical strategy. * The New Yorker * How to Lose the Information War is required reading to understand the shape of the 2020s. It's a window into a reality we all kind of sensed, but lacked words or understanding to really process. * Forbes * [Nina Jankowicz's] suggested tactics to help win the information war are thought provoking; it's a complex and difficult path forward but one vital to preserve democracy and truth itself. * Brian Maye, The Irish Times * [How to Lose the Information War] offers an excellent guide on the [information warfare] lessons that should have been learned from our European partners provides a pathway forward. * Diplomatic Courier * If there is just one point to glean from Nina Jankowicz's How to Lose the Information War, it is this: The threats that disinformation campaigns present democracies do not occur in a vacuum. The intentionally false or distorted information flowing out of places like Russia and China, and aimed at nations from North America to Africa to Europe, is part of a larger effort to prey upon divisions, especially within democratic societies. For that reason, whatever strategy a nation employs to counter bots, trolls, and outright lies must go together with a robust civic renewal effort. Otherwise, the Woodrow Wilson Center scholar writes, democracies will play a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. * George W. Bush Presidential Center * An important introduction to the topic [of Russian interference]. * The Clarion-Ledger * An elegant, straightforward and fluent account of the most serious challenge that the liberal democratic order has had to face in at least two generations. * Eurasian Geography and Economics * Timely, exceptionally well organized and presented, How to Lose the Information War is an impressively formed and informative read... An extraordinary work of meticulous research. * Midwest Book Review * "As a journalist who has spent years covering the complex issue of information warfare I can confidently say that this book is a must-read for our age. This outstanding work forensically details and analyses the past decade-plus of Russia's influence operations and their inexorable spread to the United States. The Kremlin's threat is an urgent one and we are in desperate need of more authors like Jankowicz. Her expertise is grounded in an intimate knowledge of information warfare that only those who have experienced it firsthand can claim, and this book is, accordingly, an exceptional achievement." -- David Patrikarakos, author of 'War in 140 Characters' At this moment of economic and political crisis, as disinformation spirals out of control, Nina Jankowicz take a closer look at how different countries have sought to cope with the onslaught. She takes us to the front lines of the information war, offering a clear and accessible account of what's been tried, what works and what doesn't. * Anne Applebaum, author of Gulag: A History (2003) and Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine (2017) * In this wide-ranging and sobering account of Russian information operations in Europe and the United States, Nina Jankowicz sounds a clear warning: unless politicians reassess their campaign tactics and seek to diminish, rather than exacerbate, the fissures that exist within their own societies, the West will remain vulnerable to domestic and foreign groups seeking to undermine democracy. * Angela Stent, author of Putin's World: Russia Against the West and with the Rest (2019) * Nina Jankowicz has written an essential account of the contemporary information war waged by Russia. Read to the end, because after a deep analysis of key case studies, she wisely eschews simple solutions, knowing that disinformation is not merely about Russian operations or online platform rules but also about the resilience of democratic institutions themselves. * David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression * Jankowicz's book comes out at a really apt and important time. Information and data-based opinions are extremely important at this time and this book is well worth reading, particularly as it is impacting on all of our lives. * Irish Tech News * Exactly the perspective needed to highlight the high stakes and growing threat of disinformation... Reading How to Lose the Information War is beneficial not only to those in the national security community, but also to all citizens seeking to understand their information environment. Strong media literacy, as Jankowicz concludes, is crucial to a healthy democracy and is the first and most important step to winning the information war. * Joint Force Quarterly *
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