Venezuela and the Thesis of Constructive Chaos
By Juan Eduardo Romero | Alainet.org
Translated to English by Les Blough, Axis of Logic
Monday, Apr 9, 2018
|What is Constructive Chaos?
The thesis of Constructive Chaos (CC) is a the geopolitical approach of one of the main advisors in foreign policy of the USA: Zbigniew Brzezinski who formulated it essentially to explain the geostrategic efforts to alter the geographical organization in the space of the Arabian Peninsula, as part of a line of action that will seek to maintain greater control over the important energy resources of the area.
Constructive chaos sustains the need to encourage and support violent conflicts, economic and/or social crises in order to promote the harassment and overthrow of a government confronted with the strategic and security interests of the US or failing that, to promote a fragmentation of their territory with the aim of placing “allied governments” in the geographical spaces arising from secessionist actions.
In theoretical and paradigmatic terms, the theory of constructive chaos makes use of diverse approaches. The first one, is sustained in the ideas and expositions of the North American theoretician Shermant Kent, in the text “Strategic Intelligence for the North American world policy,” written in 1949, that maintained that the next wars that the US would have to fight, would imply weapons not identified with them: “blockade, freezing of funds, boycott, embargo and blacklist on the one hand; the subsidies, the loans, the bilateral treaties, the barter and the commercial agreements on the other”. It is what is also known as “soft power” or the use of diplomatic pressure mechanisms, taking advantage of the structure of world power in the world-system.
The significant thing of this first theoretical pivot is that through the assumptions held by Kent in his work, a set of actions that mark the making of US foreign policy are generated to this day.This strategic intelligence is currently correlated through what some have called cyber-geopolitics or the use of elements of Fourth Generation War applied to the subject of security. What is known are the warnings made by both Snowden and Assange about the cybernetic and computer control that have reached the special forces of the US and collective imperialism.
A second paradigmatic basis of the Constructive Chaos is conformed by the contributions of the theoretician Gene Shard in his work “From Dictatorship to Democracy”. There a set of action methods are proposed, to be precise an action in five (5) steps to destabilize a Government, namely:
In the case of Venezuela, we have indicated how some of these actions have been carried out, seeking to increase the conflict and violence in the country.
- generate and promote a climate of discomfort,
- an intense campaign in defense of “freedom of the press and of human rights”, accompanied by denunciations of totalitarianism and authoritarianism by the Government that is the object of the action,
- a struggle for political and social demands as well as the promotion of violent demonstrations and protests, threatening institutions or political figures,
- psychological warfare operations (PSYOPS) and destabilization of the government through mobilizations that promote “ungovernability” and
- force the “resignation” of the president or head of government and the preparation of a military intervention through the international isolation of the country.
A third theoretical floor is the derivative of the so-called psychological operations (PSYOPS). Its origins go back to the text The Art of War by Sun Tzu, which proposed “Fighting and winning battles is not the supreme excellence, but the supreme excellence consists in winning battles without fighting … all the art of war it is based on the use of deception, that is total war thanks to falsehoods and lies.”
The Psychological Operations can be defined as “the set of psychological activities planned in peace, crisis and war, aimed at enemy, friendly or neutral audiences to influence attitudes and behaviors that affect the achievement of military and political objectives.” PSYOPS seek to develop what they call the “persuasion line,” which is a technique used to induce a desired reaction from an objective audience and represents the strategy that pursues a certain psychological objective. It is accompanied with an approach of topics, which is the idea or subject matter of the persuasion line.
These three elements are the conceptual basis from which the entire weight of the executing praxis of Constructive Chaos is structured, as a mechanism implemented in non-conventional war scenarios, which in our opinion are used at present in Venezuela.
Why apply the Constructive Chaos against Venezuela?
The main reason arises again from the most influential “thinking tank” at the moment within North American foreign policy: Zbigniew Brzezinski. The essential point that justifies it is the loss of the unilateral capacity of the US to impose order on the world-system. Since 1971 Brezinski has been arguing that the US should generate a “New World Order,” based on an association with the European Community and Japan, as he stated in his book “Between Two Ages: The Role of the US in the Technotronic Era”.
Fears of the inability of the US to impose order in a hegemonic sense, have full validity when confronted with the impact that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has had, founded in 2001 by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to which Uzbekistan has now joined. The growing closeness between Russia and China, which has generated the globalizing unilateralism advanced by the various US governments since Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) to the present, has become an alliance that threatens the supremacy that the US had enjoyed since the crisis of the former USSR in the last decades of the the 20th century.
