Barely a month after the riot on the Capitol Building, the United States is no more adept at fending off foreign information operations than it was four years ago, when “fake news” and “information operations” became household terms. Why has the United States been so slow to adapt, and what can it do to reverse the tide?
In How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict (Bloomsbury, 2020), Nina Jankowicz, a Disinformation Fellow at the Wilson Center, explores how five central and eastern European countries have fared in their battles against Russian information operations. Though Estonia, Georgia, Poland, Ukraine and the Czech Republic still have their struggles, each has lessons to offer the United States—if only it would listen.
On this episode, I talk with Nina about what makes Russian information operations so effective, how victims should repair their information ecosystems, and what Alexei Navalny can teach the West about waging information battles against the Kremlin.
Please be advised: We get a surprise guest in the middle of the podcast, when Nina’s dog makes a quick cameo!
John Sakellariadis is a 2020-2021 Fulbright US Student Research Grantee. He holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia and a Bachelor’s degree in History & Literature from Harvard University.