A year later and Russia still dominates the news around US elections. Investigations and political maneuvering over Russian influence in the last presidential continue at full tilt. The partisan wrangling, as tragically is often the case, makes it hard to get to the real heart and findings of the problem. But what we should be doing is just that—trying to find out exactly what happened. That means that we should search for the truth, regardless of where that takes the search and who is involved. If you are one that doesn’t agree then you can stop reading-justice is not the priority to you and you won’t agree with anything else.
This topic has been one that has been in the headlines for over a year now, and Thinking Man first shared his views shortly after the election in the article here: https://thinkingmanspolitics.com/2017/01/18/the-bottom-line-on-russian-hacking/
First, I think we can get pretty quickly to the answer to one question. Yes, Russia meddled in the last US election. And, further, we didn’t need all of the US intelligence agencies to tell us that. And further still, they will do it again and we don’t need anyone to tell us that, either. Russia and the Soviet Union (of whom it is just the descendant) have tried to insert themselves and influence US elections since the 1920’s. In the 1930’s they gave cash to FDR’s opponents, and at the height of the Cold War they provided almost all of the funding for the Communist Party USA, including their election expenses and independent money they spent on disinformation campaigns.
But we in the US aren’t that special. An international report says that in the last decade Russia has interfered in the elections in over fifty countries. Again, going back for decades, Russia has interfered in elections and the politics of countries all over the world in ways that are illegal and designed solely to promote their own interests. And we can add to that, the elections in Russia itself where President Vladimir Putin harasses opposition candidates, or has them disqualified or even locked up. And that is why Russia is, and the Soviet Union before it was, an enemy with values fundamentally different than our own.
So what about interference in the last election in the US? After the upset loss of Hillary Clinton, Democrats charged that the Russians had colluded with the Trump campaign to influence the election that resulted in his victory. And not without cause, as the President’s son met with several people with Russian connections after being told they had ‘dirt’ on Hillary. And there were enough more questions that a special prosecutor was appointed to look into Russian meddling.
But let’s look at the broader picture and all of what we know. We now know with certainty that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party paid for information on Trump from a firm with ties to Russia, and to a discredited former British intelligence officer who was passionately anti-Trump. And more recently, the New York Times-certainly not a Republican or conservative leaning outlet—reported that Russia had approached the National Security Agency during the campaign with information on candidate Trump.
As Senators Rubio and Graham, most notably, have said, we need to let the investigations play out and see what the findings turn out to be. There is a special prosecutor, who was appointed with –partisan support. He has had to fire some of his staff because of their overt biases, but there is work to be done, as no one can doubt that there was Russian involvement in the election. And what has also become pretty clear, is that the Russians did try to insert themselves in the last election. But it wasn’t just for one side, and it wasn’t just one side that dealt with them to try to gain an advantage, no matter what one side tries to say.
Russia was attempting to discredit democracy and the legitimacy of the electoral process. If they could do that, then the criticism of their rigged elections would have much less validity. So they wanted to create chaos and confusion and we can be confident they will try to do so in 2018, as well. It’s not right. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. And we should do everything we can to stop Russians ability to interfere. But it, unfortunately, isn’t something new.