Former Vice President and perpetual bogeyman to the left Dick Cheney gave a speech in New Delhi yesterday and he addressed the attempts by Russia to meddle in the US election:
There’s no question there was a very serious effort made by Mr. [Vladimir] Putin and his government, his organization, to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic processes,” Cheney said Monday during a speech at the Economic Times’ Global Business Summit 2017 in New Delhi.
“In some quarters, that would be considered an act of war. I think it’s a kind of conduct and activity we will see going forward. We know he’s attempted it previously in other states in the Baltics,” Cheney said, according to video of the remarks.
If Cheney had opposed Trump during the campaign I’d think he was simply trolling him but Cheney was a Trump supporter. So this leaves me in a quandary. I’m not sure I agree with anything he says, and when you’re disagreeing with Dick Cheney you have to do so advisedly. And neither am I sure what message he was delivering and to whom he was delivering it.
I think there is no doubt the Russians ran an information operation against Hillary Clinton. To me the evidence indicates that they were resigned to a President Clinton and were trying to cause difficulties between her and other factions, particularly that led by Bernie Sanders, of the Democrat party. I don’t see the evidence that they tried to interfere with our democratic processes unless you call screwing with the president interference and not a day ending in “y.” If they did, they were damned inefficient about it because Clinton won the popular vote.
Where I really depart company with Cheney is that sane people anywhere would look at election interference, either by covert means or by a George Soros directed rent-a-mob funded by USAID, as casus belli. This is not to say that I don’t think we shouldn’t make life in Russia interesting because cyber attacks aren’t the unique province of SVR/FSB hackers. Lots of other people can play the game, too. And Russia does need to be taught that it is painful to try to screw with elections in other countries. But declaring it an act of war seems a lot less than helpful to Trump or to any other cause.