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How Russia ended up ‘trumping’ the US elections

Russia influenced the US elections

By Soumya Ghosh

The CIA has concluded that Russia played a pivotal role in influencing the outcome of the US Elections. This has been observed in an internal assessment presented to lawmakers on the Capitol Hill.

The Washington Post and New York Times reported that Russia played a role in bridging the gap between Clinton and Trump in opinion polls. It was done by releasing damaging material about Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to the Wikileaks.

The Central Investigation Agency doubted the influence of Russia on US elections

The Central Investigation Agency doubted the influence of Russia on US elections | Photo Courtesy: Ghosts of DC

The New York Times additionally reported, that the Russians also intruded into the systems of the Republican National Committee (RNC). But they chose to not release any documents. It was presumably because that would run contrary to the agenda of the Kremlin, CIA Internal Assessment alleged.

Yet, the Transition team of President-Elect Trump rebuked such allegations. It stated,

These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.

What underwent

President Obama after the elections called for an extensive review about potential Russian meddling in the US elections. Moreover, a top US Senator, Ron Wyden (D-OR) further stated that the White House must immediately declassify all the information about potential Russian involvement and disclose it.

In stark contrast, The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated that “any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians is an act of partisan politics.”

It can be inferred that the Russians themselves did not expect Trump to become the President, but that wasn’t their only ambition. Their ambition was to delegitimize the US elections and to make ordinary Americans question the legitimacy and the integrity of their electoral process.

All for a reason

The broader ambitions from this could be to sow the seeds of division. It would keep the coming US administration occupied in assuaging concerns about the legitimacy of this election. Thus, Russia questioned the sanctity of Democracy as a legitimate way of appointing governments. Also, it tried to limit the US’s ability to check Russian actions in Eastern Ukraine or Syria.

Even the German intelligence agency has seen an upsurge in aggressive cyber espionage to influence the outcome of next year’s German federal elections.

The German intelligence agency’s head, Hans-Georg Maassen stated, that his agency has seen an upsurge “in aggressive cyber espionage” to influence the outcome of next year’s German federal elections and to weaken Merkel’s ruling party. These are spreading malicious disinformation, repeated cyber attacks, etc. All to destabilise the electoral process, are in sync to achieve one outcome: weaken Merkel. Also, it will strengthen the far-right and pro-Russia Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party.

A destabilised Europe, fragmented into an array of contradicting opinions, is the ultimate aim of Russia. If there is no coordination, there will no cooperation.

What now?

As one noted computer scientist said, “If the advent of personal computers helped dissolve the insular Soviet Union, then exploiting the various vulnerabilities of the internet, will be Russia’s vengeance.”

These events will remind us how fragile the concept of democracy is.

Living in the 21st-century world, these events will remind us how fragile the concept of democracy is. Democracy – weakened only by a hybrid cyber-attack. It further sends believers of democracy into a disarray of hallucinations and self-contradictions.

The might of the United States is now challenged by the Russian bear. Insofar, Trump hasn’t sought to distance himself but align himself.

Moreover, Rex Tillerson, the Chairperson of ExxonMobil is expected to be Trump’s pick for the Secretary of State. Rex has been accused of having close business ties with Russia and has out-rightly favoured the lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia. Thus, his appointment could mark a paradigm shift in the foreign policy followed by US post Cold War.

Rex Tillerson, the chairman of ExxonMobil is likely to become the next US Secretary of State

Rex Tillerson, the chairman of ExxonMobil is likely to become the next US Secretary of State | Photo Courtesy: ThinkProgress

Americans, reeling from the shock elections which was Trump’s apotheosis, is now facing the stark reality. The reality of a foreign power influencing the outcome of the elections. This is, to say the least, unprecedented in the recent history of the United States.

To those who would like to question the sanctity of democracy, Churchill’s quote summarises this paradox of sorts, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”


Featured Image Credits: Russian Avos

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