Originally Posted by einbert
Did you ever consider the possibility that some people actually do care about this as a national security issue? The fact that Russia interfered in our elections actually means something to a lot of us, more than just as a political football. You really seem to be catching the "everyone believes in nothing" virus that's going around.
There's a lot to unpack there. Rest assured I probably don't care that much about the answers since we've had this discussion before, so I wouldn't spend much time replying:
1. Russians have been engaged in low rent electioneering schemes and szalamitaktika politics since the Cold War. It's interesting and meaningful, sure, but hardly an existential crisis if that's what you're arguing. If you're acknowledging the point, namely that the Soviets have been rolling and trolling for a long time now, but arguing it's meaningfully different then explain why; because it's effective? Yet again we've had I dunno, more than 15 or so Presidential elections all with the Russians in the background trolling us for many of them and yet we only now, 16 years after the end of the Cold War, it's become a national security crisis?
Note too of course Americans engage in all the same subversions of democratic will in plenty of places so, yes, we may want to vet our genuine sincerity here. If you believe in something, your beliefs are best on display when applied normatively, not in an ad hoc manner.
Summary: Russians always troll elections, it's effects are not dispositive, the Trumpening of America is a problem of our own making, subverting democratic norms in other countries and vice versa (when it's done to us) has not seemed to cause a moral panic except for when we get an outcome we don't like, which suggests we're not dealing so much with a principle as an excuse.
2. Related, if this is a true 'national security' issue -- yet again remember that whole frame of pivoting immediately to behaving as if the banal geopolitical actions constitutes a threat to our security has historically been a glib right-wing frame to unnecessarily frighten morons -- we have to make an affirmative argument that Russian interference in our election literally threatens our security. Now I can predict we're going to get the "look at the unhinged maniac bozo now holding the nuclear codes" and fair enough, Trump is an unhinged maniac. And yet we're brought back to Point #1, that Russia has been trolling America since the 50s and it's not clear how much we can really attribute Trump to Russia. Bear in mind plenty on the left (and I suspect maybe 20k of my 25k posts on this forum are about precisely this) have been warning that America has become increasingly and reflexively racist, paranoid, angry and divorced from reality, that this a process long in gestation. That the middle class and up white guys (and some women) who fueled Trump have laid their cards bare for a generation about their revanchist, grievance fueled politics and that political forces like Trump were largely predictable. Maybe Putin was behind all of THAT, but I'm skeptical. I give my countrymen credit that their inchoate anger, rage, and paranoia at blacks, immigrants, ambitious women, gays, cosmopolitan social values, modernity, etc. is not foreign borne but inbred, so to speak.
In any event - is the argument here that we're going to be flying the Trikolor over the White House? That the Russians are planning to invade and Trump tells American armies to stand down? Probably not THAT sort of national security issue, right?
So we mean instead that like America's stated global interests are under threat? e.g., we're planning to look the other way as Russia gets aggressive in eastern Europe and central Asia?
I get why election tampering is an issue that impacts how political power gets distributed and used, impacts diplomacy, effects economic power; all of that builds to how and why our military might get deployed (or not). If that's what you mean, I'm with you to the extent that election tampering is a national security issue but then we get into much squishier territory: now were saying well, Putin influences Trump to allow him to run rampant in the Ukraine, and jeopardizes our NATO allies, and central Asian oil markets, whatever. Fine. I appreciate the formal interpretation of what we mean here. But then yet again we're confronted with #3 below, which is the political wisdom of all of this. The right-wing historically pivots to blabbing about NATSEC INTERSTS because they know 'national security' is a way to dogwhistle to sharper, elite, wealthier interests that they want to protect access to things like cheap global oil and eastern European markets, but they want to do it in a way that doesn't sound overly-subserviant to esoteric global capital interests. So they turn everything into a NATSEC INTERST THREAD CODE ORANGE alarm because it frightens morons and confuse them into thinking they will be physically harmed if we don't act. Why is the LEFT embracing this? Maybe we've found it to be an effect political kludge but I'm not convinced. We've always stood opposed to that form of politicking and I think we're going to have a long way to go to catch up the right's ability to speak to it convincingly.
3. Lastly, and related to the last point in #2: this is all about the political wisdom
of the time and attention spent by both the Democratic Party and Democratic ideologues who shape opinion on Russia. Here we are caught in trying to assess what matters to people, about how the things we're saying shapes and eventually results in acquiring power for ourselves so we can enact the things we want. I would argue that the politics of destroying Trump personally are frankly right out of the failed Clinton/NeverTrump strategy playbook which results in a weakened and feeble Trump, OK, but a powerful and largely unfazed Republican Party.
Toppling Trump and winning a consensus that he's a co-opted Russian agent still leaves huddled masses of angry suburban and exurban and rural whites yearning to breathe air free of the stench of recently arrived immigrants; still leaves the wretched refuse of our fly over country trying to zone blacks back into inner cities and rural poverty. Still leaves Rust Belt angry morons who think the Golden Door is the way white guys travel but no one else should pass. It leaves behind a Republican Party still slavish to corporate oligarchical interests, Paul Ryan still trying to dismantle what little income security the American middle class and working class have left, and 35 GOP governors eroding the dying embers of labor protection. The left will solve an urgent problem but one that ultimately gets them very little in the long run. It leaves behind everything that produced Trump.
It is, in many ways, the perfect strategy of the Clinton/NeverTrump brigades: an attempt to remove the ugliest of tumors but insists we don't want to use chemotherapy to harm the otherwise perfect body, because the prior status quo is exactly what they want to return to: a weak and feeble left that meekly begs for what are essentially corporation-driven, market welfare schemes like Obamacare and an angry, paranoid right that provides a bulwark against anything more radical than the health-care delivery systems the Heritage Foundation and Mitt Romney cooked up a decade ago.
Even forgetting the strategic interests, though, the tactical deployment is left wanting. Yet again I'll reiterate the story Democrats tell is one of an assembly of facts but no conclusion. Even your post gets to it! Today we're preening about national security and the great threats Trump and Putin pose to our physical bodies and national integrity; tomorrow it will all be a ruse to aid Kushner get no-bid Russian contracts. The day after that it's because Tillerson and Exxon are the secret buyers of a huge share of Rosneft. By the weekend we'll be back to Bannon's white nationalist dream of destroying the liberal order. Next week it will be Trump Grift.
I don't know where I rank on the 'interest in following the news' and 'predisposed to by an interpretation of events prediposed toward conclusions which embarrass Trump' but let's assume I'm in the top 25% of news consumption and I'm on the leftward 25% of America. And it still isn't at all clear to me what Trump's motivations are here and why anyone in this story is acting in the way they are. If this is ostensibly great politics, I should be frothing at the mouth mad and led there by left-wing thought leaders and politicians. So far the best I can muster is 'this is all kinda suspicious?' and maybe that's more on me than anyone on the left but I'm not so sure and I'm pretty confident the failing is that there is no actual, coherent story here with an assumption about why Trump and Russia are scheming together and what the relevant interests are of all of the parties. And yet again, broken record time, seems like a pretty drastic failure just on the tactics used (assembly of facts, no story) to achieve strategic goals (make Trump look bad).