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HORIST: We finally know what Russia was up to

HORIST:  We finally know what Russia was up to

More than a year after the FBI launched the contemporary investigation into Russian meddling, we are finally starting to get a clearer understanding of what was going on and why.  

For most of this time, the Democrats have been trying to peddle the story that Russian meddling was unprecedented and was focused on getting Trump elected President of the United States.  The subtext of the narrative has been the equally unsubstantiated conjecture that Trump and/or his people were actively in league with Vladimir Putin.  By implication, and in some cases by direct accusation, the Democrat/media combo slandered Trump as an agent of Russian communism – a Moscow variety Manchurian candidate.  

 In attempting to put meager meat on these bare bone hypotheses, the media disclosed meetings between anyone associated with Trump and any sort of Russian citizen – even though the meetings were largely the normal course of business in Washington.

The major false narrative was dubiously supported by ancillary false narratives.  For a time, they ran with massive coverage claiming the Trump administration was going to return the Russian compounds seized in the last days of the Obama administration.  It did not happen.  Rather than correcting their misreporting, the media simply let their malicious speculation ebb away.  

The same was true of the pervasive reports that Trump just might remove the Obama sanctions on Russia.  There was no correction from the press even when Trump increased the sanctions on Moscow. 

Again on pure partisan speculation, the press incessantly reported that Trump’s business dealings in Russia may have compromised him in dealing with Putin.  And again, no evidence ever surfaced to give credibility to the reports – much less justification.  They did speculatively use the public absence of Trump’s tax returns as a possible indication of hidden business dealings – again making an unknown a supportive argument to the false narrative.

From the bombing of the Syrian airport to the get-tough stance with North Korea, Trump has pushed back against Russian international adventurism more than any President since Reagan brought down the Soviet “evil empire.”  Trump’s Secretary of State and Ambassador to the UN issued scathing criticisms of Russia and Putin. Unfortunately, the fact-challenged media ignored any and all actions that would refute its preconceived anti-Trump narratives.

Now cometh the latest revelations – forcing the Democrat/media to accelerate their spin cycle .

Based on recent reports, the Trump campaign was only incidental to a much broader Russian campaign to undermine American democracy and spread dissension among various domestic groups.  There is nothing new in that.  Promulgating internal dissension and conflict is what the Russians have been doing since the beginning of the cold war.

In fact, sowing the seeds of dissent within adversarial borders is a standard operating procedure for every international intelligence agency.  We beamed in anti-communist messages behind the Iron Curtain with a broadcast operation called Radio Free Europe.  We dropped leaflets to Muslim regions within the Soviet Union to encourage Islamic resistance to Moscow.  The Japanese tried to demoralize our troops with Tokyo Rose.

This is not to suggest that we should do nothing to counter and terminate Putin’s propaganda campaigns.  Nor should we curtail our own efforts to promote grassroots opposition to the world’s despots.  Game on!  

What we have learned from the FaceBook and Twitter revelations is that the Russians were not wasting a lot of time and resources on a presidential candidate that virtually no one thought was going to be successful.  The propaganda and fake websites were virtually devoid of any direct assistance for the Trump campaign.  Any undermining of the Clinton campaign in the form of all those Wikileaked emails was actually intended to weaken her anticipated presidency.  The fact that Putin had personal issues with Clinton only emboldened the effort.

The much broader Russian effort was intended to create unrest and chaos at the grassroots level.  The primary focus was to piggyback on the Democrat’s divisive narrative of pandemic American  racism.  The Russians used hundreds of fake FaceBook pages and Twitter accounts to promote racial friction.  Their money and their surrogates, witting and unwitting, within the United States, were used to produce the street disruptions and violence that pockmarked our nation’s cities.

In attempting to salvage the false narrative, the press concocted a theory that the Russian social media advertising was strategically placed to help Trump – citing Michigan and Wisconsin as examples.  To further empower their own bogus narrative, the media used syncopate panelists to suggest that the Russians needed professional help on the inside to know where to place their fake websites.  Of course, the assumption that Russian intelligence would not have such knowledge is preposterous.  They could garner it by watching American television.

However, the spin that the Russian social media campaign was strategically designed to help Trump is false on the surface of it.  In singling out Michigan and Wisconsin, the media intentionally disregarded the entire scope of the Russian ad buy in a number of other states.  If there is any connection between the misleading racist messages and their placement it is quite obvious that the Ruskies strategically focused on states and regions with large black populations.   The message was not pro Trump, but generically intended to create black unrest.

With the surprise election of Donald Trump, Russian intelligence slightly recalibrated there propaganda platform.  The animus against Trump by leading Democrats, hardcore left-wing activists and major portions of the east coast press provided Russia with a new opportunity to weaponize disappointment and discontent.   

Ironically, it is the political left that has become the stooges and fellow travelers of Russian disruption strategy.  Putin’s propagandists and the left wing media have found common cause in undermining domestic tranquility and weakening American leadership abroad by attempting to de-legitimatize the President.   That is their goal and has been from the start.  Their primary purpose was not to hurt Clinton or help Trump but to undermine the presidency no matter who sat in the Oval Office.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.