Monthly Archives: February 2018

What Do Democrats Fear from Russia?

On Februray 15, the New York Times wrote an editorial called, “Mr. Trump is Blind to Russia’s Threat.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/14/opinion/trump-officials-warning-russia.html

I thought that here I would find what the Democrats fear from Russia.  What is Russia’s threat.  I was not frightened by the editorial.  It seems the  main threat is Russian meddling in our elections, although it also mentions aggression against Ukraine, weapons deals, and human rights abuses.  This is a far cry from the threat by Khrushchev that “We will bury you,” and installing missiles in Cuba. It said the senior intelligence officials who testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee said they had not been asked “to take measures to combat Russian interference and protect democratic processes.”  There is no allegation that the Russians have physically manipulated the voting process by hacking voting machines, but rather that the Russians have used campaign dirty tricks to support some candidates (Trump and Sanders) over Hillary.  Lee Atwater would be proud the Russians learned from his playbook.

The implication is that the NYT believes that democracy in America is extremely fragile, although so far I have not heard any responsible source, including the NYT, say that Russia was responsible for Mr. Trump’s election.  Rather it looks like it’s just sour grapes from  the NYT and other Democrats.  The NYT thinks it is the most important paper in the world, with the smartest reporters and editors.  It was fully supportive of Hillary Clinton, writing many articles and editorials daily during the campaign supporting her and telling the American populace to vote for her.  And America ignored them.  So now they blame a handful of Russian nerds sitting in a dark room in St. Petersburg for her loss.  They claim these few nerds were more powerful than the vaunted New York Times, not to mention the Washington Post, the major networks, and most other media outlets (except Fox).

Mr. Mueller has indicted thirteen Russians for election meddling.  The NYT probably has that many reporters covering Congress, much less the White House, or campaign stops around the country.  Are thirteen Russian hackers really that much more powerful than the New York Times?  If so, then the Russians are supermen, and the NYT editorial should have said that we should fear the Russians because they are supermen, not because they have some good hackers.

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Huntington and the Russians

I have been mystified by why the NYT and Washington Post hate Russia so much and are engaging in yellow journalism fomenting war with Russia.  I thought it was because of the Jewish connection.  So many of their journalists and editors are Jewish, and Jews have a long (1,000 years) history of subjugation by Russian Slavs, so that hatred of Russians is embedded in Jewish DNA.  Israel is in many ways a country populated by Russians.  Most American Jews are Ashkenazi Jews from Central Europe (often dominated by Russia) or from Russia itself.

An old article that I am reading, maybe for the first time, raises the possibility that there are changes in Russia which may call for a reorientation in US policy toward Moscow.  Samuel Huntington says in “Clash of Civilizations”:

“If, as the Russians stop behaving like Marxists, they reject liberal democracy and begin behaving like Russians but not like Westerners, the relations between Russia and the West could again become distant and conflictual.”

Clash of Civilizations (Page 25).

Arguably this is happening.  Putin may not be becoming another Stalin, but another Tsar.  Under the Tsars, Russia considered itself a European country, but with a strong Asiatic component, given its Asian and Middle Eastern components on the fringes of the Russian territory.  Moscow and St. Petersburg remained European, and if anything, Putin has increased the importance of St. Petersburg, Russia’s European capital under the Tsars.

I think Putin was inclined to make Russian a Western, European country, but the West pushed him away.  Russia’s former empire in Central Europe, the Warsaw Pact, completely abandoned it after the fall of the Berlin wall.  NATO pushed farther and father east, until it came to Ukraine, whose capital, Kiev, was the original capital of Russia.

While the West saw Russia’s refusal to let Ukraine go and join the rest of the old Warsaw Pact as part of Europe, it might have been that Putin did not want to give up his last connection to the West and make Russia a solely Asiatic power.  Putin could have seen the refusal of the US and Europe to allow Ukraine to stay in the Russian orbit as saying, “Russia, we hate you and want nothing to do with you.”  If so, Putin may have taken offense at this putdown.  The result may be the increasing tension between Russia and the West.  This would have little to do with Jewish control of American media and politics.

Lest we forget, Russia under the tsars defeated Napoleon in 1812, beginning his removal as emperor of France.  In World War II, Stalin defeated Hitler, beginning his defeat.  Russia has played key roles in European history.

I guess the question for me is, did Jews in the West significantly influence the decision to move against Russia by moving NATO to its front door and excluding it from various European activities, G-7 versus G-8 meetings, for example.  Russia was included in the G-8, but since the invasion of Crimea, it has been excluded and now the meetings just consist of the G-7 (no Russia).  Jews have been prominent in the foreign policy bureaucracy of both Democratic and Republican administrations.

What Russia Did on Social Media Was Not Illegal

What the Russians did on social media during the 2016 election was not illegal.  It may have been mean-spirited or morally dishonest, but it did not violate the law.  It’s not illegal to create bots on social media, and it’s not illegal to spread fake news, unless it violates an old, somewhat irrelevant law, such as libel.  See

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/social-media-bots.html

This article reports on the creation of millions of Twitter bots, many based on real people, which are sold to minor celebrities and others to increase the number of their Twitter followers.  The article implies in passing that fake users may also be a problem for Facebook, but it only reports on Twitter.  Facebook has somewhat more stringent controls on who can open a Facebook account, while Twitter has almost no controls.  It does, however, claim that it does not want fraudulent users and removes them when they are called to its attention.

The Twitter bots in the article are mostly used for advertising, but some are political; usually there are bots that espouse both sides of controversial issues, some leftist bots, some conservative bots.  However, the article does not claim that this activity violates any laws, although it may violate Twitter policies.

If it’s not illegal for a company in Miami to do this, it doesn’t seem like it is illegal for a business (or government) in Moscow to do so.  Fake news is a problem, but so far not illegal.  The bigger problem is that Americans are so gullible that they fall for it.  I don’t see how the government is going to limit fake news without getting into censorship.  Alreeady I think some of the procedures instituted by Twitter and Facebook border on censorship, although as private entities they do not have same high bar that the government does.

Another consideration is that through the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe the US has directed news at the old Soviet Union, and now at Russia for many years. Although it was not fake, it was intended to bring down the Soviet Union, and it did.  I would guess, although I do not know of an example, that the CIA has planted fake news over the years.

In a brief web search, I found this article about the CIA deceiving not only the Soviet Union, but the American people as well.

http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v09/v09p305_Marchetti.html

What’s going on now with fake news is bad, but it’s not new.