With President Obama saying the United States will retaliate against Russia for meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the White House must make public “conclusive evidence in a form that can be independently analyzed,” as a leading technology website argues.
Until then, claims that Russia hacked Democratic Party emails remain unverified allegations based on anonymous sources. And that is extremely shaky ground to ratchet up a conflict with the most heavily armed nuclear power in the world given how the Vietnam War and Iraq War began as lies fomented by previous presidents.
But lost in the shadows of cyberwarfare and espionage is another critical debate: What would Russia’s motive be in undermining the U.S. electoral system and by extension its legitimacy, power, and global standing?
Hillary Clinton says it’s because Russian President Vladimir Putin “has a personal beef against me.” That vendetta is supposedly based on Clinton, in her role as secretary of state, repeatedly criticizing Russian parliamentary elections in December 2011 as fraudulent. She is blamed for encouraging the tens of thousands who subsequently demonstrated in Moscow yelling, “Putin is a thief” and “Russia without Putin.”
This tale of comic-book villainy papers over a complicated history, however. With protesters in the streets, Putin likely feared he would be the latest regional strongman toppled by a U.S.-backed uprising. There was the 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia, the 2004 Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan in 2005—all promoted by the United States and West Europe. The color-coded revolutions fit into a pattern of U.S.-engineered regime change around the world. This goes back to the emergence of America as a global power by the early 1900s, with its most recent incarnation being the “war on terror” under the Bush and Obama administrations.
By the time Russia’s ally in Kyrgyzstan, President Askar Akayev, was deposed in March 2005, the United States had invaded and taken control of Afghanistan and Iraq, sponsored a successful coup in Haiti and an unsuccessful one in Venezuela, was beating the war drums against Iran, and had spread across Russia’s underbelly with military bases and agreements in Central Asia. Read full post here