The Democratic autopsy for why they lost the election is essentially centered around Russian hacking. They claim that FSB spies hacked the election and installed a proxy candidate willing to do their bidding. At the helm of this nefarious scheme is Vladimir Putin, overlord of the neo-Soviet Union who is hellbent on thwarting the globalist United States regime. He is everywhere and nowhere at the same time – the modern Red Terror. The only thing standing between him and the fall of democracy are this party of justice warriors called Democrats. This sounds like the plot to a crappy 1980’s political thriller, but this is essentially the story we are being fed.
Forget the fact that Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate, forget that the platform was constructed around identity politics, or that a tech savvy 12-year old could have hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails. It was the Russians.
This is typical of the United States, dating back to the 19th century. Americans first decided to villainize Russia after the Civil War to distract from the turmoil of the reconstruction. We saw during 1950’s how easily politicians used Russia to scare its constituency and in the 1980’s Russo phobic movies came to life on the big screen. This is all par for the course.
The irony in all this nonsense is that by blaming Putin for damaging democracy, we are damaging democracy ourselves. We are essentially saying that American democracy is so fragile that it can be hacked by a political mastermind. This is an image that is very good for Vladimir Putin. Many pro-opposition Russians are saying the same thing.
“The Kremlin is of course very proud of this whole Russian interference story. It shows they are not just a group of old K.G.B. guys with no understanding of digital but an almighty force from a James Bond saga… This image is very bad for us. Putin is not a master geopolitical genius,” Leonid Volkov, a Russian activist told the New York Times.
Oleg V. Kashin, a Russian journalist, echoed this sentiment in a piece for the Republic. He said, “The image of Putin’s Russia constructed by Western and, above all, American media outlets over the past 18 months shocks even the most anti-Putin reader in Russia.” The people who are saying the same things are pro-western Russians. They look to the United States as a bastion for free press and democratic values. They are absolutely dismayed at seeing United States journalism utilizing the same tactics as Putin’s tightly controlled media wings. It appears to them that US civic conversation is being tainted much in the same way as their own. And this is not the first time that American Democrats have ignored the Russian political opposition.
“What is happening with ‘the investigation into Russian interference,’ is not just a disgrace but a collective eclipse of the mind.” This was posted on Facebook by the oft-quoted Russian activist Alexei Navalny. “An eclipse of the mind” – I do not think he chose those words by accident. American democrats try to portray themselves as being hard on Russia, that they have been hawks through and through. However, they seemed to have forgotten the entirety of the last 8 years under Barack Obama. Bring up the Magnitsky Act to a Democrat and one of two things will happen. Most will not know what it is and the smart ones will shudder.
The Magnitsky act was a piece of legislation passed by Congress aimed at sanctioning the parties thought to be responsible for the death of Russian accountant, Sergei Magnitsky. In 2008, Sergei Magnitsky alleged that top Russian officials had siphoned about 20 million dollars from government accounts. He was imprisoned, tortured and eventually killed. Bill Browder, a US hedge fund manager, charged Congress with placing sanctions on those responsible for his death. The bi-partisan bill was supported by all except for the Obama administration. This bill was proposed just as Obama was trying to eliminate the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, a soviet era law that denied Russia normal trade. Pro-opposition Russians warned they should not scrap the trade law without replacing it with the Magnitsky act. Nonetheless, Alexei Navalny says, “The administration, starting with Hillary Clinton and then John Kerry, did everything they could do to stop the Magnitsky act.” Most pro-opposition Russians were in favor of the Magnistky act, as it tackled Russian human rights abuses. Despite their support and insistence of the Magnitsky replacement, Hillary Clinton came out with a bold-faced lie, stating, “Leaders of Russia’s political opposition…have called on the U.S. to terminate Jackson-Vanik, despite their concerns about human rights and the Magnitsky case.” That is simply astonishing. Pretty much everyone saw it necessary to punish Putin for his administrations egregious actions. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton saw things differently as they attempted to stonewall the sanctions. However, despite the administrations fervent opposition, the Magnitsky act was passed. Vladimir Putin retaliated by banning the adoption of Russian orphans by US citizens and placing sanctions on countless US emissaries. Obama pretty much thanked him.
The Magnitsky act is emblematic of the Obama administration’s policy approach to Moscow. They either downplayed the threat Putin posed or they appeased him. Vladimir Putin sensed weakness in Obama and took extraordinary advantage. They allowed Putin to gain a geopolitical footing in the Middle East, annex the territory of a sovereign nation in Crimea, and let them run amuck of the UN. Not only did they enable this type of aggression, but often they encouraged it through willful negligence. But no, Putin wasn’t a threat to US interest until now, when they supposedly helped Democrats lose the election and became a colossal threat to the United States. It’s a laughably tragic crock of bull. The United States would be wise to not pursue with any force or vigor articles of impeachment with relation to Russia. It would be dangerously myopic because the only person that stands to gain from that is Vladimir Putin. Democracy has a lot to lose.