Russian Tango

Russian Tango

Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 election have become a matter of public knowledge. Many details about this interference have not been released yet, but one of the avenues of interference was social media advertising disseminated by Russian intelligence operatives, most notably on Facebook and Twitter. The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD backed up what has been accepted by all American intelligence communities by acknowledging that they hacked a Russian bot farm and had digital and video proof of their interference.

Despite this, President Donald Trump has been tepid at best in acknowledging the Russian interference. After the the June 9th 2016 meeting between a Russian government agent and three Trump campaign senior advisers, Trump was adamant about not receiving help from the Russians and not being a lackey for Putin's interests. These claims run into some trouble when one acknowledges that Trump asked Russia to find Hillary Clinton's missing emails, which the Russians promptly began searching for. In addition, the fact that Trumps' foreign policy "strategy" largely mirrors Russian interests makes a quid-pro-quo seem all the more likely.

At the Helsinki meeting with President Vladimir Putin, Trump stated that he did not think that Russia was involved in influencing the 2016 election, counter to the analysis of American intelligence agencies. After the blistering condemnation Trump received from Republicans and Democrats alike for siding with an ex-KGB agent turned mob boss/politician, Trump read a scripted statement that claimed he misspoke one word in one sentence - that he intended to say "wouldn't" instead of "would" when he answered  "I don’t see any reason why it would be Russia", apparently under the impression that would reverse the 40 minutes he spent tiptoeing around election interferene. He would then pivot once more and state that the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election was a witch hunt and waste of taxpayer money - seemingly unable to make a distinction between meddling and collusion. 

Now, Trump is pivoting once more - Russia is interfering in American elections, and they are doing it to help Democrats. That the Russians were helping the Trump campaign's cause by releasing hacked emails from the DNC brings that judgment to question. It would also be counterproductive for Russia to assist a candidate that was extremely aggressive with Russia during her term as Secretary of State and was vocal about foreign interference during the 2016 campaign. Furthermore, this also makes the Republican's refusal to fund electoral security measures for the 2018 election very counter-intuitive. 

It is important to keep in mind what Russia's likely objective was for the 2016 election - it wanted to destabilize the United States so Russia could pursue its own interests unimpeded by American resistance. This is why the Facebook advertisements they took out were on all sides of the political spectrum - while the lion's share was in support of Republicans and Trump, there was also many for Black Lives Matter, Bernie Sanders, and other anti-Trump factions. The intention of fracturing America by promoting factionalism can most plainly be seen by how most advertisements utilized racial animosity explicitly or implicitly.

As such, when the 2018 election season starts to wind up, Russian promotion of Democrat candidates and causes wouldn't be unprecedented. Moreover, if Russia does want to destabilize America as much as possible, it would be in its interest to 'prove' Trump right by making their pro-Democrat efforts public and obvious. The concept of a deep state hostile to Trump is resonating as-is with his supporters - if Russia were to commit a false flag of sorts to legitimize Trump's claim, it would bring America that much closer to a civil war. That would definitely be in Russia's interests, and Putin being bathed in Soviet-era espionage training would know this. Whether this would work or not depends on the gullibility of the American public. 

The curse of "may you live in interesting times" is on all of us, and there are only so many missteps we can take before we can't return to the tranquility we have known.

Rhymes with Gracchus

Rhymes with Gracchus

Taming the Beast – Governance in the Past, Present and Future

Taming the Beast – Governance in the Past, Present and Future