December 26, 2017

"The miscalculations and bureaucratic inertia that left the United States vulnerable to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election trace back to decisions made at the end of the Cold War..."

"... when senior policymakers assumed Moscow would be a partner and largely pulled the United States out of information warfare. When relations soured, officials dismissed Russia as a 'third-rate regional power' that would limit its meddling to the fledgling democracies on its periphery. Senior U.S. officials didn’t think Russia would dare shift its focus to the United States. 'I thought our ground was not as fertile,' said Antony J. Blinken, President Barack Obama’s deputy secretary of state. 'We believed that the truth shall set you free, that the truth would prevail. That proved a bit naive.'"

From "Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options" in The Washington Post. Weird headline, no? It's a long article, and it's #1 on WaPo's most-read list right now. It's a little annoying to untwist what they are trying to say, which I don't think is that "trolls" move quickly on the internet, but that the Obama administration was caught sleeping on the job.

AND: Note that "decisions made at the end of the Cold War" means things that Bill Clinton did:
The United States and the Soviet Union engaged in an all-out information battle during the Cold War. But the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and the Bill Clinton administration and Congress in 1999 shuttered America’s preeminent global information agency.

“They thought it was all over and that we’d won the propaganda war,” said Joseph D. Duffey, the last director of the U.S. Information Agency, which was charged with influencing foreign populations....

46 comments:

Henry said...

Does Mitt Romney get a mention?

Curious George said...

"...the Bill Clinton administration and Congress in 1999 shuttered America’s preeminent global information agency."

Well, at least he didn't rape them. #ingaknew

Tim at large said...

What about Sarah Palin? Go ahead and search "Putin rears his head" if you want to see some turn on a dime foreign policy principles.

PB said...

More hyperbolic assessments absent real data. A $100k of internet ads is "interference"? If Russia is that effective for that little amount of money, they should be able to control the advertising industry and then the world.

David Begley said...

More moronic, naïve and plain stupid mistakes by the Dems. Ben Rhodes, Val Jarrett and Barack Obama's Iran deal will hurt the entire world for years. Stunningly stupid.

I could analogize Obama to Neville Chamberlain but that would be wrong.

Tim at large said...

The more I try to understand the Russian thing, the more I think that Putin's spies played an FBI that was way too willing to believe the worst about Trump in an area where judgement is everything.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

The Left trusts authoritarians like themselves and distrusts free markets, capitalism and those who believe in limiting government. So of course Democrats would trust the Russians.

Jim said...

Peace Dividend!

Quayle said...

Naive left. Dems pressed a reset button. Putin responded with a reboot.

Bay Area Guy said...

"It's a little annoying to untwist what they are trying to say,...."

But not difficult to untwist what they are trying to do - keep the "Russian - bad" narrative alive by publishing any old crap on the issue. Note, these are same morons who during the Cold War, talked about "our inordinate fear of Communism"

Josephbleau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josephbleau said...

Obama famously and snidely mocked Romney in one of the debates "the 80's called and they want their foreign policy back." How clever he looked and how stupid he was in fact.

EDH said...

As even the January 2017 "intelligence community" report had to admit, Russian propaganda is leftist propaganda.

Riley said...

I agree that it's difficult to get much out of the article, other than that the Post suspects cub reporter Alice Johnson of being a Russian with a pen name. Between this and the Bernie Sanders coloring book, it's hard to say which is more likely to bring down the Trump presidency.

cronus titan said...

Guns and butter theory in action. The more spent on guns, the less on butter. Clinton and Obama wanted to spend on butter; treating Russia seriously would require more money on guns, so they ignored the growing Russia threat. That is until they lost an election that they should have won and they could gin up a conspiracy theory.

narciso said...

Except adam carter has noted that the code isn't particularly Russian it sources from a pakistani server crookservers in the UK, no info on the ip addressed from that hack.

Mac McConnell said...

So let me get this straight, Russian spent 100K in shitty confusing adds on the interweb and swayed a 1st world national election. Meanwhile, FBI McCabe's wife couldn't win a crappy state house seat spending 750K and the endorsement of a sitting governor.

Look at the history of Democrat Presidents in dealing with our enemies. Clinton sold defense tech to the Chinese for contributions, shut down this "premier American info system". SOS Clinton facilitated the sale of 20% of American uranium to Russia for contributions and facilitated the start up of a silicon valley in Russia allowing American tech companies to invest and share technology with Russia, probably for contributions. Obama lied to send pallets of US Dollars to Iran for dog shit reasons. Those are just the stuff we know about.

