FICA (Foreign Interference Countermeasures Act) is a law which gives authorities the power to directly address covert hostile attempts by foreign entities, which seek to interfere with domestic politics. This is a lot more important than you think, and serves to protect our national security. Here are some general examples of such actions;
- Artificially amplifying certain views on hot-button issues to manipulate public opinion
- Stirring up discord and unrest amongst the public
- Undermining confidence of the public in institutions
In case your imagination is a very much limited one, we’ll explain this to you two ways. A metaphorical daily life scenario, and an actual real-life example of what has happened beyond out shores, where foreign interference has had a huge impact.
If FICA was applied at home…
(Btw all characters are fictional and any resemblance to any persons is purely coincidental ok.)
Jayden and Christabel have been dating for 7 years now, since they met in NUT. Jayden has plans to propose to Christabel soon and hopes they can get married next year. If she accepts his proposal of course.
Jayden has an ex-girlfriend, Lauren, residing in Australia from his exchange days before Christabel. Lauren is slightly unstable and a bit of a narcissist. If she can’t be with Jayden, nobody can. She hears about Jayden’s stable relationship with Christabel and hears about his plans to propose to her from their mutual exchange friends.
Lauren now starts to make up rumors about Christabel to all of Jayden’s friends, by wildly exaggerating a small part of some comments that Christabel made a long time back on Facebook, which seems bigoted when taken out of context. Now all of Jayden’s friends don’t trust Christabel.
Lauren is also Facebook friends with Jayden’s mum, and so she took the opportunity to share one of Christabel’s post where she said that dogs are better than babies. Lauren added a statement about not ever wanting children in her post. Jayden’s mum sees the post and now wildly disapproves of Christabel.
Do you think what Lauren did was right? And should she be stopped from interfering in a relationship for her own benefit?
The effect of social media in matters happening beyond our shores…
In this day and age, most wars are not fought on the actual physical battlefield. They’re fought on the internet. When one country decides what the other country is doing doesn’t particularly benefit them, that country usually tries to intervene in a covert manner via social media channels.
Gone are the days where you’d expect every single ‘person’ on Facebook to be real. If a scammer or online SJW wanted to, they could easily create an unlimited number of Facebook profiles to utilize at their disposal. Now, imagine if a country wanted to do the same thing. It wouldn’t be difficult for them at all, and this is probably why Facebook has billions of fake accounts that it has to purge every now and then.
And recently, as Covid-19 vaccines were rolled out all over the world, an alarming number of anti-vaxxers took to social media to spread misinformation in a bid to dispel widespread fear of the vaccines.
To understand how foreign interference could play a role in politics, we’ll have to look at the world’s main character, the United States of America.
Everyone probably knows that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin is BFFs with former President of the United States, Donald Trump. And the main reason why Putin loved a Trump America, was pretty simple. The more disastrous and polarized the United States seems, the better it is for Russia. Main reason being that Russia would be seen as more reliable than the United States to the rest of the world.
Another obvious reason for Putin being a fan of a Trump America is obvious too – Russia’s goal through the years has always been to undermine democratic systems of government all around the world. Trump, being a Republican, was the ideal Presidential candidate in Russia’s eyes.
It’s no surprise and was almost expected that Russia would try to interfere with the American elections.
Russia was quick to make its play via social media in a covert manner. But it was only a matter of time before their attempts and the attempts of other countries’ to interfere in the United States Presidential Elections.
It’s all too easy to launch a covert mission via the internet. More often than not, it’s never detected until its already done and dusted. A Vox article details the examples of such attempts and we strongly encourage that you check if out if you’re still not convinced.
And guess what? Foreign interference is already happening here, specifically in a bid to stop FICA.
A non-profit organization in New York, America, which claims to be the “Human Rights Watch” put out an article on why the Singapore Government should “withdraw FICA”.
Well, firstly, this is more of a matter of national security than it is a human rights issue. FICA serves to protect the humans of Singapore, not humans of United States, and humans all around the world who want to kehpo with our domestic politics. And secondly, isn’t this organization proving our points exactly?
Food for thought: when a foreign power tries to interfere with Singapore politics, and puts out covert content online to brainwash Singaporeans into parroting their narratives… wouldn’t that itself be a violation of human rights? When an individual is influenced by countless of unverified news sources and content online, it hardly ever feels like they were ‘forced’ to advocate for the same causes as well. They were just slowly conditioned to feel and react that way.
Just look at what has happened on Telegram with anti-vaxxer groups in Singapore. Are all anti-vaxxers forced to abstain from getting the Covid-19 vaccine? No. It all always starts with one guy, and a catalyst/influencer who has the means and reach to push forth harmful narratives. In this case, a western politician dabbling in Singapore’s politics:
So before you jump on the woke bandwagon to oppose FICA, we implore you to just take a beat. Do your own research, see how foreign interference has an impact around the world while keeping in mind that Singapore isn’t immune to the same threats. Then form your own opinion instead of sharing that viral post on your IG stories just to be ‘in the loop’.