The alleged hegemony sustained through the so-called Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which sought to impose itself on the traditional allies of the USA (European Union and Japan) as well as on its historical adversaries (China and Russia), was seriously compromised so far in the 21st century. Russia and China have had an approach based on the aggressive attitude that the collective imperialism (USA, European Union and Japan) has had through NATO in the vicinity of their living space. The pressure that the imperialists have exerted so much, militarily and economically in the east (Sea of Japan and China) as in the west (Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Estonia, Litonia, Czech Republic, among others), has resulted in a strategic pact between Russia-China whose common objective is to stop the threats that the US and its allies have developed against them. Those unilateral and globalist pretensions have achieved an unprecedented rapprochement with Russia, unthinkable since China emerged as a power with Mao Zedong in 1949.
On the other hand, the economic impulse that Russia and China have achieved in the world during the last decade and particularly in Latin America is undeniable, entering into a dispute with the US in what the US has considered their traditional – and historical – “backyard”. The clash of Russia-China with the US-EU-Japan alliance in what is known as global commons (common spaces) is notorious. Among those common spaces between which Russia and China have emerged is Venezuela.
The difficulties faced by the US to maintain hegemonic control in maritime terms are seen in the Straits of Hormuz, Bab-el Mandeb and Malacca, as well as the dispute of control in cyberspace joined with the decline in economic growth compared to the Russia-China binomial.
The difficulties of disposition of natural resources and the loss of hegemony – or military supremacy – have placed the super elites in the USA and Europe in a state of alarm as they are confronted by the real geopolitical advances of Russia and China which challenge the power that the colossus of the north claims to maintain.
The perspective that the governments of Vladimir Putin and the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, have assimilated is of a EUROASIATIC unit. This geopolitical approach has its counterpart in a Slavic theorist: Alexander Dugin, who confronts the theses of Brzezinski arguing the need to overcome the old political theories. Dugin advocates the so-called Fourth Political Theory (FPT), which indicates the need to overcome the three (3) historical theories: fascism, liberalism and communism. As part of this geopolitical theory an approach has been generated – and sustained – between the EuroAsia powers who have advanced an important presence in economic and geopolitical terms in “Our America.”
Russia and China maintain a confrontation with the US and its allies (Europe and Japan) which puts Venezuela in the middle of that dispute. Our country has transmuted into a kind of “object of desire” of geopolitical confrontation. This is explained in the first place by the constitutional definition of an autonomous foreign policy within the framework of the approval of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (CRBV).
This framework of autonomous action, not aligned with the traditional subordinate role that Venezuela had had in the past, was advanced during the government of Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) – and is maintained during the Government of Nicolás Maduro – a geopolitical defense of natural resources and greater diplomatic autonomy which has been accompanied by alternatives to American supremacy in Our America, through initiatives such as CELAC, UNASUR; Petrocaribe and ALBA-TCP.
Second, there is the issue of military alignment. Venezuela has signed and advanced a strategic-military alliance with Russia and China which has allowed joint exercises but more importantly, the purchase of military equipment, from aircraft, radars, rifles, rocket launchers, missile launches and anti-air systems among others that place us at the center of the geostrategic dispute.
Thirdly, as a part of the reasons explained above, Venezuela has developed a greater sovereignty regarding the disposition of its natural resources and with it, it has distanced itself from the US which sees its Energy Security threatened. The thunderous failure that the unilateralist globalizing theses of the US plans to promote a constructive chaos in the Middle East has led it to observe with concern how the enormous strategic oil and gas reserves of Venezuela, calculated in about 3.3 billion barrels of extractable crude oil (based on the fact that in the Gulf of Venezuela there are some 543,000 million, about 1.3 billion in the Hugo Chavez Belt and about 1.5 billion in the mouth of the Essequibo River, the latter in dispute with the Cooperative Republic of Guyana), have been placed at the disposal of the capitals and interests of Russia and China.
Fourthly, in geopolitical terms Venezuela has spearheaded initiatives of counter-hegemonic resistance in South America and the Caribbean which have become an obstacle for the US and its allies to maintain the control they have exerted on these geographical spaces from the 19th century forward. To break the internal power structure in the country which undoubtedly is not aligned to the strategic interests of the USA, is a first-order military objective they have set and this explains the implementation of the theses of Constructive Chaos against us.
