Regarding Russia, stop playing politics and get serious

The notion that Russia tried to interfere in our elections this year is neither new nor surprising. What is new is the reported belief at the CIA that Russia’s intention was to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

This is a serious charge, and it deserves to be treated seriously — and viewed with a bit of skepticism.

First, it should go without saying that Americans should not tolerate foreign interference in our elections. But I’ll say it anyway. Trump’s supporters shouldn’t brush off these allegations, and the attention they’re getting from Clinton’s supporters, as mere sour grapes. If you would find this story deeply troubling with the facts reversed, you should find it deeply troubling now.

Barack Obama is not the first U.S. president to misjudge Vladimir Putin. It's imperative that he be the last. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)

Barack Obama is not the first U.S. president to misjudge Vladimir Putin. It’s imperative that he be the last. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)

That said, Clinton supporters need to be very careful about the “Manchurian candidate” talk. I suppose it’s possible Trump is a Russia plant designed to undermine our national interest to further Moscow’s ambitions. But it is far more likely that Russia simply wanted to inject even more mistrust into what already promised to be a divisive election. If Vladimir Putin thinks it would be nice but highly implausible to have a puppet in the White House, a close second would be a U.S. president who’s seen by his own citizens as illegitimate and is doomed to spend at least four years focused on his nation’s internal divisions while Moscow makes up for lost time enlarging its sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and beyond. By meddling, Russia could achieve this goal no matter who ended up winning the election; that makes it far more likely this sowing of division, rather than the election of a particular person, was the real goal.

In other words, before talking about “useful idiots,” consider just what kind of reaction might be “useful” from Moscow’s perspective.

So it is a very good thing that congressional Republicans sound firm about investigating just what Russia did to interfere. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today threw his support behind such an inquiry. Good; it should have bipartisan support, because Americans of all political stripes should be concerned. But it will only amount to anything worthwhile if the goal is to prevent such meddling from happening in the future, rather than seeking to undermine the result of this election.

It will be up to Democrats to ensure that’s the case. They could start by acknowledging all the conventional reasons Clinton lost — chiefly, that she is a mediocre politician whose campaign took its eye off the ball, failing to lock down crucial Midwestern states while indulging, however briefly, fantasies of winning red states such as Georgia, Arizona and even Texas. Not to mention that there were also questions about Clinton’s distance from Moscow. Take Russia out of the equation, and you still had two deeply flawed and unpopular candidates standing before an anxious electorate. It really shouldn’t have come as such a shock to Democrats that they failed to keep the White House in those circumstances. It doesn’t bode well that Democrats are desperately trying to use this issue to sway Electoral College voters just one week before they make it official.

For his part, Trump has to stop acting petulantly when people bring up the subject. He also needs to understand the terrible optics of hiring people friendly toward Putin for two of the three top foreign-policy jobs in his administration. Rex Tillerson may be a brilliant businessman and a real-life Boy Scout, but his ties to Putin (via the oil business) mean he’s not the right person to serve as America’s top diplomat in this context. (The same goes for retired Gen. Mike Flynn, minus the compliments.)

Just four years ago, President Obama cracked wise about Russia’s being our top geopolitical adversary. In the interim, we’ve seen numerous examples of just how wrong he was about Moscow and Putin. For the next four years to go any better, Americans need both Republicans and Democrats to get serious about Russia.

Reader Comments 0

194 comments
Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

A House committee investigating Russian interference in the election asked Obama's intelligence agency to brief it on their findings. Obama refused. Who's playing politics?

Democrats: Party over country. Every time.

bu22
bu22

It can't be taken seriously until the Democrats quit using it as an excuse and making it political.  As one article said, Clinton considers anything fake news that exposes her for the fraud that she is.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@bu22


Can we define what fake news is? Anything that is factually incorrect. Saying someone is a fraud is not factual but more opinionated. Claiming millions of illegal votes is fake news. No such thing ever happen as there is no such evidence to prove otherwise. As is the whole pizza gate nonsense.  

Dimick
Dimick

The Trump Bump on Wall Street gaining another 114 points and change to settle at
19,911.21 as the Trump "Thank You" tour continues on the road across America uniting people and bringing them into the "conservative populist" movement.

   

 

 

Dimick
Dimick

The CIA can't agree with CIA and the FBI disagrees with the CIA,so there is no confirmation of a hack or an attempt made to throw this election in favor of either candidate. If they have evidence  bring before the people and let us hear a briefing on their evidence, if the CIA or FBI or NSA have it. 

No way should the delegates get a John Podesta briefing. The delegates should vote as they were committed to do for their choice of candidate.

As it stands Trump won the required number of - actually over the number of the electoral college delegates, he is therefore our next President 

breckenridge
breckenridge

Lifelong republican, former CIA Director & former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates hit the nail on the head when he said "Donald Trump is unqualified and unfit to serve as Commander In Chief."


Sucking up to a KGB thug Trump.  You are such a filthy little maggot.

