Russia Sanctions

Same topic, different views

By Tim Baldwin and Joe Carbonari

By Tim Baldwin

President Barack Obama ordered sanctions against Russia for its alleged hacking into political information concerning Hillary Clinton

That Obama sanctioned Russia appears to send a message to the world that it cannot mess with America’s elections, but also appears to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency, as if it started by Russia’s help. Trump said there are “bigger and better” things to address. Surely Russia can’t take the sanctions too seriously.

Once again, there is an elephant in the room that some are ignoring. What about the truth of the leaked information about Clinton? Despite Trump’s popularity, he was also one of the most nauseating candidates in decades. Still, Clinton’s candidacy was so repulsive that Trump beat her handily.

While America must not tolerate foreign influence in our elections (or in any other aspect of our political process – cough, cough), it must not tolerate corrupt politicians. Maybe the DNC (and RNC) has learned a big lesson: nominate candidates who are more above reproach than Clinton.

Corruption can normally go with long-term politicians. We’ve learned this, which is why we limit the presidency term. It’s time to limit Congress’ term. Trump promotes amending the Constitution to impose congressional term limits. If Trump does nothing else but this, it will be somewhat successful.

By Joe Carbonari

Russia hacks. We hack. So does China, Iran, Korea and more. Russia meddles in others’ elections. We meddle in others’ elections. What’s new is the level of hacking and meddling against us that’s now taking place.

On the margin, these activities can make a difference. Taken together, did they make enough difference to tip the election to Trump? Hard to say.

What can be said is that our elections are vulnerable to an unacceptable degree. If we cannot trust the legitimacy of our elections, and their results, our democratic system will not work.

Our freedoms are predicated on voluntary cooperation, participation, and restraint. It is Russia’s aim to destroy trust in democracy, both here and in Europe, and thus weaken the western alliance.

Open societies are vulnerable to a degree Russia’s is not. This does not favor us, and on the level it has now reached, it is not an acceptable game to play.

President Barack Obama’s recent retaliation, as now known, is unlikely to be effective. It appears tepid and reflexive.

Let’s hope that Putin overplays his newly found “good-guy” role and that Donald Trump is as good as he boasts. In playing up to one another Putin and Trump can actually improve relations and advance world peace, or one may trap the other. It’s a serious game we play. Our new president will need our support, and perhaps our guidance.

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