Is the US Information War With Putin Working?

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The US is declassifying intelligence about Putin’s possible moves in order to head off an invasion. But is it playing into Putin’s hands?

  • US President Joe Biden’s administration has been trying to prevent a Russian invasion of Ukraine by declassifying US intelligence and exposing alleged Kremlin plots before they happen.
  • It’s for this reason that the US—along with the UK—has warned of a series of potential Kremlin plots to fabricate a pretext to invade Ukraine. The warnings have often been very specific.
  • The US, for instance, warned Russia may disseminate a “very graphic” fake video depicting mass casualties, and warned that the Kremlin may attempt to install a puppet government in Ukraine.
  • US officials' thinking is that by revealing possible plots ahead of time—even if the plots don't come to pass—they can stop or reduce the effectiveness of Russian plans.
  • But the strategy comes with risks. The US warned Russia could strike Ukraine on February 16. It did not happen. This allowed the Kremlin to depict the US as hysterical and lacking credibility.
  • This raises the question of whether the constant warnings of Russian plots and imminent invasion are foiling the Kremlin by removing the element of surprise, or just further inflaming tensions.
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