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 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,
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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