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Missed Kremlin Connections
The Daily Beast — Feb. 12, 2018
This past week saw a new development in L’Affaire Russe, courtesy of an unexpected source. Aleksei Navalny, the last remaining presidential candidate in Russia genuinely opposed to Putin, posted an expose linking Oleg Deripaska (Paul Manafort’s Russian benefactor) to a Kremlin intermediary with a heavy influence on Russian foreign policy. Navalny, who is generally hesitant to embrace Trump-Russia theories, believes that this may be a key development in the probe into the president’s Russian connections, as this is a direct line that can be traced from Manafort to the Kremlin.
In Defense of Democracy
Foreign Policy Magazine — Feb. 13, 2018
The challenge to the United States in coming decades stems not only from traditional security concerns from revisionist powers like China and Russia, but from an ideological struggle pitting democracy against authoritarianism. Moscow and its allies in the West seek to delegitimize democracy around the world through a constant disinformation campaign, because a healthy and stable democracy is a direct challenge to the argument that only an authoritarian strongman can bring order to society. Countering this argument is not only good for democratic values, it’s in America’s national interest.
The Double Life of a Twitter Troll
The Kansas City Star — Feb. 14, 2018
The Kansas City Star traces the development of a particular Russian disinformation account on Twitter. When it first came to prominence, it claimed to be an African-American male warning Missouri protesters that the KKK was rampaging through the streets. Later, the account became “Deplorable Lucy,” a pro-Trump, middle-aged white woman. Suffice to say, the Kremlin is ultimately on no one's side here – Moscow only seeks to inflame partisan hatred throughout America.
A Crime and Lack of Punishment
The Atlantic — Feb. 13, 2018
At a hearing before Congress yesterday, the leaders of the American intelligence community issued a warning: Russia will again attempt to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections. This is a serious national security issue, and the president’s continued refusal to even acknowledge it has become a critical liability for American democracy.
The End of Fact?
BuzzFeed News — Feb. 11, 2018
Leaders in tech innovation are warning of an “infocalypse,” a point at which the dissemination of false information reaches the communications equivalent of critical mass. We are approaching a moment where, thanks to technological advances, “anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did.” This development bodes ill for our ability to sustain a pluralist democracy in the modern world, at least if the problem is not confronted soon.