John Bolton warned Russia the United States will take “necessary steps” to stop it meddling in the 2018 midterms.
“I made it clear that we wouldn’t tolerate meddling in 2018 and that we were prepared to take necessary steps to prevent it from happening,” he said.
CBS News reports this morning:
It was a statement that has not yet been delivered with an equivalent level of clarity from President Trump, who has repeatedly cast doubt on Moscow’s involvement in 2016 election interference.
The “clarity” is all Bolton’s. In effect, when it comes to foreign policy, he is the President of the United States. Trump is too busy going after Mueller and the Democrats to bother with such complex issues.
In other words, Trump has left foreign policy decisions up to Bolton and a gang of neocons determined to get a war started somewhere—Russia, Iran, Syria—and drive another nail into the coffin of the Constitution.
If you can say anything positive about Trump, it’s that he doesn’t want to start a war with Russia. The Don isn’t adverse to killing people—in Syria, Iraq, and Africa. He is also helping the Saudis slaughter innocents in Yemen, creating the most dire humanitarian crisis in recent memory.
Trump apparently doesn’t believe Russia “influenced” the 2016 election with Facebook ads and other clickbait. But he believes somebody did.
All of the fools that are so focused on looking only at Russia should start also looking in another direction, China. But in the end, if we are smart, tough and well prepared, we will get along with everyone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2018
The president has instead often allowed for the possibility that other, usually unnamed, actors carried out an influence campaign, although the U.S. intelligence community concluded with high confidence last year that the Russian government, as ordered by Putin, aimed to help then-candidate Trump’s electability while damaging the chances of Hillary Clinton.
In addition to Russia, President Bolton said China, North Korea, and Iran will meddle in the midterms. He said “offensive cyber operations” will be put into place to “protect the integrity of the election process.”
Integrity. For instance, the DNC sabotaging the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders and, before that, Republicans destroying the campaign of Ron Paul.
In June, the Pentagon “empowered the United States Cyber Command to take a far more aggressive approach to defending the nation against cyberattacks, a shift in strategy that could increase the risk of conflict with the foreign states that sponsor malicious hacking groups,” according to The New York Times.
It is unclear how carefully the administration has weighed the various risks involved if the plan is acted on in classified operations. Adversaries like Russia, China and North Korea, all nuclear-armed states, have been behind major cyberattacks, and the United States has struggled with the question of how to avoid an unforeseen escalation as it wields its growing cyberarsenal.
Trump can’t be bothered with any of this.
But the risks of escalation — of United States action in foreign networks leading to retaliatory strikes against American banks, dams, financial markets or communications networks — are considerable, according to current and former officials. Mr. Trump has shown only a cursory interest in the subject, former aides say, not surprising for a man who does not use a computer and came of age as a business executive in a predigital era.
If these guys keep taunting Russia and China, there is the distinct possibility we will not only end up living a “predigital” era, but also one without electricity and—Lord forbid!—smart phones.
This loss may finally inspire the boobeoise—as H. L. Mencken described the easily fooled public—to begin the Second American Revolution.
I’m not holding my breath.
If we can believe corporate polls, 58 percent of Americans want Trump to confront Putin over election meddling.
President Bolton has been assigned the task.