Putin’s meddling: How should the U.S. respond?
Amid the hoopla of this “illbegotten election,” one major news story never received the attention it deserved, said Julia Ioffe in ForeignPolicy.com— Russia’s blatant meddling in our democratic process. When WikiLeaks published a trove of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee back in July, U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russian hackers were to blame. Moscow’s cyberwarriors are also thought to be responsible for a second WikiLeaks release of thousands of embarrassing emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Hackers even tried to access state electoral machinery before Election Day, in a clear attempt to test for weaknesses. Whoever you voted for on Tuesday, these are unprecedented and deeply alarming acts of political interference. Russian President Vladimir Putin has brought his “tactics of asymmetric warfare deep into the belly of his greatest foe.”
I don’t think Putin’s primary aim was to elect Donald Trump, said Arkady Ostrovsky in The Atlantic.com. It was to “discredit the U.S. election process.” The Russian strongman wants to foment chaos in the West, because he fears its success will convince people in neighboring ex-Soviet states and then Russia itself that democracy is morally superior to authoritarian rule. That’s why Putin has adopted an old KGB tactic known as “active measures”—the use of leaks and disinformation to “undermine the integrity, the confidence of your adversary.” He wants to show that the West is just “as hypocritical, as cynical as Russia”— that the system is as rigged here as it is there. The dirtier and messier our election was, the better.
Now that the election is over, said Greg Miller and Adam Entous in The Washington Post, the Obama administration has several “countermeasures” ready. These include new economic sanctions, the ejection of Russian spies from the U.S., and cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure. Officials chose not to act before Nov. 8, to avoid provoking retaliatory measures that could affect the outcome of the election. But “the stakes have been made clear to Moscow.” The U.S. should be very wary of “employing its own arsenal of cyberweapons,” said BloombergView.com in an editorial. Any attack could lead to an escalating cyberwar—one with potentially debilitating effects for both sides. Let’s remember that “Russia is a much diminished power,” and punish Putin quietly, patiently, and strategically, rather than give him the major confrontation he wants.
Wit & Wisdom
“If experience teaches us anything at all, it teaches us this: that a good politician, under democracy, is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”
H.L. Mencken, quoted in The Boston Globe
“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.”
Emily Dickinson, quoted in IBTimes.com
“The bigger the hair, the closer to God.”
Dolly Parton, quoted in TimeOut.com
“If a man harbors any sort of fear, it makes him landlord to a ghost.”
Novelist and minister Lloyd Douglas, quoted in Bustle.com
“Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
George Bernard Shaw, quoted in the Montreal Gazette
“It is more difficult to challenge a man’s facts over cocktails than over a conference table.”
Author Robert Caro, quoted in CJR.org
“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
Carl Sagan, quoted in EW.com
■ 62% of Americans say they are less proud of the country due to the 2016 presidential race, while only 7% say the race has made them more proud. NBC News/Wall Street Journal
■ 82% of Republicans said it was right for FBI Director James Comey to inform Congress 11 days before the election that the agency was looking into newly found emails from Hillary Clinton. Only 15% of Democrats agreed.