How is the Constructive Chaos against Venezuela applied?
So far, we have only defined what constitutes Constructive Chaos and why it has been developed against Venezuela, but we have not deciphered its operational DNA. We must say that it began in 2002 with an “experiential laboratory” that managed two (2) of the three theoretical levels serving as basis of Constructive Chaos theory: 1) Kent’s approaches on non-conventional warfare actions and 2) Gene Shard’s methods, on “nonviolent actions”.
When the theory was woven against Chávez between November 2001 (with the strike of Fedecamaras) and April 2002 (with the pronouncement of the military and the manipulation of images), an action that momentarily expelled Chávez from the exercise of power, the intelligence services of the the United States understood in the worst way that they could not change the popular will of the people with a simple handling of images so they had to work more deeply with psychological animosity in order to bring down the enormous popular roots of Chávez’s leadership.
The great lesson of the events of April 2002 was the possibility to exploit class and ethnic hatred against Chávez.
Chávez built a symbolic structure with the excluded population and transformed that association into a will to power which led him to triumph overwhelmingly in the election processes between 1999-2012 (with the only exception of the defeat of the Referendum for the 2007 constitutional reform). However, a deep cultural rupture between the middle class sectors that saw with indignation the policy of legal equality that Chávez advanced was evident. Class hatred as a political motivation to mobilize against the Bolivarian Project was a fact that arose empirically. This hatred was repeated in the oil strike that took place at the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003, but without evident success. The calculation had failed but what had caused it to fail?The answer: the leadership and identification of Chávez with the excluded groups. It was necessary to undermine that leadership and a whole new dynamic began, which was based exclusively on the assumptions and indications of Gene Shard and on the support through Psychological Operations (PSYOPS).
Heriberto Gónzalez, psychologist, has explained very well the process of manipulation that has been advanced since then. He initiated a dynamic of softening and penetration of the psyche of electoral support of Chávez and the PSUV. What contributed to this was the liberal mechanisms characteristic of the Venezuelan rentistic culture which are still valid and have not been dismantled.
The articulation of the strategies of “resistance and mobilization” raised by Shard in his book (including more than 190 actions that can be executed) began to be carried out, with progressivity. However, Chavez himself had denounced them and warned about these efforts which together developed internal political and economic actors with external communication and support. However, in the period from the first efforts in 2002 to Chávez’ denunciation in June 2007 the various intelligence agencies managed to identify actors, organizations and institutions that could be “touched”, in order to be used for destabilization. The only thing they did not have was the impact that the defense policy of oil sovereignty had on the quality of life of Venezuelans.
The political activist and researcher, Carlos Lanz, has written about the actions related to the application of Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) since 2007 and the employed strategies of disinformation and confusion. It is key to highlight his work – due to its connection with what is happening in Venezuela today – what he calls informational distortions which are based on manipulation through “perception management via news”, promoted by informational networks (audiovisual or digital).
It seeks to generate the fragmentation of reality, the generalization of situations, silencing and censuring that end up “weakening” the cultural or historical beliefs or preferences that allowed political identification with Chávez and the Bolivarian project. The communicative capacity and political clarity of Chávez dismantled those actions, most of the time warning the people directly through his media presence. In our opinion, Chávez himself was a great obstacle to the successful development of the PSYOPS in Venezuela, which is why his “physical elimination” was necessary.
The breaking point, this phase of “media softening” that occured in its beginnings in 2002 will be the beginning of his illness. In this regard it is important to highlight the hypotheses that have been constructed about the possibility of a covert operation aimed at the assassination of Chávez, about which we have written at another time. Chávez’s illness, elements of which indicate the possibility of having been induced, was treated with the tools of PSYOPS creating doubts, fear, despair, discouragement, sadness.
It deals with the concretion of the three theoretical bases of Constructive Chaos: a) strategic manipulation of intelligence, b) unconventional methods of Gene Shard, and c) psychological operations of softening. The first phase was tested and advanced, between 2002 and 2013. As of March 2013, the definitive stage began, which coincides with steps 1 to 3 of Shard (creating discontent, a campaign to denounce human rights and violent protests) but complemented with the creation of situational social discontent, linked to shortages, hoarding, the generalization of reality (“with Chávez this did not happen”, “Maduro is not Chávez”, “socialism has failed”). Steps 4 and 5 (psychological operations of mobilization, conflict and achievement and finally, resignation) are the actions that are being executed at this moment.
