7.3.4 Covert Interference
A country can threaten or harm other countries in hidden ways that are below the traditional threshold of armed conflict. The attacker doesn’t acknowledge responsibility for such covert interference: it is a deniable use of force.
Covert interventions are less likely to incur reprisals, and are therefore less risky, than overt military action. It may be hard to prove to the UN what is happening, so international law is an ineffective remedy. The affected countries are obliged to take their own countermeasures for Self-Protection.
As described in the following sub-sections, covert interventions can take the form of spying (220.127.116.11), assassinations (18.104.22.168), sabotage and cyber-attacks (22.214.171.124), helping resistance groups (126.96.36.199) or subversion, using fake news and propaganda (188.8.131.52). Russia, for example, has used all of these techniques to undermine Western interests.
This is a current page, updated since publication of Patterns of Power Edition 3a. An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/734a.htm