Michael K said...

"these are same morons who during the Cold War, talked about "our inordinate fear of Communism"


That was Jimmy Carter just before the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.

Clinton had an 8 year party that ended on 9/11/2001. He got out of town before the Ponzi scheme collapsed.

Mac McConnell said...

cronus titan said...
Guns and butter theory in action.

The problem is how Democrats define Butter. Butter in their minds is more welfare, paying off union supporters and shoring up blue state budgets, it's more ACORN. Remember the shovel ready infrastructure projects that didn't exist?
In reality military expenses aren't guns, it's butter, mostly people. Hopefully the next infrastructure program will actually pay for needed repairs and new assets, bridges roads and dams etc. Actual useful assets that spans generations.

Yancey Ward said...

This confirms what I have long suspected- Inga is a Russian troll, and probably ARM, too.

narciso said...


What I was referring to:

https://mobile.twitter.com/ClimateAudit/status/944605286999846912?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

narciso said...

Yes she warned Ukraine that they would be next, but Clinton who was as full of rubles said it was time for a reset.

Earnest Prole said...

Shorter Post: "Mistakes Were Made."

Seeing Red said...

Barack chose "more flexibility." He chose poorly.

Again.

Drago said...

Seeing Red: "Barack chose "more flexibility." He chose poorly. Again."

I'm afraid you are quite mistaken here.

You must first put yourself in Obama's shoes and understand HIS strategic objectives which include the following as well as others:
1) Weaken America (put the US in "her proper place" vis a vis the rest of the world)
2) Send the message that the US is nothing special and never has been
3) Rhetorically elevate the ideas/values of EVERYONE else
4) Strengthen our enemies
5) Set the foundation for fundamental transformation of the US into a melded European/leftist govt fueled by unlimited immigration of socialist/communist leaning uneducated/unskilled third worlders who also are taught to hate the US

Once you understand obama's objectives/wants/needs FROM HIS POINT OF VIEW, you see that his Presidency was a spectacular success and the only thing that kept it from being chiseled into stone for all eternity was Hillary's continued astonishing incompetence and over-confidence.

Darrell said...

The "Russia Did It" lie was constructed by the fresh-out-of-college folks that Obama surrounded himself with--the same ones that concocted the Benghazi/YouTube lie. Knowing nothing, they thought that the Right would be furious with the Russians--because they always are. They probably thought it would be funny if Republicans started calling for war--it would get them on the record. Instead, Democrats )like Inga and ARM) had to make stupid statements to keep the lie alive.

Mark said...

Does Mitt Romney get a mention?

Why should he?

robother said...

With the Cold War won, John Podesta saw no reason to change his password from "password." It never occurred to Trump that those two hired Moscow bed-pissers could be KGB. When 10,000 guys with slavic accents showed up at county warehouses in WI, PN and MI to dust off the voting machines the day before the 2016 Election, it didn't strike anyone as strange.....

DavidD said...

What interference?

narciso said...

That 1.2 billion couldn't swing the election for red queen.

glenn said...

Don’t blame Billy Jeff. He was busy getting hummers from interns. Priorities people, priorities.

JML said...

I’m reading “ Enemy at the Gates, The Battle for Stalingrad,” By Craig Williams. It is a reminder of how disastrous it is when all too often the opponent is underestimated. People never learn.

n.n said...

WaPo is still working feverishly to deny Americans' choice. This is how democracy is aborted in plain sight.

n.n said...

$100k of internet ads is "interference"? If Russia is that effective for that little amount of money

If we can learn the secret of their effectiveness for so little invested, then we can close NYT, WaPo, Facebook, Fox, SPLC, PBS, NPR, Hollywood, branches of the intelligence service, branches of the public education system, and save billions, hundreds of billion dollars, perhaps more than a trillion dollars annually. Not to mention streamline information distribution and political campaigns.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Bullshit. Obama's Admin didn't go harder after Russian cyberwar/interference for two reasons: 1.) they wanted to keep Russia happy so as to not screw up their (terrible) "Iran deal" and 2.) they assumed Hilldawg would easily win anyway.

