Not all foreign interferences in the US presidential election are equal

Kenneth Vogel and David Stern have a very good piece in Politico on the efforts by the Ukrainian government to undermine Trump during the campaign and how they are trying to make amends now that he won. It’s worth noting that, while the media can’t stop talking about the alleged Russian interference in the election to help Trump, despite the fact that the evidence in the public record is almost non-existent, nobody is talking about the interference of the Ukrainian government in the election to help Clinton, for which there is actually much better evidence. (Of course, that the government in Kiev should try to help Clinton is hardly surprising, given that the government in question was installed after a coup orchestrated by Nuland, Clinton’s protégée in the State Department.) I’m sure it’s just an oversight and that journalists, who are so concerned over foreign interventions in the US election, will soon correct it…

2 thoughts

  1. The point is not that Russia supported Trump; the point is that they used unethical and illegal means to do so. If Putin wanted to buy TV ads on American television in support of Trump, I don’t have much of a problem with that; he has as much right to do so as the Koch brothers. I do have a problem with hacking e-mail servers, though.

    1. I would be surprised if it were not illegal for a foreign government to buy ads in support of a candidate in a US election, but I get that it’s not the interesting point you’re making, which is that the kind of interference Russia allegedly engaged in is different from the kind of intervention Ukraine is accused of having engaged in, in a way that makes it worse. But I’m just not sure that it’s true and I don’t think the evidence that it’s true is particularly good.

      As the Politico article mentions, there are now people even in Ukraine who claim that the ledger on which Paul Manafort’s name was allegedly found had been doctored or even forged. Indeed, since Trump’s victory, even the Ukrainian government is now backtracking its claims about this ledger. Now, it may be that the ledger was real and that the Ukrainians are just covering their asses because they fear retaliation from Trump’s administration, but given Trump’s intentions to seek a détente with Russia and the way in which the government in Kiev came to be, it’s also very possible that they forged a document to try and embarrass Trump.

      If that were true, I think it would clearly be worse than what Russia allegedly did, namely hacking the DNC, the DCCC and Podesta’s email account and release actual documents obtained in that way. Now, I think at this point the evidence is poor that the ledger was forged (although I also think it was epistemically irresponsible to trust that it was real, given that it was clearly in Kiev’s interest to hurt Trump’s chances), but the same thing can be said of the evidence that Russia hacked the Democratic party and published the material it stole to help Trump. You may not agree with that, but I think it’s clearly true, and will probably write something to make that case soon. You can tell me then if you still disagree.

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