The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, January 09, 2017

The Russians—Ad Nauseum

Based on intelligence assessment, there's little doubt that the Russians were involved in the email hacks of the DNC and John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's right-hand man. But this is simply indicative of a "cyberwarfare" threat—it is not cyberwarfare itself. Let me explain.

Cyberwarfare does direct and serious damage to a country's infrastructure, to its economic base, to its state secrets and/or intellengence methods, or to it's ability to defend itself in the case of more conventional attacks. The Russian hack that has given the entire Democrat party and many of the GOP elites the vapors is none of those things—although the hack is indicative of a capability to do those things.

The hack in question was bush-league, stealing embarrassing (and revealing) emails from (stupidly and irresponsibly) unprotected servers at the DNC, or in the case of Podesta, falling for a (low level) phishing expedition that crosses each of our in-boxes almost every day. The information release was not propaganda or lies or disinformation—it was the Democrats in their own words—embarrassing yes, cyberwarfare, no.

Yet the Dems and their trained hamsters in the media would have us believe that "the hack" is a reason to believe that Hillary Clinton really won the election, and if it wasn't for the manically evil Russians, she's be getting ready for the White House, not Donald Trump. What unmitigated nonsense!

Trump, of course, handles all of this with his Trumpian tweets, exacerbating the issue, rather than resolving it. The Wall Street Journal comments:
What a spectacle. Two weeks before a peaceful democratic transition of power, Democrats are using Russian cyber hacks as an excuse to explain their defeat, and Donald Trump is playing into their hands by refusing to acknowledge that Vladimir Putin is no friend of America. The only winner here is Mr. Putin, who must be laughing at his success in causing Americans to mistrust their own democratic system.
It comical to listen to progressives (and a few GOP hawks) rail against Russia and Putin, suggesting that they be given no quarter, that any attempt at discussion, or heaven forbid, working together, must be immediately quashed. Putin is not our friend, but it is possible that he and the new president would have joint interests, and that working together in limited and specific instances (e.g., Syria) might undo some of the wreckage caused by Barack Obama's disastrous foreign policy.

The WSJ summarizes the intelligence agency assessment this way:
... the report offers no evidence or judgment that the hacking influenced the election result. The leaks from Clinton aide John Podesta’s email and the Democratic National Committee were embarrassing in their candid views of individuals, but they included no bombshells. The emails that really hurt Mrs. Clinton’s electability were those she kept on a private server while Secretary of State.
Ahh ... the harsh truth. It was Hillary's server and all the negative press that flowed out of its existence, that hurt her. It was the Clinton foundation and the clear indication of corrupt pay-for-play that hurt her.

You'd think the opposite, that it was "the Russians." But that's what the Democrats want you to think. Like most things in their through-the-looking-glass world, it's far better to believe in a appealing fantasy that to look at real world results and make intelligent changes as a consequence of those results.


The conservative blog, The American Interest, has an interesting take on all of this:
The unclassified version of the Intelligence Community assessment has been published, and as widely predicted, it contains no bombshells. Part of that has to do with the IC protecting its sources, and part of that has to do with the fact that one could have reached most of the conclusions merely by closely following the news and being aware of recent history.

One quick observation: If Putin thought helping Trump win the election would give him the weakest possible opponent, he would not be alone in his assessment: Hillary Clinton thought the exact same thing. [The hacked emails indicate that] Team Clinton tried to help Trump win the GOP nomination race because they thought he would be the weakest possible opponent in the general.
Gotta be careful what you wish for ...