Dimick
Dimick

@breckenridge  The American people think otherwise, we elected him the next President. In fact, evidently Bobbie boy Gates had a change of heart, at the recommendation  Gates and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Tillerson was brought to Trump towers for an interview.

Now why would old Bobbie boy do such a thing in light of his past comments, perhaps he seen the error of his ill chosen words in disrespect to the fitness of our President elect?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

You want the best representation of how the United States of America will be run after Jan. 20th, 2017?


clinton campaign: 1.2 Billion dollars


Trump campaign: 300 million dollars


Guess who won?


MAGA #45


LOCK HER UP!

breckenridge
breckenridge

@AndyManUSA#45 

Lock her up? Yeah, or you could go lock yourself in mommy's basement.


Oh wait.......you're already there.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Leftists are extremely agitated over Russia horning in on their propaganda operation. MSM thinks they should have it all to themselves.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Had to stop reading about half way through. This is all political posturing. No facts have been put forth. Lending credence to this garbage is akin to serving mud pies.

This will not resonate with the public, outside of the bat-crazy leftist loons and their political hacks and other misguided opportunists. Who among us does not live with ever-present destructive hacking, phishing, and identity theft threat every time we connect to the Internet? Who honestly believes major countries aren't constantly spying on each other? Why, pray tell, is there a CIA to begin with? Do Democrats not remember the Obama Administration spying on the German Government?

This is a direct attempt to dishonestly disenfranchise MY vote. If successful, that would make me fighting mad, and I suspect many others as well.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@DawgDadII "No facts have been put forth."

This sentence alone shows your either naivety, or stupidity, or just plain ignorance. What kind of “facts” do you think would the CIA willing to present to the public? How effective would CIA or any intelligence service be if it should open its work and methods to public scrutiny? 

bu22
bu22

@MarkVV @DawgDadII The CIA is willing to leak top secret documents that serve their purposes.  So the better investigation would be why (if the CIA leaked it at all and it isn't just more Democratic misinformation) the CIA leaked this information to the Washington Post and whether some top official in the CIA should be prosecuted for leaking government secrets.  Maybe they could reserve a jail cell for Brennan right next to Hillary, John and Huma.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@DawgDadII If you stopped halfway through, perhaps you missed this: "But it will only amount to anything worthwhile if the goal is to prevent such meddling from happening in the future, rather than seeking to undermine the result of this election."

And this: "t will be up to Democrats to ensure that’s the case. They could start by acknowledging all the conventional reasons Clinton lost — chiefly, that she is a mediocre politician whose campaign took its eye off the ball, failing to lock down crucial Midwestern states while indulging, however briefly, fantasies of winning red states such as Georgia, Arizona and even Texas. Not to mention that there were also questions about Clinton’s distance from Moscow. Take Russia out of the equation, and you still had two deeply flawed and unpopular candidates standing before an anxious electorate. It really shouldn’t have come as such a shock to Democrats that they failed to keep the White House in those circumstances. It doesn’t bode well that Democrats are desperately trying to use this issue to sway Electoral College voters just one week before they make it official."

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@Kyle_Wingfield @DawgDadII Fair enough, except every day Trump moves me light years farther away from you on the "deeply flawed and unpopular candidates" line.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Does anyone recall an outgoing administration acting like such d-bags toward an incoming President?

Par for the course for Obama. Zero class or respect for America.

bu22
bu22

@Lil_Barry_Bailout Yes.  The Clintons.  Remember all the sabotage in the White House by Clinton, Gore and Co?  But nobody else acted that way in my lifetime.

Caius
Caius

The Electoral College was designed to allow the States to overturn the vote of the people if they thought the people had made a serious mistake.  Over the years various states have passed laws requiring the Electors to vote for whom the people voted, thus defeating the purpose of the Electoral College. And that purpose is to protect the individual states from the 

will of the people.


The Electoral College, like the Senate, is intended to cool things down.  But by legislation we have reduced the Electoral College to a rubber stamp. Apologies to the Framers!


Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Our Founding Fathers also intended for states to choose their Senators and that's gone by the wayside too. More apologies!

Dimick
Dimick


Can't wait for Monday to come and the EC delegates cast their votes.  

Not for the reason some might speculate. No rather to see what bat  crap craziness the loser left drums up to try an overturn that result. LOL!

