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The Obama administration has accused Russia of using cyberattacks to manipulate the U.S. presidential election. The attacks, carried out in June, are allegedly the source of embarrassing Hillary Clinton campaign emails being steadily released by Wikileaks in recent days. Now, the CIA is reportedly coming up with options for retaliating against Moscow. According to the White House, the retaliation will be proportional and designed to humiliate Russian leadership.
Joe Biden is in favor of a proportionate response to Russia’s alleged cyberattacks. He says the retaliation should be strong enough to send the message that the hacks are unacceptable. Biden believes that Moscow’s actions represent an attempt to undermine American democracy and bolster Donald Trump’s campaign. Trump’s success, according to Biden, plays “directly into the hands” of the Kremlin. Nonetheless, the Vice President doesn’t think an American response needs to be immediate. Instead, he suggests the U.S. should be patient and wait for the most effective time to strike. “It will be at the time of our choosing,” Biden said on Sunday. “And under the circumstances that have the greatest impact.”
Vladimir Putin denies that his country is behind hacks intended to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He’s dismissed the U.S. threats as pure bluster. Putin argues that the latest claims are part of “Russophobic propaganda” designed to distract from the failures of American leadership, including a huge national debt and disastrous policies in the Middle East. The Russian leader sees the American threat of retaliation as nothing new and in line with other nefarious actions carried out by American agents in cyberspace. Putin claims the U.S. is also making a tactical error by promising retaliation, as it would be admitting involvement in cyberattacks on other nations. His comments directly hint at instances in which the U.S. has been caught spying on other nations and world leaders, such as the Wikileaks that revealed NSA eavesdropping on European heads of state.
Robert D. Kaplan, an influential writer and foreign policy realist, believes Russia is guilty of manipulating the U.S. election. He says that such a violation of sovereignty is “approaching an act of war.” Kaplan points out, however, that apart from cyberspace, Russia is also committing aggressions in the physical world, including in Syria, Ukraine, and the Baltic nations. According to Kaplan, this is part of a Kremlin strategy to gain power over the U.S. by exploiting the timidity of the Obama administration. He believes the correct U.S. response is to meet Russia on all of these fronts, including cyber, by deploying more military assets and being more assertive. As it stands, Kaplan sees the administration being too selective and relying too heavily on negotiations for fear of escalating conflicts. “Diplomacy is not a replacement for force, but its accompaniment,” Kaplan said, suggesting this misconception is at the heart of the Obama administration’s shortcomings.
Further Reading: The Guardian / The Hill / Wall Street Journal
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Biden and Putin photos from Reuters. Kaplan from Twitter
Copyright © 2016 Parallax News, All rights reserved.


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