Several researchers from the economic area have shown how the problems of induced inflation, the increased bolivar/dollar disparity and scarcity of basic basket products through hoarding have to do with perfectly articulated actions to generate a climate of turmoil and discontent. It was the perfect complement to start the application stage of Constructive Chaos in Venezuela. What conditions exist for it? The answer is multiple. In the first place, the physical absence of Chavez and the impact generated by his communicative force. Despite the efforts of Nicolás Maduro and his team, the campaign against his government and the effects on Venezuelan public opinion are notorious. The media bombardment is constant, highlighting the errors, minimizing the successes of the management, segmenting the information to affect the different sectors according to their social and cultural preferences.
Secondly, the effects of the application of Kent’s theory guidelines on strategic intelligence, aimed at “discovering” the weaknesses. In our case, a rentier culture that was not dismantled and that produced many who claimed to be “chavistas” but only when the State and the Bolivarian Government favored them with one of their social policies. That was driven by the informational distortion and the generalization of news, as weapons of unconventional warfare.
In third place, the internal weaknesses, marked by the survival of a clientelism disguised within the PSUV’s militancy, which is fed by the disinformation campaign and by a bureaucracy threatening the continuity of the Bolivarian project. These internal weaknesses are maximized through the repetition in the various media of errors, omissions and corruption that exist without a doubt, but at the same time, advances and achievements made in social or infrastructure matters or our own actions to imprison officials who fall into corruption are all minimized.
Fourth, the constructive chaos seeks the modification of power relations or failing that, the division of territory in order to achieve a separatism with the objective of controlling strategic natural resources.
In the case of Venezuela, it is not fortuitous that these actions of constructive chaos have very important foci on the border with Colombia. It has been firmly pointed out that the covert actions carried out with the consent of the Government of Colombia, through control exercised by the paramilitary forces over illegal activities on the border, are associated with a secession plan that is not new and warnings of it have been repeated over time.
This is particularly worrisome; as a vital focus of the success of the application of Constructive Chaos, its geographic sphere of action is in the Zulia and Falcon States on the Colombian border. They contain some essential geostrategic elements. One, the geographical proximity – in terms of living space – of those entities with a military center that includes a strong presence of US and NATO troops. Colombia and the Netherlands Antilles (Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire) have military bases which with troops from the US Southern Command and also from NATO have a high capacity for firepower and mobilization.
If that is not enough, in these spaces there has been historically the presence of a feeling for secessionism which can serve as a breeding ground to promote the separation of these entities through the penetration that has been done through Protestant churches – with strong economic ties in the US- and the presence of factors linked to Zionism (actors linked to Zionism with strong economic power have had a constant presence in Coro and Punto Fijo and have caused political unrest in the past). The secessionism that is promoted as part of that Constructive Chaos in Falcón and Zulia, would allow control over the 543,000 million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Venezuela as well as the reserves of more than 26,000 million of the Lake of Maracaibo together with the gas reserves located in the area, with which the US and the Collective Imperialism would see alleviating their energy security problems.
Third, these entities have been the epicenter of the actions of the opposition to the Government of Nicolás Maduro and the strength of the opposition actors is undeniable despite the fact that the political power in both territories is exercised by militant state governors of the PSUV as is the case of Francisco Arias Cárdenas in Zulia or Stella Lugo in Falcón. Despite these two governorships, their state capitals are under the political control of the opposition where the capacity to mobilize is concentrated.
Finally, it is significant to note that everything leads us to warn how the strategies of manipulation and information distortion, creation of negative matrices, opposition mobilizations and acts of provocation seek to raise conflict and lead to the formation of a kind of beachhead in the west of the country which promotes the international political isolation of Venezuela and facilitates a wide-ranging intervention as has been pointed out in various intelligence documents aimed at finally overthrowing the Government of Nicolás Maduro Moros, with the participation of the Southern Command of the USA .
Juan Eduardo Romero J. is a professor and researcher at the University of Zulia. Director of the Center for Research and Political and Strategic Studies (CIEPES). Member of the Team of the Vice Presidency of International Affairs of the PSUV. Coordinator of the Network History, memory and heritage in the State of Zulia. Member of the Colectivo de Formación Combates por la Historia. Juane1208@gmail.com
Original Spanish language URL
Translation to English by Les Blough, Axis of Logic
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