Donald Trump’s on-again, off-again acceptance of Vladimir Putin’s claim that Moscow didn’t interfere in the 2016 US presidential elections has the effect, like the focus on Watergate scandal during the Nixon Administration of distracting attention from something much larger and more evil.
In the case of what has come to be known as Watergate, the White House deployed the plumbers not so much to affect the outcome of the 1972 election, something that Nixon in fact had in the bag but rather to hide all the other illegal actions that the Nixon regime had engaged in earlier.
Something similar is happening again but this time concerning a foreign power’s interference in the United States. Most observers are focusing on the election alone, Russian likely at the Kremlin’s insistence and American because as in 1972 that seems 2016 seems the most important thing.
But in fact, as Russian commentator Yuliya Latynina, now living in exile, points out, Russia’s interference in last year’s elections in the United States was but a part of a larger “massive, systematic, and long-standing terrorist act” against the Americans and their political system.
[quote]At the Kremlin’s direction, Russia “has tried to rape the very fabric of social life of the US,” interfering not only in the elections but in race relations and any other place where Moscow felt it could exploit divisions within American society to weaken its adversary, even as it continued to call for “business as usual” between Moscow and Washington.[/quote]
“Someone advised Putin to conduct information war directly on the territory of the US,” much as it has for decades in the Third World and Europe. “Why is a senseless question,” she continues, for which there is no clearer answer than to one about why “Jack the Ripper killed prostitutes.” It is a question for psychologists.
But part of the reason lies in Russia’s fundamental weakness relative to the West and Putin’s desire to obscure this and even turn things upside down. Russia’s economy today is “smaller than the economy of [the US state of] California.” And anyone who travels even 50 kilometers outside of Moscow will see a backward world in which no one would want to live.
However, by its very brazenness, the Kremlin “has achieved a miracle: a consensus between Republicans and Democrats about Russia” as a danger to the world and a widespread feeling among the American people — if not the occupant of the White House — that Russia today has attacked the US in ways analogous to Osama bin Laden’s attacks on 9/11.
- Putin aide: Few in Kremlin expected US-Russian relations to deteriorate after Trump election
- Facebook to counter Kremlin-style info interventions in election campaigns
- Putin said plotting a new refugee crisis to influence EU elections
- The Kremlin’s Bulgarian game
- The humanitarian factor in Russia’s hybrid war
- Putin blames West for all of Russia’s problems but refuses to criticize Trump
- Is Trump’s delay in imposing new sanctions playing into a larger Moscow game to lift them?