Senator McCain, in CNN video: Russian election-related hacks threaten to ‘destroy democracy’.
My reply has nothing to do with the response of the president-elect. That’s a separate issue. As I write this, I’ve turned down the volume of the screams coming from the CNN video.
It is truly a threat that must be dealt with, perhaps more by legislation to establish a routine disclosure mechanism, “shaming”, of Russian activities, than by active measures. But McCain also says, “This is the sign of a possible unraveling of the world order that was established after World War II, which has made one of the most peaceful periods in the history of the world…”
It can’t be taken seriously from a person who spent over five years in the Hanoi Hilton. It lacks perspective. By one tally, the Vietnam War consumed 1,353,000 lives, 47,424 of them American. American deaths in the Korean war tally to 33,686, with South Korean deaths about 500,000.
The second Red Scare, post World War II, had the factual basis of significant infiltration of American government by communist sympathizers, exploited, and in some cases, directed, by the Comintern and successors. The highest level was not exempt. The controversy of Harry Dexter White, and what he told the Soviets, remains unresolved. The reality of penetration was deleted from our collective memory in reaction to the shameful actions of demagogue Joseph McCarthy, who created victims of innocents.
We will never know whether the hacks actually threw the election. The tempest-in-a-teapot of Clinton’s email server was poorly handled, with the classic error of grudging disclosures. Only one leak really hit the Rustbelt constituency, Clinton’s Wall Street Speeches. Comey’s last-minute reactivation of the investigation was at least as significant.
World order is like the weather. With Glasnost, we had one of those glorious springs, when the sunshine seems to spread forever. But winter always follows. We are having a dismal fall.
The facts are disturbing, but not fatal to democracy.