Geez, trace the number of stupid decisions the Obama Admin made in the name of their shitty Iran deal (which, I guess, was Pres. Obama's idea of his big legacy item--something to justify the Peace Prize, etc) and be astounded. Russia invading the Ukraine and taking chunks of Crimea? Better not upset them. Hezbollah terrorists and drug kingpins' capture in danger of ticking off some Iranians? Better let 'em go.

It goes on! But hey, at least his admin had not a whiff of scandal, right?

Martin said...

Several months ago people were asking where was the Obama Admin while all this was supposedly going on. The answer at that time was that they expected Clinton to win and didn't want to feed into Trump's questioning the credibility of the electoral process. I guess that answer doesn't do it anymore, so let's have a new one and see if we can distract the rubes from the real story, the FBI using the Democratic paid-for "Steele Dossier" to get a FISA warrant to tap the Trump campaign....

The same people who should have been on top of any Russian "interference" gave us the Iran nuke JCPOA, looks like.

It's a bit trite, maybe, but to Democrats the real enemy has always been Republicans--foreign powers are of interest only to the extent they can be helpful or harmful in domestic politics.

Ted Kennedy reaching out to Yuri Andropov, for example... But sometimes they give it away when they talk.

Darrell said...

The bullshit about the Facebook ads was another Obama Administration creation. Someone in the Obama Administration asked Facebook to list ads purchased by companies and organizations that had Russian ties. They provided a list to match. Facebook found nothing. Then someone high up in the Obama Administration called Zuckerberg directly and asked him to try again--harder. That's where the $100K list came from. But only about 1/3 of the ads ran prior to election day. And none of them was specifically pro-Trump or anti-Hillary. Facebook dodged questions about any of this for months and the Media kept running with the Russian Facebook ads stories to taint the well and keep the Russian interference. Given that Lefties filled Facebook each day with millions of anti-Trump rants, one would have to be an idiot to think that a few "Russian" ads made any difference.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Darrell said...Given that Lefties filled Facebook each day with millions of anti-Trump rants, one would have to be an idiot to think that a few "Russian" ads made any difference.

Even better: "Russians" bought $100k worth of ads from Facebook, then Facebook senior management individually donated a few hundred thousand dollars to Dems, Hillary, and Dem-supporting PACs...all of which did their best to influence the election.

Ray said...

If you start from an ideology that the US is the villain, the decisions by the Clinton and Obama administration make sense.

Bush II got sucked into the War on Terror, and pretty much ignored Russia.

And now Trump has authorized missiles to be sent to the Ukraine.

Expanding NATO that was done under Clinton, I have mixed feelings on. It's done, for better or for worse.

Could the US have done anything to help make Russia more Democratic? Instead of the one party state it's become?

Darrell said...

Instead of the one party state it's become?

Yeah. The Communist Party was pretty inclusive from 1917 onward.

Unknown said...

Are they talking about the handful of Facebook ads some Russians took out? Because that is the weakest tea imaginable. Or are they talking about RT (Russia Today) TV network, which was right out in the open? Or the Dossier, which was paid for by the DNC? They are seeking to explain russian meddling when their meddling was so trival and incoherent that Obama loudly proclaiming Brexit to be bad is much worse "meddling".

Josephbleau said...

I don’t know about Russian interference but I know absolutely that Obama interfered in Israeli elections, and spent more than 100 grand.

Jerry Goldblatt said...

The article is BS. Information Warfare, renamed information operations, was developed in the early to mid 1990s. You can read all about it Joint Publication 3-13 and OSD Instruction 3600.1.

Dave in Tucson said...

> decisions made at the end of the Cold War

If you can blame Republicans, then do that. Otherwise use passive voice.

rastajenk said...

'I thought our ground was not as fertile,' said Antony J. Blinken, President Barack Obama’s deputy secretary of state. 'We believed that .... their seed could find no purchase."

mrkwong said...

Any time I see a reference to Blinken, I wonder where Winken and Nod are.

Regardless of any individual program or etc. the fact is that most of this country, most of this country's government, and most of the West in general, assumed that with the centrifugal spinoff of the USSR entities the Yeltsin era was 'the end of history'.

Russia was prostrate, China was a pesty intellectual-property thief and a cheap source of bicycles and simple electronics but not likely to be a commercial or serious military threat for decades.

And for a decade we didn't pay attention to trends. Simple as that.