Friday, December 30, 2016

Bring back the adults, our side and theirs

Oh dear. Does it constitute consorting with the enemy if "the enemy" is pretty witty?

The fake news about Russian hacking has gotten out of hand on our side. Yes the Russians, (and the Chinese and the North Koreans and many others) hack our commercial, cultural, academic, government and other sites. The do so now. They have been doing so since the invention of the internet. And we do the same thing to them as well.

Sometimes they hack in order to influence policy and elections here, just as we did by financing an opposition party in Israel, by our president actively lobbying the British to remain in the EU during the Brexit referendum, and of course through our hacking of European leader's phones. Technologically enabled spy craft is real and ongoing and is conducted by all parties with little clarity for the citizens of the respective nations.

With regard to the latest domestically convenient political claims, as of now, all we know is that someone either leaked or hacked the DNC email systems and revealed to the public behaviors and actions which were either unethical or illegal or both. Wikileaks says it was a leak from a disgruntled Democrat (not inconceivable given the anger I saw among my Bernie supporter friends.) The mainstream media is claiming that it was the Russians based on undocumented claims from confidential contacts within the FBI and CIA which were made on an anonymous basis. We are being asked to decide who is more trustworthy between our ideologically aligned and demonstrably untrustworthy MSM with long track records of partisan "fake news" and Wikileaks. That's a hard call and I am uncomfortable that my mental exercise leads to an assessment that Wikileaks has more probability of being accurate.

As far as I am aware, no one is claiming that there were actual vote hacks. All we have is the claim that the Russians facilitated the embarrassment of the DNC by revealing bad and illegal behavior.

But now, based on this fake news drama, we have the administration taking diplomatic steps, leaving a trail of global drama and embarrassments in its closing days. My first response, when I saw our expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats yesterday was a sense of deja vu going back to the height of the Cold War in the 1970s and 1980s when the Soviet Union, the US, Germany and the UK, with some frequency, had cycles of expelling batches of diplomats.

We don't want to go back to those days. Smart diplomacy shouldn't take us down the path of diplomatic disruption for the sake of a politician's egomaniacal pique at having been embarrassed or to advance domestic political agendas. That price and those risks are too high. But that's what is being done. It makes me nervous.

But then I saw the Russian embassy in London's tweeted response. Seems like there are still some adults on the global stage. Hopefully this reflects the official Russian response and not just some clever under-secretary. Mature disdain of domestic partisan antics.

Bring back the adults, our side and theirs.

UPDATE: We have our own wits.

UPDATE 2: Iowahawk is on a roll.

No comments:

Post a Comment