In regione caecorum rex est luscus
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King
by Desiderius Erasmus, a GSL member

In examining military history throughout the ages, it becomes clear that deception is a big component in success. The most formidable generals were skilled at concealing where, and in what strength, they were going to attack – often taking actions so that the “real” attack would occur somewhere else. When the enemy redeployed their own forces to meet that expected threat, they found that they had been tricked again – and went down to defeat.

Years ago, an Israeli army colonel made the whole concept of deception really clear for me in just one sentence: “You have to give the enemy the smell he likes.” What he meant by that was that your deception plan must reinforce what the enemy “wants” to believe is ground truth, because that gets them halfway to believing it before you even start, plus it will not require every little facet in the deception plan to be perfect.

Here’s a great example: the 1944 Invasion of Normandy. The Allies could have invaded anywhere on the French coast, but their analysis showed that the beaches in Normandy were excellent, and the sea route from southern British ports, near which the American army was based in England, was away from enemy air assets in northern France, as well as Germany, just in case the Germans brought in reinforcements from Russia. However, a big problem was that too many German units were still near Normandy, and might be able to quickly counterattack the invasion in the first few hours, driving it back into the sea. Somehow, the Germans had to be convinced that the invasion would occur somewhere else.

So General Eisenhower, with the full support of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, a man who loved the intrigue of deception operations, gave the Germans “the smell they liked.” In 1940, as the German army defeated France and drove the British army off the continent at Dunkirk, the German High Command planned for Operation Sealion, an invasion across the English Channel to the southeast coast of Great Britain, generally landing between Brighton and Dover. Why here? Because the English Channel between Calais, France and Dover, England is just over 20 miles wide; thus the Germans felt they could cross quickly before the powerful British Royal Navy could stop them. The invasion never happened, but the German generals and Hitler, thought it was a sound plan, based on correct military logic.

Four years later, the Allies knew that. They knew that the distance to Normandy from the English ports was between 90 and 120 miles, and that the Germans had raised that as an issue in 1940. So the Allies developed a deception plan that portrayed that they would land – not at Normandy – but at Calais, the same place that the Germans would have invaded from! It was a monumental deception effort, but the Germans bought it – hook, line, and sinker – in part because they loved the “smell” of the Calais-Dover invasion route.

Fast forward to now. Our most-significant enemy today is not Nazi Germany, but Communist China. The Chinese no doubt have a sophisticated military that could probably whip all but one country in the world, but they know that our military is superior to their own; they know that the US still has a large industrial base; they know that our education system turns out scientists, engineers and other skilled graduates vastly superior to theirs – which is why they send tens and tens of thousands of students every year to college here: about 5,000 just to the U of I at Champaign. In fact, one U.S.-based journalist recently headlined it the “University of China at Illinois.”

Unfortunately for the U.S., Chinese military leaders, from Sun Tzu to sunrise today, have taken deception operations past anything that Eisenhower or Churchill could imagine.

For example, TikTok. Immensely popular, available in 40 languages, features user-submitted videos ranging from three seconds to about ten minutes (perfect for attention-challenged viewers), accessed with a smart phone app, downloaded billions of times (estimates are there will be 1.8 billion monthly active users by the end of 2024). And, by the way, it was developed by Beijing Microlive Vision Technology, and owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance.

TikTok could be benign. But a good argument can be made that TikTok has characteristics of a psychological operation (Psyop), that is centered on a deception plan featuring “giving the enemy the smell he likes.” Let’s face it, a whole lot of people in our country are disillusioned, disheartened, dislike their country’s history, distrust their country’s leaders, displeased with our Constitution, discontented with the prospects for their future, dissatisfied with their current life – and yearn for a quick, easy, click on a short video that reinforces their beliefs that they live in a miserable time, in a miserable place, and that they are not alone. Once viewers start accessing these videos, they get more and more, because TikTok knows what they like.

So what could be the Chinese goal to be advanced by TikTok? Let’s just take some guesses: don’t enlist in the military; portray everyone in the US as racist; drop out of school; attack law enforcement; go on welfare rather than work; use alcohol and drugs to take your mind off how bad you have it; get rich quick by gambling; commit suicide; hurt yourself, such as undergoing drastic sex-change operations that can never fully be reversed.

The Chinese don’t even have to create the videos; the foolish, depressed Americans are doing that for free, so they can be Internet “Influencers.”

Hey China! Invent a cellphone that smells like a pizza and you’re home free! Just give the Americans the smell they like.

6 thoughts on “Give the enemy the smell he likes”
  1. That’s cute that you think our biggest enemy is on the other side of the planet.

    And not the clown world overlords that have completely taken over our invaded and degraded country.

    1. Or that our military is superior to China’s. Or that the U.S. still has a large industrial base.

    1. Considering the corruption and incompetence of the current tools running DC, (and Illinois)
      might give one pause in choosing sides.

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