Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to U.S. President Donald Trump at the beginning of a one-on-one-meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Imagine you are Vladimir Putin. Your country is in relatively bad economic shape and you have few resources to expend outside of regional meddling. Despite all the braggadocio, you rule over what is essentially a third world dumpster fire. Your options are extremely limited in trying to harm the United States, your chief geopolitical rival. Sure, you can buy some Facebook ads or perhaps hook a few morons with phishing emails, but none of that changes much of anything.
But then you notice something happening in the country you were targeting. By a stroke of luck, you no longer even have to spend any money to cause a political meltdown in world’s only superpower. All you have to do is send a few signals to foreign intel agencies of what you “might try to do” and the division sows itself.
That’s essentially the situation we now face. Our own intel agencies are doing Russia’s bidding, possibly unwittingly, but with very little excuse at this point. What’s more disruptive? A stupid Twitter bot operating inside a bubble (political social media is already hardened with partisanship) or the nation’s major newspapers causing a red panic every few months? Which gets more exposure? Which produces more discord, hatred, and chaos?
The answer is simple.
I hate to break it to the entire media, but Russia isn't trying to help anyone become President, they are trying to sow chaos and distrust in our institutions, and you are the only ones helping them do that.
— Shem Horne (@Shem_Infinite) February 21, 2020
The irony of U.S. intelligence officials meddling in our elections by selectively leaking information about Russians meddling in our elections.
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) February 21, 2020
And it’s impossible to think our intel agencies are just too stupid to realize what they are doing. Every briefing gets leaked, often in a way that misleads about its contents. It’s not a coincidence that the two people the Russians supposedly want to “help” are the two figures the establishment in D.C. despise the most, i.e. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
Of course, the idea that the Russians would prefer Trump to any Democrat is idiocy. That any intel assessment would come to that conclusion either shows rank bias or total ineptitude. Does anyone think Putin fears Joe Biden? Biden was part of an administration that handed Russia Syria and Crimea while propagating a ridiculous “reset” that failed miserably. Pretty much every Democrat wants to reduce fossil fuel production, which would be an economic boon for Putin. There is no logic behind the idea that Russia likes Trump, who has been tougher on them than any administration since Reagan.
Silliest part of latest Russia nonsense is that precisely no one thinks Russia or Putin are afraid of Democrats.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) February 21, 2020
Despite the obviousness of it all, our intel agencies and a compliant media continue to do the work the Russians can’t do themselves. They leak, they rumor monger, and they target our elections in ways that Putin could only dream of. Further, useful stooges like Rep. Adam Schiff help out on the political side by spreading baseless nonsense at every turn for their own gain.
Imagine how inconsequential Russia “meddling” would be without The New York Times, CNN, etc. amplifying conspiracy theories and fear constantly. What if Rachel Maddow wasn’t on every weeknight doing her best Alex Jones impression? What if the American people weren’t constantly being told that the Russians were hiding behind every corner and somehow using mind control to change election outcomes?
The truth is, Russian “interference” is only effective because our own government makes it effective. It would otherwise be a tiny blip on the radar. At worst, it’d be a manageable cost of living in a free society that values the proliferation of speech. Instead, partisans within the intel community, coupled with media and Democrat party allies, have decided to interfere in our elections, all while claiming to be fighting election interference. It’s insanity.
Sure, Putin wants to create chaos in the United States, but he doesn’t even have to put any effort into it at this point. He gets more out of a nightly CNN broadcast or an Adam Schiff leak than any troll farm could ever produce.