Beijing’s response to the unfavorable South China Sea arbitration outcome has highlighted an important aspect of its military strategy, the “three warfares” (三战).
Consisting of public opinion warfare (舆论战), psychological warfare (心理战), and legal warfare (法律战), the three warfares have been critical components of China’s strategic approach in the South China Sea and beyond.
On July 12, a tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague issued its long-awaited ruling on Manila’s case against Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea. How many countries recognize the decision as legally binding on both parties and call for it to be respected will determine its ultimate value, as international pressure is the court’s only enforcement mechanism.
The Russian government uses disinformation, incitement to violence and hate speech to destroy trust, sap morale, degrade the information space, erode public discourse and increase partisanship. Our ability to respond is constrained by the mainstream media’s loss of reach and impact. Its myth-busting and fact-checking reaches only a limited audience—and probably not the one the Kremlin is targeting. The response involves a contradiction: our approach must be tailored to di erent audiences, yet must also seek to build trust between polarized groups.