Zhongxi Yu, Li Fa & Zong Wei
Since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine occurred in February 2022, information and communication technology has not only played an important role in the frontal conflict but it has also become a key variable influencing the trend of the situation at the levels of information warfare and public opinion warfare.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is not just a contest between the two countries, but a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, strongly supported by the United States, Europe, and other western countries.
Developed countries, represented by the United States, have always monopolized the field of information and communication technology and made every effort to suppress developing countries, represented by China.
During the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, American ICT enterprises fully demonstrated their important role in the military field.
For other developing countries, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine should not only be viewed by bystanders, but also by the factors that endanger their own security.
At the level of frontal conflict, ICT enterprises have become the key to the communication infrastructure. Space X’s “Star link” helped Ukraine quickly recover its network communication system defeated by Russia.
Under such circumstances, the timeline of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been lengthened. This reflects the leading position of American science and technology enterprises in the field of information and communication.
On the one hand, it can be used as a guarantee of communication infrastructure, on the other hand, it can also be used as a weapon to attack the communication infrastructure of other countries.
For most developing countries that can’t launch communication satellites independently, it’s necessary to report to the group to warm up and cooperate in the construction of information and communication infrastructure, so as to prevent the country from “cutting off the network” when threatened or attacked by developed countries with advanced technology in the future.
At the level of information warfare and public opinion warfare, information, and communication technology, as a technology of manufacturing, transmitting, and processing information, not only affects the two armies involved in the conflict to obtain accurate information but also has a great influence on the people of the two countries and other countries in the world who did not participate in the conflict.
From the source of information, the true and false information is mixed, and the pictures or videos spread on the Internet may be forged, which gives both sides of the conflict the opportunity to support or oppose media hype.
With the number and influence of online social media users in the United States in absolute superiority, Russia is usually portrayed as a domineering “aggressor”, while Ukraine is a weak “victim”.
Public opinion orientation is easily influenced by online social media such as Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook. From the point of view of information transmission, due to the development of information and communication technology, both official media of various countries on the front line of conflicts and civilians who have experienced conflicts can publish live information through their own network channels, and the information transmission speed is extremely fast.
From the perspective of information processing, the relevant government departments need to collect and process the information transmitted from the outside world and identify the real and valuable information, which can be used as a reference for leaders to make decisions.
In this process, the information and communication technologies that will be used include big data, cloud computing, and so on.
As information and communication technology has been embedded in various fields of national development, in addition to the above functions, information and communication technology also played a key role in the process of deterrence and sanctions against Russia by the United States.
Microsoft, Google, etc. of the United States announced that they would stop providing services to Russia, which means that Russia is facing the risk of isolation, which reflects the fragility of the Russian Internet ecosystem.
In addition, the United States also requires its domestic leading chip companies to cut off their supply to Russia. The United States “applied both hard and soft”, starting with the core hardware (chips) and services of information and communication technology, made every effort to crack down on Russian information and communication technology, and also attempted to make Russia lose more thoroughly in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Generally speaking, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine exposed Russia’s shortcomings in the field of information and communication technology, and also showed the hegemonic position of the United States in the field of information and communication technology.
Most developing countries, including Pakistan, are actually facing the same disadvantage of insufficient development of communication technology. Pakistan should learn from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and actively develop its own information and communication technology to ensure its own homeland security.
As most developing countries, including Pakistan, are short of manpower, technology, and capital, and the development of information and communication technology requires higher requirements in these areas, Pakistan can cooperate with other developing countries to build open-source network infrastructure.
In addition, it is also necessary to improve the voice of Pakistan and developing countries in the formulation of international telecommunications regulations.
*Zhongxi Yu, Scholar, Yunnan University, P. R. China
*Li Fa, Senior Professor Business School & Dean at the Business School, Honghe University, P. R. China
*Zong Wei, Distinguished Research Fellow & Executive Director at the South Asian Studies Centre, Institute of Area Studies, Honghe University, P. R. China
**The Diplomatic Insight does not take any position on issues and the views represented herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Diplomatic Insight and its staff.