Just how big of a threat is Russia these days? There was a time when Russia was this big, looming ominous, existential threat. Former US President Ronald Reagan regarded Russia as the wrong side of a holy war, calling it the evil empire.
But since Russia indisputably lost the cold war, few have regarded them as a big, scary threat that reaches the level of national or worldwide concern until recently. The BBC cited the British army chief as saying that Russia was a far bigger threat than the Islamic State.
“The Russians seek to exploit vulnerability and weakness wherever they detect it. The UK blames Russia for the Salisbury poisoning and several cyber-attacks.”
While no doubt true, the observation that they seek to exploit vulnerability and weakness wherever possible is hardly unique to Russia. It is the way of nations, businesses, athletes, and any other kind of competitor. The accusations about the Salisbury poisoning and numerous cyber-attacks are rather more specific.
“In March, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal – who sold secrets to MI6 – and his daughter Yulia survived being poisoned with Novichok. Dawn Sturgess, 44, was later exposed to the same nerve agent and died in hospital.”
Russia has officially denied having anything to do with the poisonings. So far, the UK government has not presented any evidence to back up their claims. They also accuse Russia of being behind cyber-attacks.
“In October, the UK government also accused Russia’s GRU military intelligence service of being behind four high-profile cyber-attacks on targets including the U.S. Democratic Party and a small TV network in Britain.”
Russia describes these accusations as a “rich fantasy.” However, some of those accusations are backed up by more than just claims. The Mueller investigation has uncovered ties between Russia and people involved with the Trump presidential campaign.
There is little doubt that Russia tampered with the presidential campaign. It is also believed they had a hand in Brexit as well. And Russia has been in the news recently over a particular espionage accusation where they, along with China, was accused of spying on President Trump’s phone calls.
Famously, President Trump still uses an iPhone and refuses to give it up despite being pressed to do so by his staff. The iPhone is one of the most secure consumer smartphones on the market, but it has not been hardened against military-grade threats. To be clear, the iPhone Trump uses is not believed to be hacked, but the network is, giving governments access to his calls and texts made from that device.