Russia is easily the United States longest continuous adversary. According to a Reuters article, there is evidence to suggest Russia may be attempting to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. But what would they be trying to accomplish?
What Exactly Is Russia Trying To Do?
According to the article:
U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials are warning that hackers with ties to Russia’s intelligence services could try to undermine the credibility of the presidential election by posting documents online purporting to show evidence of voter fraud.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said however, that the U.S. election system is so large, diffuse and antiquated that hackers would not be able to change the outcome of the Nov. 8 election.
But hackers could post documents, some of which might be falsified, that are designed to create public perceptions of widespread voter fraud, the officials said.
But What Does Russia Gain?
It’s simple really, by weakening the peoples faith in their government a divide forms. It makes it harder for the government to push through policy if the people don’t trust them. If the people don’t trust the government, it becomes a PR nightmare for politicians. They have to measure each word that much more carefully, if they don’t, they risk deepening that divide. Russia would basically create a political quagmire in the US government.
If the US government becomes bogged down, it is hard for it to react to change in any meaningful way. Additionally, it makes any anti-Russian policy look retaliatory which basically forces the US to play nice. If the US sanctioned Russia after they “leaked” documents showing the US election is a sham, it would serve to validate the claim.
So Is It True?
Well the article goes on to state they have no specific evidence at this time. So it’s a toss up, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility or even probability. Tensions are heating up between the U.S. and Russia, so the motive is there. On the flip side of the same coin, this allegation could take attention away from any real corruption in the US government.
The incumbent party or candidates would likely be the ones using voter fraud to maintain a balance of power. These same people stand the most to gain from voter fraud. By blaming the allegations of voter fraud, they shift the blame to an outside third party. Any one in sales knows this tactic. “look Mr. Customer, I would lower the price, but my boss just won’t let me”. Better known as good cop/bad cop.
That is basically what the US government could be playing here with Russia. The US opens the defense “Look, it’s not rigged, that evidence is just Russia trying to make you think it is, trust us.” By invalidating any evidence of a rigged election as Russian espionage, those who stand the most to gain from it can go on with impunity.