Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Chessmaster

Juxtaposition by the Boston Globe
It's Vladimir Putin's world, and we're just living in it. Time: [bold added]
While there is no evidence that votes were altered, the steady stream of embarrassing revelations from the emails put Hillary Clinton into a defensive crouch. And, in a razor-thin election, there are many Americans who believe, with some justification, that Putin helped Trump win.

What makes it even better for Putin is the election meddling caps an extraordinary two-year string of military and diplomatic victories that leaves him in a strong position as the new President enters office. In Eastern Europe, Putin turned a losing hand in Ukraine into a territorial grab of Crimea. He has helped fund the rise of nationalist parties in Western Europe and benefited from the resulting weakening of the European Union. In the Middle East, he has deployed his forces to Syria to save a beleaguered Cold War ally and emerged with newfound influence throughout the region.
But what's dominated the domestic news in the past month has been Russia's attempts to influence the U.S. election:
Putin wasn’t just trying to give Western democracy a black eye, say senior intelligence and Administration officials, he was also trying to help Trump win White House [sic].
What's missing in this narrative is why Vladimir Putin wanted Donald Trump to win. Did Mr. Putin think Hillary Clinton would make the U.S. Defense posture stronger than Donald Trump? Below are some of Donald Trump's defense goals:
  • Work with Congress to fully repeal the defense sequester and submit a new budget to rebuild our depleted military.
  • Increase the size of the U.S. Army to 540,000 active duty soldiers, which the Army Chief of Staff says he needs to execute current missions.
  • Rebuild the U.S. Navy toward a goal of 350 ships, as the bipartisan National Defense Panel has recommended.
  • Provide the U.S. Air Force with the 1,200 fighter aircraft they need.
  • Grow the U.S. Marine Corps to 36 battalions.
  • I cannot imagine any Democratic administration proposing anything close to the above nor that the Russians would prefer DJT to HRC.

    The Russian hacking is entirely believable, but the motivation remains a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Probably, as usual, the Russians are playing chess, and the Americans are playing--not even checkers--but tiddlywinks.

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