CIA director, Mike Pompeo, says Russia will almost certainly meddle in America's 2018 mid-term Congressional elections.
“I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that but I’m confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election [and] that we will push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won’t be great,” Pompeo said.
Much has been made of how Russia manipulated American voters in 2016 through social media - Facebook, YouTube, etc. In the result some social media sites have taken steps to deter a similar attack.
Two huge mistakes. We have centuries of history of countries that prepared to fight the last war and so were unprepared to fight the next war. America is preparing, to the extent it is preparing at all, to resist a repeat of the 2016 Russian meddling.
Mistake two - leaving the drawbridge down and unattended. Social media was merely a means to exploit America's critical vulnerability, the collapse of democratic knowledge.
In America, more than in most other Western countries, there is a basic failure of democratic knowledge. In a well-functioning democracy, citizens agree broadly on facts and have some trust in the democratic system, allowing democracy to harness different perspectives and put them to good use. In America, in contrast, distrust and profound disagreements over facts have led to a kind of crisis of democratic knowledge that leaves democracy open to outside manipulation.
Over the last two decades, the common knowledge of American democracy has been undermined. As Alexis de Tocqueville warned could happen, the structures of shared knowledge are being weakened by democratic politics itself. Politicians — especially on the right — have cast doubt on sources of authority such as science and government, telling their supporters that they shouldn’t trust experts. Finally, the public itself, on its own initiative, has become less trusting of traditional institutions such as the Roman Catholic Church as they have revealed their feet of clay.
As a result, those who were disengaged from politics have become more so, while those who are engaged have become ever more partisan. The result is that most people don’t care about politics, and those who do are likely to have radically different understandings of the challenges faced by America.
Disaffection can be healthy up to a point. Many traditional institutions have failed badly and do not deserve people’s trust. ...Yet when people with different perspectives stop sharing a common basis of knowledge, democracy is liable to pull itself apart. Parties become enemies rather than competitors. When people stop trusting any institutions, they are likely instead to start thinking that the democratic process is rigged, and to pin their hopes instead on cranks and conspiracy mongers.
How can you stop the Russians from doing what Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh and their class of reprobates do every day? They've grown fat and rich preying on the ignorance, the fears and the basest instincts of their followers, their human fois gras. Undermining basic democratic knowledge, the glue of democracy, is their stock in trade.
Mike Pompeo's CIA isn't addressing this vulnerability. Congress isn't. Trump certainly isn't. The Mango Mussolini relies on the same tactics the Russians use to keep his base in line.
It wasn't Macron who defeated Russian meddling in France nor Merkel in Germany. It was the French people and the German people and their hold on democratic knowledge. The American public, or a significant part of it, has become enfeebled. They've been conditioned, groomed, into a state of near imbecility. There was nothing accidental about it. Those responsible knew exactly what they were doing and what could be had from it.