Thing is, they are not unprovoked. Nor is the DNC connection unproven (I mean, technically science would say you can’t *prove* anything — but I’ll take the agreement of the country’s top cybersecurity experts as “as close as we’re gonna get”):
A post-mortem by cyber-security firm CrowdStrike identified two separate Russian adversaries behind the attacks when the news of the intrusion first broke in early June, 2016. This has since been confirmed by other independent security firms including Fidelis, Mandiant, SecureWorks, and ThreatConnect as well as corroborated by analysis from Ars Technica and Edward Snowden (he is currently in exile there! Not liable to say that lightly).
The US intelligence community felt it had sufficient evidence to formally accuse Russia of involvement in the hacks, and are currently investigating other breaches of voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois as well as in Florida (they are also suspected in the Podesta Emails hack, though that one has not been corroborated fully afaik). Elsewhere, there is ample evidence of Putin’s extensive disinformation campaign being waged online (including numerous experiences I have myself witnessed), which is the continuation of a long through line of wielding propaganda as a tool from the former head of the KGB (an organization he appears to be reconstituting at present).
Elsewhere the timeline of Russian aggression is pretty clear:
- 2011 veto of UN Security-Council Resolution to end violence in Syria and institute sanctions (with China)
- 2014 annexation of Crimea and arming of an insurgency in eastern Ukraine
- Downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 by Russian Buk missile transferred into rebel-held territory
- Sept. 2015: Russia begins airstrikes in Syria — supposedly against ISIS, but international observers identify other anti-Assad insurgencies and civilian facilities as the actual targets of the bombing campaign
- Nov 2015: Turkey shoots down a Russian jet after repeated airspace violations
- July 2016: Russian aircraft bomb a base of operations for British and American forces in Syria
- July 2016: Violation of Bulgarian airspace an alleged 10 times
- Aug 2016: Russia uses Iran as a base of operations for bombing Syrian targets for the first time
- Aug 2016: Attacks on civilian targets increase; Human Rights Watch posts video of the aftermath of air-dropped incendiary weapons in violation of the Geneva Convention
- Aug 2016: Alleged 4 violations of Estonian airspace
- Sept 2016: Russia provides air cover to Assad’s troops in a bid to seize Aleppo, the last urban holdout of the 2011 Arab Spring revolt
- Oct 1, 2016: Combined forces destroy Aleppo’s main hospital
- Oct 3, 2016: Moscow pulls out of plutonium disposal agreement in place since the end of the Cold War
- Oct 5, 2016: Russia suspends nuclear cooperation pacts and research agreements with the US
- Oct 8, 2016: Russia transfers nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles into the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad
- Oct 28, 2016: Russia is voted off the UN Human Rights Council, accused of war crimes in Syria
No one is “casual” about going to war, particularly with a nuclear superpower— I would be interested to know which comments of Clinton’s are perceived that way. It is facile to try and reduce the complexities of what is happening here as “war bad, Clinton bad, Putin good!” That is the line that Putin’s operatives are saturating the dark web with, however.
It seems to be a line that candidate Jill Stein has bought into as well — it’s fascinating how the American Green Party supports her calls for “collaboration” with the Russian dictator while Russian Greens decry it. Why the outpouring of so much concern over human rights around the world, but a blind eye to what Russia is doing to Syrian civilians (not to mention its own citizens — 20 million now in poverty up from 16 million in 2014)? It doesn’t add up — it’s a moral double standard. It is also incredibly naïve to take at face value the words of a former Soviet spy who has been Russia’s de facto ruler since 1999.
Russia is the world’s third largest oil producer — they’ve hit new output records in 2016 not seen since the mid-80s. What about this graph makes anyone think that Putin is secretly game to get serious about renewable energy?!
It makes no sense. Russia has no other economy beyond oil and gas (and that’s not good — especially with lower than projected oil prices). It is a cheap ploy to secure sympathy for “poor Russia” and help sway US election sentiment towards Donald Trump (or at all costs, away from Hillary Clinton — a person Putin knows will not roll over and play sycophant while Russia pursues its interests in Syria (namely securing the Tartus base for naval access to the Mediterranean) and in the Balkans.
We shouldn’t fall for it.