The purported hacking of the American election was an excellent move for Russia. Creating chaos and sowing distrust for both America’s president-elect and the democratic foundation of the country have created an internally focused turmoil at a time of an international Russian power play.
Since the end of World War II, the United States and Russia have fought for dominance. Whether during the chill periods of the Cold War or the hot spells in Cuba, Vietnam, and Berlin, these two countries have been at each other’s throats for almost 80 years with a brief respite after the fall of the Soviet bloc.
Russia, under Putin’s leadership, has asserted itself as a global player during the last decade with several overt military actions reminiscent of typical American global intervention. Russia has invaded the Ukraine under the guise of supporting rebels. Russia supports Assad’s regime in Syria against the rebels, including continuous airstrikes in Aleppo, a major civilian city.
A less blatant example by Russia is its support of Iran’s nuclear program, an issue opposed by Israel, and for a long time, the US.
That being said, the next logical military step for Russia (Vladimir Putin is a military leader, of that there should be no doubt) is to target the primary foe, which both historically and currently is the US. An indirect direct attack (say, hacking in an election) is a smart choice.
Putin has made it clear that Russia supports Donald Trump. Donald Trump supports Putin. Whether or not the hacking of the Democratic National Committee was done in support of Trump or not, the fact that a major hacking occurred is the key.
Most hacking can be traced to a source of some sort. In this case, most agencies and companies involved in tracing the DNC hack believe key indicators within the coding, methodology, and other such items implicate Russian hacking groups, including some suspected of working with the Russian FSB.
According to Time, “Subsequent analyses by other private firms found other evidence that Russia was behind the hack. And as the attacks broadened over the course of the 2016 campaign to include the DCCC and the email of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, John Podesta, private firms found evidence linking the new hacks back to the DNC hack.”
With a hacking attack made on Trump’s opponent by a nation which favors Trump, the election results have been brought under serious questioning. This is the key to Russia’s strategy behind the hacking.
An interesting quote from the National Review stated, “The real debate is over whether the Russian meddling — which echoes similar meddling across Europe — was intended to get Trump elected or simply to erode confidence in the democratic process.”
America both loves and excels at fighting. Whether it be a social, political, or military venue, America loves to dive in and get dirty. American internal politics tend to be very heated, and the last several elections have been more and more divisive. Russia knows this.
By turning Americans against each other, by causing Americans to question democracy, the very foundation of American life, Russia hacking in an election has turned America’s focus inward and away from the horrors “out there.” The Russian hacking occurred in the most divisive election in decades. The suspicions thus planted, Russia has pulled a “look over there” stunt perfectly.
It matters less whether or not Russia actually hacked the DNC than whether or not Americans think a hotly contested election has been influenced by a pro-Trump group. Russia and its role Syria and Aleppo are less of an issue to most Americans than the idea that a hated candidate (both were) was elected due to a malevolent Russia hacking an already divisive presidential election.
Regardless of what the US does in response to the hacking, Russia will come out the winner. Russia has proved it can touch Americans where it counts the most, which is their freedom.
So what do you think of the Russian hacking? Did it influence the election enough to be cause for concern? Is it overblown hype by paranoid conspiracy theorists? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images]