The US will soon launch an “information war” to counter the Chinese propaganda being used to increase Beijing’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region, reports suggest.
The US has reportedly decided to constitute a joint task force to counter China’s growing influence gained through its meticulous information operations in the Indo-Pacific.
The idea was first revealed by General Richard Clarke, who heads the Special Operations Command, in March in a House Armed Services Committee meeting, during which he said the US needed to counter China’s information operations.
According to the military website C4ISRNET, the joint task force will focus on information and influence operations in the Indo-Pacific region.
The team will work with like-minded partners in the region, Clarke was quoted as saying by C4ISRNET. “We actually are able to tamp down some of the disinformation that they [China] continuously sow,” he said.
Also, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defence for special operations/ low-intensity conflict, Christopher Maier had said that adversary use of disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda presents one of the greatest challenges to the US.
“Adversary use of disinformation, misinformation and propaganda poses one of today’s greatest challenges to the United States, not just to the Department of Defence,” Maier was quoted as saying in media reports.
“With first-mover advantage and by flooding the information environment with deliberated and manipulated information that is mostly truthful with carefully crafted deceptive elements, these actors can gain leverage to threaten our interest,” he added.
Song Zhongping, a former Chinese PLA instructor and Hong Kong-based military affairs commentator, told the South China Morning Post that the US is looking to know more about the PLA, and China should strengthen the security of military installations and prevent infiltration.
On the other hand, Malcolm Davis, a senior defense analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, is of the view that the US’ latest move is a clear indication of America’s concerns over Chinese media and information operations in relation to public opinion, adding that “information war will intensify”.
US President Joe Biden recently stated that he has told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that the US will maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific “not to start conflict, but to prevent conflict”.
“I told President Xi that we will maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific just as we do with NATO in Europe, not to start conflict, but to prevent conflict,” Biden said in his first speech to a joint session of Congress.
However, Biden made it clear that the US will stand up to “unfair” trade practices that undercut American workers and industries. According to a PTI report, Biden also said that he told Xi what he has said to many world leaders – that America won’t back away from its commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms.