Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School


Have Russians Started a New Cold War?

Kate Weinberg (‘18)

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The facts of the situation are as follows: people working in accord with, or by direct orders of, Vladimir Putin’s government, possibly hacked into the e-mail accounts of the Democratic National Committee. John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman, then passed the contents to WikiLeaks, which published them throughout the summer and fall. Consequently, Democrats are using these hacks to explain the outcome of the election. Several intelligence agencies told news outlets that the Russian operation was meant to aid Trump’s election.

The hackings, unfortunately, make Russia seem extremely powerful. In previous years, Obama Democrats have called Russia and her people weak. Yet the hacking provided Russia the ability to prove them wrong; Russia may have swayed a United States election.
It has been suggested, however, that if this type of power truly existed–that Russia could persuade a country to elect a specific presidential candidate—such power would have been used a long time ago. Additionally, Russians have denied their responsibility in the hacking. “Everyone is talking about who did it,” Putin said, denying a Russian role. “But is it that important? The most important thing is what is inside this information.”

On the one hand, perhaps Putin is indicating that Russia had no part in the hacking. More likely, Putin may have made such a statement to imply that Russia could accomplish these hackings, and to imply that the leaked information is important. One Russian touched on the fact that Russia’s motivation, if there were a motivation, might be to show American officials that Russians can interfere with elections in other countries, just as it is rumored the U.S. has done several times in recent Russian history. A former K.G.B. officer’s claims that Russia is still incapable of using information as a weapon, because the country is not as technologically progressive as are some other countries, including the U.S. This, however, may have been said only to erase any preconceived notions of Russia’s involvement. The K.G.B. officer represents Russia’s ruling class, which might sincerely believe that whatever they may do, the Americans do more of it, and worse. Even as Russian responsibility for the hacks has been established with a high degree of certainty by several U.S. intelligence agencies, their motive is still unclear.

Many believe that Obama should spend his remaining time in office declassifying documents about the hacking, to create rest throughout the country, and to publish concrete facts about the matter instead of misinformation.

Some Russians opposed Clinton for her policies in addition to her open statement that she felt Putin had a “beef” against her. She said the hacking was an early effort to undermine the her candidacy. In recent years, the global Russian propaganda mission has not been to make Russia look impeccable, but to make others look equally blemished. Russia was not necessarily supporting Trump, the individual; instead, Russia may have been trying to publicize the blemishes of countries other than Russia.

According to President Obama, the ideal policy would be one “that increases costs for them for behavior like this in the future, but does not create problems for us.” In his last month or so as president, it does not seem as though President Obama is willing to take action against Russia. During his presidency, his goal has not been to confront Russia, or air the problems the U.S. has had with Russia. Rather, he has attempted to have as little to do with the country as possible, in an effort to prevent greater conflict.

In the coming months, both America and Russia will watch as the new president of our country takes office—a new president who may make Russia and Americans regretful, or a president who will prove many wrong.

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Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School
Have Russians Started a New Cold War?