Why Russian Interference in Our Election is Important
The intelligence community of the United States, including the FBI, CIA, NSA and others (DIA, HSA, etc…) all have confirmed through multiple sources that the Russian government maintained an active program to influence the US election in 2016. This is not new, Russia has done so in the past and will likely continue to interfere in the future. What was profound and different about this election, is that they identified one candidate to besmirch. In other words, they clearly took sides in the election in favor of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump may or may not have known about the Russian government’s activities; what is indisputable is that his son, Donald J. Trump Jr., son-in-law and lead advisor, Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort, were all informed and excited about Russia possibly helping the campaign. There is no speculation here, one need only read the emails that Don Jr. himself released to see his enthusiasm and the fact that he had a chief advisor and the campaign manager participate demonstrates a willingness to collude with a foreign power in order to win an election.
The main question everyone should be asking is: why did the Russians want Trump in the White House? In testimony before Congress, FBI Direct Comey stated it was Russian President Putin’s great distain for Ms. Clinton that was the likely cause. But why would Putin not want a Democrat in power, especially when Obama had appeared ineffective in stopping Russia’s grievous violations of international law in seizing Crimea, backing and sending troops into Eastern Ukraine and either directly shooting down a civilian airliner, or providing the missile and crew that did. Obama looked extremely weak in the face of Russian aggression. Why not welcome another weak Democrat, and in this case a woman to boot?
The reason was clear, Hillary Clinton is a hawk and had served that role as Secretary of State for the first Obama term. She didn’t mince words, calling a Russian Duma election little more than theater since Putin hand-picked the majority of the members. She also was a strong advocate on the raid on Osama bin Laden, even though Vice-President Biden thought the diplomatic price too high and the risk of bin Laden not being there significant. Hilary was a hawk in the Senate, voting to give then President Bush the power to invade Iraq. It was her record as well as the likelihood that as the first female president, she would feel the need to assert herself as a tough leader through sanctions or military action that Putin most likely feared the most.
Trump claims that Putin fears him more than he did Clinton, but he has no record of being tough. Indeed, Trump proclaimed he wanted better relations with Russia. He also bragged about his ability as a deal maker. So, I assume that Putin figured they could work out their differences through deals and not sanctions and military might. This is important because Putin has continually expressed his belief that Southern and Eastern Ukraine belongs to Russia, and with Trump in power he is more likely to act on it. Once he secures the parts of Ukraine that he wants he will negotiate away some minor regions and Trump will declare victory.
Once Trump seems satisfied, Putin, like Hitler in 1939, will then turn to his true target — the Caucasus and Kazakhstan. Both areas are oil rich and contain plenty of other natural resources. Putin will conclude that if the US and NATO didn’t stand up to him on the Ukraine, why would they bother with these other, lesser known regions. This is why Putin wanted a negotiator and not a seasoned diplomat to occupy the White House.