Discussion of Russian influence and propaganda, and their effects on the US and the world today and tomorrow.
Discussion of evidence about the influence of Russian propaganda efforts in the recent US election. This issue will be around for a while, so I figured we should have a place for the occasional article and discussion.
Putin is pursuing large strategic goals: recognition of the annexation of Crimea and international acceptance of foreign aggression to change state borders; Russian control of Ukraine; weakening or even dissolution of the European Union and NATO; restoration of Russia as a great power; and restored dominance over the former Soviet bloc and its environs. In pursuing these aims, Putin is engaged in a disciplined effort to influence democratic politics in the West, including financial and propaganda support for the narrow Brexit victory and for a network of far-right (and pro-Russian) nationalist political parties and groups throughout Europe. Now he has achieved what had to have been his most improbable goal: helping elect a sympathetic U.S. president who wants to form an alliance against terrorism. What will Trump give in exchange? He has already reaffirmed his intention to end support for pro-Western rebels in Syria, which effectively gives Russia a free hand to make President Bashar al-Assad its satrap. The greater danger is Trump’s attitude toward NATO as a “soft” alliance that, like the Western powers in 1939, won’t “die for Danzig.” It would mean the alliance’s end.
In his book “Putinism,” Soviet and Russian historian Walter Laqueur describes the varied ideological strains that animate the former KGB agent. The “Russian national idea” that has emerged is to defend Russia, Eurasia and the world from the anti-civilizational corruption of Western liberal democracy. Frighteningly, Putin’s worldview has resonance in the populist and nationalist fixations of Stephen K. Bannon, the president-elect’s senior counselor, whose stated mission is to “destroy” the “establishment” and end the domination of the “donor class.” Bannon’s “closing argument” ad for Trump, redolent of Russian propaganda, described the United States as a corrupt and failing state because of nefarious “global special interests.” It all points to grave danger for democracy and a world order that has kept the peace for 70 years. Is this what America voted for?