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The Russians are coming… ho-hum

7 January 2018

Coming from the country that has never been exactly subtle when it comes to trying to “influence” elections here, this is rich. Regeneración, 6 January 2018 (my translation)

Once again accusations are being leveled against Russia, said to be attempting to influence yet another foreign election.

This time the accusations come from General H.R. McMaster, White House National Security Adviser , who claims that Moscow will intervene in this year’s Mexican elections, but does not give any details to support his statement.

In mid-December, Aristegui Noticias reported that McMaster said the United States had “perceived” that Russia would seek to intervene in the Mexican elections.

The counselor said that the objective of this alleged intervention is to “polarize societies and cause a crisis of confidence,” adding that this “can be seen already in the campaigns in Mexico,” but did not provide any details.
“With Russia we are increasingly concerned about these sophisticated campaigns of subversion, disinformation and propaganda. Theyn have the cyber tools to do it,” McMaster said at a Jamestown Foundation conference.

Along with these US accusations, some political commentators in Mexico also suggested that “Russian hackers” could influence the results of elections here. For some reason, RT (the Russian news service) responded that similar accusations have been raised over other elections, wth claims that “Russian hackers were responsible for the victory of Donald Trump in 2016,; that they also caused Brexit that same year; they started the independence movement in Catalonia; they intervened in the Netherlands; they influenced the elections in Germany and France … ”

REGENERACIÓN noted at the time that types of statements, despite not being based on evidence, have become a kind of wildcard that political actors use to evade responsibility for electoral results not matching their expectations.

On the other hand, the media expert Jenaro Villamil, has said the real “ghost” that various politicians call “Russian influence” is “the failure of a generation of politicians who after the 2008-2009 financial crisis either could not, or did not want to read the messages sent by Greeks and Spaniards caught by the collapase, or by the denizens of the suburban London and Paris who know themselves excluded from the “European utopia”.

It might e worth noting that the Jamestown Foundation was set up to provide a sinecure for Soviet Bloc defectors, and to pitch their various memoirs to major publishers. It has close ties to both the CIA and to known Russophobes in the foreign policy “establishment”.

That said, and accepting that Russians might have actually sent out various tweets and facebook messages during various recent political campaigns, one has to ask… so what? I don’t see that there’s any evidence that Russian hackers had any real influence on any elections elsewhere. And, while Mexico’s recent administrations have bent over backwards to support US policy, Russian relations are … so far… a non-issue here. The US is somewhat concerned about one of our presidential candidates (and we know which one that is) who has more to worry about US intervention than a few tweets and posts from Moscow. And, as it is, given the candidate’s overwhelming led in the polls right now, Russian interference with the other candidates would be counterproductive

But, as an excuse for the probable outcome of the election… blaming the Ruskies is a natural for those US politicians who want to ask “who lost Mexico” (which was never theirs to lose in the first place, natch).

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