Oh, read on False News a e-help wanted message, it seems to have been generated from somewhere in China: 

Russian hackers needed by Chinese employer to hack US CIA  FBI and NSA files to insert phony misleading data of an election fixing, must leave plenty of Russian foot print to mislead dumb America Hillary liberals to Putin doorstep... 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Bookman's blog is nothing more than a far-left propaganda spigot that entertains his minions but having said that, the guy sure works hard.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Sad to hear the latest news about Aleppo. We can't allow Assad and Putin to commit mass murder and think its ok. America is not their ally or their friend.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@AndyManUSA#45 @McGarnagle


Well its up to ya boy Trump to draw that red line. Frankly I don't think latest news bothers him. He wants to be buddy buddy with Putin. At least Obama wrecked their economy. 

lvg
lvg

@SGTGrit @McGarnagle @AndyManUSA#45 Here's how Trump's buddy treats civilians:

""The United Nations said it had reports of 82 execution-style killings of civilians. The death toll from recent days is unknown, as humanitarian organizations operating in the rebel enclave that used to keep track of casualties have all but collapsed. The deaths were recorded in four neighborhoods — Bustan al-Qasr, Al Fardous, Al Kallaseh and Al Saleheen — and included at least 11 women and 13 children, some of them shot in the streets as they tried to escape, according to Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Mr. Colville cited reports that the agency had received from reliable contacts inside and outside the city.

“Civilians have paid a brutal price during this conflict, and we are filled with the deepest foreboding for those who remain in this last hellish corner of opposition-held eastern Aleppo,” Mr. Colville said. He added that there were reports of pro-government forces entering homes and indiscriminately killing women and children.""

NT Times today.


Got to end those sanctions so the Exxon folks  and Trump folks can close some more deals with Russia.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

(CNN)The 2016 election was not rigged by Moscow.Rex Tillerson, tipped to be the next secretary of state, is not a KGB agent.


Donald Trump is, however, trying to reset US policy toward Russia to begin a constructive dialogue. For this, he ought to be applauded. Instead, he is almost accused of treachery. The situation is surreal.


cnn, way off the plantation with such talk, must realize the damage this issue is doing to fascism.


The rest of them double down.


http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/12/opinions/trump-view-putin-stanley/index.html


LOCK HER UP!

Dimick
Dimick

It's not working losers, after the delegates cast their votes this pathetic attempt by the lousy lying loser left will squash  the protest and hopes to overturn the election electoral college results. 

Now, repeat after me, Mr Trump is our President

Dimick
Dimick

Trump 's election has sure changed the national attitude from negative to the positive.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

 It will be up to Democrats to ensure that’s the case. 


Disagree with  that statement. Republicans have control of presidency and congress. Its up to them to ensure an exhaustive investigation is done to determine to what extend Russia meddled in and what was their objective in doing so. So far Trump doesn't seem keen on doing any that. Hence the over reaction from Democrats. This issue can actually unite the country but the more Trump brushes it aside, the more it will upset many people.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@McGarnagle 

It isn't up to Trump, he hasn't been sworn in yet. An exhaustive investigation isn't necessary. Rep. Devin Nunus House Chairman of the Intelligence committee has requested the FBI and CIA to layout their respective evidence before the Intel. Committee by Friday. There's disagreement within the intelligence community and the FBI disagrees with the CIA conclusion. The facts to determine the allegations validity already exists. This should be made known well before January 20, 2017.

Dimick
Dimick

@McGarnagle Why should they waste money on something we all know exists because the out of focused Obama/Democrats did not to nothing to crack down on the cyber terrorism going on long before the election? 


Obama's vain meaningless threat of retaliation against North Korea was as worthless as his line draw in the Syrian sand.

What a miserable failure he was to take responsible actions. 


Tell McConnell don't throw money down a John Podesta rat hole, strength cyber security now to avert any hack attacks from doing any damage to any part of our government or a vital part of our infrastructure.   

Dimick
Dimick

How high is the Dow Jones Hedley, you ingrate? 



Uh Uh Duh 19,901.


How much money has your portfolio gained since the night after Donald Trump was elected?

Thank You Mr. Trump 

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@Dimick


Hey the stock market soared under Obama. So guess he wasn't that bad after all.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

"President Obama, as far as I know, hasn't raised any of those questions — like including cybersecurity, including sanctions on North Korea and Iran," Bond said during a conference with Missouri reporters. "I'm still digging through the manure pile to see if there's a pony in it, but I haven't seen any coming out of the meetings with [Prime Minister] Vladimir Putin and [President Dimitry] Medvedev yet."


http://nation.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/09/sen-kit-bond-obamas-trip-russia-pile-manure


Kinda like he was their stooge, ain't it?

breckenridge
breckenridge

Great column Kyle.  Putin is a ruthless murdering dictator, a KGB man to the core.  Russia is not a friend of the United States.

Trump needs to be smacked down in his efforts to lick Putin's boots.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@breckenridge 

Even if so inclined, Trump would be a bit late as Obama and Hillary Clinton 

have licked off several layers of polish from Putin's boots right down to the bear leather.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@SGTGrit @breckenridge


With Obama, Russia has suffer economic sanctions that have crippled their economy. So I doubt Obama has done Putin any favors. 

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@SGTGrit @McGarnagle @breckenridge


Putin's aggression is result of Obama messing up his economy. Nevertheless, its clear you are one of those who will not give Obama credit for anything. Even killing Bin Laden. Eh. Doesn't matter. Ya boy Trump's in charge. Now the fun will begin.