Cold War, Hot Takes
“Those Hacking Charges” [Jan. 16/23] speaks to me in calling for a de-escalation of the new Cold War, but I’m skeptical about calling on the president to convene “an independent commission, composed of experienced Americans,” to investigate the allegations of Russian hacking.
Can we be sure that the “experienced” persons chosen will not reflect the very mind-set that threatens to launch a new Cold War? Is it likely that the president would appoint any of the veteran intelligence officials who recently signed an open letter questioning the CIA’s allegations that the Russian government interfered with our presidential election?
santa fe, n.m.
The editorial “Those Hacking Charges” makes a case for a balanced appraisal before the facts are known. However, the times of easy analysis when all pieces of the puzzle fit together are long gone. From the scientific to the political, simple answers are unavailable. But this does not mean that they are unknowable, only that the answers are contentious—and that they require a good deal of thinking about who benefits from the outcome.
Your editorial is a considered, rational, progressive, “politically correct” analysis that attempts to satisfy both sides of the argument for the sake of minimizing the rocking of the boat. But this anemic approach papers over known facts: The outcome of the election was overshadowed by many suspicious events, from incomplete vote accounting to demonstrated hacking of the Democratic National Committee as opposed to its Republican counterpart. The extensive capability of Russian hackers does not “prove” their complicity, but it certainly demonstrates that they would not be so amateurish as to leave clearly identifiable “fingerprints.” Other events, such as the political assassination of Russian reporters or expat whistle-blowers, cannot be “proven” to have been carried out by Russian agents working for Vladimir Putin, but the overwhelmingly reasonable blame assuredly fits.
So, yeah, maybe the “proof” is not available—but the culpability and demonstrable benefits are as plain as day.
You know, it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time, and it is possible to recognize the seriousness of Russia’s attempt to elect Donald Trump while acknowledging that this was but one of many factors that tipped the scales, including (for example) Hillary Clinton’s neglect of Michigan and Wisconsin while trying to achieve a landslide victory by winning Texas or Georgia.