Russia, Trump, and Democracy
It is high time that we stood up to Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections. It is high time that we take our democracy back, and punish Russia for attempting to interfere in the greatest and strongest democracy in human history.
The fact that we have a president who contradicts himself on Russian involvement does not help. The fact that the media refers to to the Russian involvement as a “hack” rather than what it actually was, a campaign to influence and sway American voters to the side of Donald J Trump, does not help. The fact that Mr. Trump and the media are at war with each other, as the media continues to focus on the Trump administration, rather than the source of the problem itself (Russia) does not help.
To solve a problem, one must identify it. In this case, the problem is the legitimate fear of Russia influencing the 2018 midterms, and elections in western democracies, as they already have done so in France. In France, Russia routinely launched cyber attacks on Emmanuel Macron, and his campaign databases. In Germany, there are reports that Kremlin affiliates are going after Angela Merkel and her party.
If Russia keeps going after the election processes of well-established, well-documented, and successful democracies, it is likely that candidates won’t be pandering to a middle class, or younger people, but instead to the Kremlin. Indeed, the collusion between the Trump administration and Russian officials was likely because of this. The moment this starts happening en masse, will be the worst nightmare for western democracy. Candidates gaining the support of foreign entities and using them to win elections sounds much more like Central Africa then France. Yet, it is happening.
The United States, being the arsenal and primary backer of democracy needs to take action that will cripple Russia, and deter it from ever again attempting to sway other nations election processes.
The first step is to create a new cyber-security strategy and improve American cyber-security. The state of American cyber-security, right now, is completely atrocious. Major corporations, like Yahoo, have suffered major hacks that result in the loss of hundreds of millions of accounts. There will be a post coming out later that details American cyber-security, but America needs to fund cyber-security and invest in computer science, and shift our focus from the 20th century battlefield to the 21st century fibre-optic cable.
The second step is to impose crippling sanctions against the Russian government. There are already efforts to do this, albeit for different reasons regarding Ukraine and Syria. Regardless, sanctions are needed against Russia. The Russian economy is already very weak, and sanctions would further damage the Russian economy.
Another possible step is to increase production of natural gas and oil. US natural gas production is already increasing, as new shale deposits are discovered daily. Meanwhile, Europe has been increasingly dependent on Russian natural gas, and Russian gas exports to the EU are a vital part of the Russian economy. Europe is desperate to wean itself off of Russian natural gas, and as a result, the US is sending LNG tankers to Europe. However, this isn’t enough compared to the vast amount of LNG flowing through Russian pipelines. Therefore, the United States must incentivize production of more LNG tankers and LNG, through tax breaks or subsidies, or build an underwater pipeline to supply Europe with gas. This step would wreak havoc on the Russian energy sector, and force Russia out of Ukraine, Syria, and out of foreign elections.
Regardless, the United States has to take action on Russia. The greatest country on Earth cannot sit idly while the election process of it and its allies is being compromised by a foreign government.