The issue of Russia's influence on the 2016 US Presidential election is a current political issue that involves the governments of both countries. These allegations have been consistently present in the news reports both in the USA and Russia. Inquiries are conducted to establish the facts behind these claims. The investigations focus on some of the issues such as the hacking of the Democratic National Committees' emails, social media propaganda, and the hacking of the American electronic electoral system. These investigations began with the statement that former President Barrack Obama had made before he left the White House to newly elected President Donald Trump. This issue has drawn different reactions from citizens. Thus, Non-Trump supporters, especially in democratic strongholds, have supported this allegation. On the other hand, Russian officials have refuted these allegations. President Trump and his campaign officials have also denied working together with the Russian government to affect the outcome of the US elections. Despite the dynamic perspectives, various analytic approaches that consider political views and personal perspectives prove that Russia has undermined and attacked the democracy of the United States by actively interfering with the Presidential elections.
Different Approaches to Understanding the Political Issue
The current US President Donald Trump has been accused of favoring Russia, headed by President Vladimir Putin. The latter, as viewed by the majority of political analysts, is an anti-democratic leader (Eremenko, 2015. The approach of these analysts is based on the character evaluation of President Putin. The majority of the opposition leaders in Russia have died under circumstances that allow claiming that these have been assassinations, sanctioned by the Russian authorities. The anti-democratic tendency of the Russian President is believed to have favored the victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential campaign (Nance, 2016). The favor was then fueled by the efforts to undermine or prevent Hillary Clinton's victory. These efforts are alleged to have been ordered by President Vladimir Putin himself. There is a current ongoing investigation into this issue that has attracted not only the attention of Russians but also American citizens.
There is a neutral group of people whose approach is to consider the evidence available before settling for a position. The FBI, CIA, NSA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have confirmed in simultaneous statements that Russia had downplayed the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and undermined the American democratic system in general (National Intelligence Council, 2017). The details of these allegations include linking Russian agents to the hacking of the emails of the members of the Democratic Party National Committee (DNC). Just a few months prior to the election, some emails had been leaked to the public. They contained the discussions of the American Democratic Party officials regarding favoring Hillary Clinton over Benny Sanders as their candidates. These leaks led to the resignation of the chairman to this committee. Allegedly, the hacking of these emails was the work of Russian agents, while the leaking of hacked information was supposedly linked to the Russia military (The New York Times, 2016). Thus, the disclosure of the contents of these emails significantly undermined Clinton's campaign (The New York Times, 2016). Another aspect is the attempt of hacking the state-voter registration systems. In September 2016, the FBI reported an investigation of attempted hacks by Russian hackers (National Intelligence Council, 2017). Russia had also used the social media, Internet bots and troll attacks to spread propaganda news about Hillary Clinton. There are two other approaches to these issue, as shown by the Republicans and the Democrats. The former voters support these allegations while the latter refute them only the basis of party allegiance. Nevertheless, the Russian government and President Trump's campaign team have always denied these allegations.
In my opinion, this is a rather critical issue in the history of politics and democracy in the United States. The validity of the current US government depends on these results of this investigation. According to the National Intelligence Council report (2017), the aspects of the allegations have confirmed that the Russian government had favored Trump over Clinton in the last year's election campaign. Further, it has been confirmed that Russian agents have been responsible for the hacking of the DNC emails and the leak of private information (National Intelligence Council, 2017). First, in my opinion, regardless of whether one is a Republican or a Democrat, hacking the elections of another country to influence their results is inappropriate. Everyone is entitled to feel comfortable with any of the Presidential candidates. It is acceptable for a foreign nation to want a particular candidate to win and lead the US government. However, it is unacceptable for a foreign government to make efforts to undermine the democratic rights of the US citizens (Sidlow & Henschen, 2016). A foreign government can also support a particular candidate if this support allows a full implementation of the democratic rights of voters. I think it was already offensive for the intelligence and democracy of the United States when Russia had attempted to hack the state voter registration system. This incident alone should already cause a strong response to the Russian government.
Further, my analysis shows other facts, featured during the investigation that requires a closer look when considering Russia's role in the 2016 Presidential elections. The relation of President Trump's elder son Donald Trump Jr. to Russia further undermines the legitimacy of the current President and his Administration (Nance, 2016). During the Presidential campaign in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with a Russian lawyer who supposedly possessed some information on Clinton, which would allow her opponents to ruin her campaign. This meeting raises concerns regarding the fact that the campaign team of Donald Trump might have been aware of Russia's meddling in the elections. The time of the meeting was a peak campaign period. Further, Trump Jr. was a part of his father's Presidential campaign team and an active member for that matter. In an attempt to be transparent to the public, Donald Trump Jr. exposed some of the emails that he had shared with that lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Thus, some of these emails stated that they were high-level information, but this was a sign of Russia's support for the then-Presidential candidate Trump (Nance, 2016). Even though the contents of these emails were not shared with the public, the leaked parts had analysts suggesting that the information in the emails could have been damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign.
In addition, the firing of the FBI boss James Comey was not a good sign, especially after he had promised a full investigation of Russia's involvement with the United States administration. Further, The Washington Post reported that President Trump had shared top-level secret information with Sergei Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, Russian Foreign Minister and Russian Ambassador in the USA respectively (Miller & Jaffe, 2017). Historically, Russia and the USA could never be considered allies. The primary reason for the animosity is the fact that the former has often claimed the superpower title that the latter had taken from it (US Department of State, n.d.). Historically, these two countries have also had different policies and approaches to solving various international conflicts and situations. President Putin has behaved in a way to threaten the United States security on previous occasions. In the recent struggle of President Al-Assad of Syria against rebels, Russia has openly provided support to the dictatorial Al-Assad's regime, thus countering the United States help to the rebels who were massacred (US Department of State, n.d.). Therefore, the honesty and integrity of a relationship with the Russian government should be validated.
Such values as honesty and integrity lie in the basis of this analysis. It is difficult to say when this investigation, while its results are also unpredictable. Any democratic system is based on the above-mentioned values. I may not understand whether President Trump has been validly elected. I also neither support a Democratic nor a Republic government. My point of focus is that Russia, by means of its already proven hacking attempts and actions, has already posed a threat to the democracy of the United States. Further, in my opinion, the facts of the investigations so far prove that measures should be taken against Russia to prevent it from even attempting to determine United States Presidential elections outcome in the future. If Russia fights for a leader, it does so to secure its interests that contradict those of the United States. For the past three decades, there has never been a stronger threat to American democracy than it is now.
This analysis is also grounded on two major assumptions. The first one is that the security agencies in the country are truthful. The position of this analysis is based on the statements, made by various security agencies in the country, on the validated claims in the allegations under discussion. The second assumption is that democracy is alive only when people are allowed to vote without interference. Russias interference with American democracy in this case means an attempt to influence the votes of the American people through malicious actions. The Putin regime's successful violation of American democracy is dangerous sign that his administration can do much more to sabotage the United States.
Have you got any questions?
Democracy remains one of the hardest fought for issues in any nation in the world. People will always have different opinions and support various candidates. The most important thing is that only American people should choose the President of the United States. The process and system, enacted to honor this democratic right, should be safe and secure. No one, including any foreign nation, should attempt to hinder the execution of this right. From the above analysis, it is not clear whether Trump has won the election validly or not. It is also not decided if Russias interference has brought him his victory. However, what is certain is the proven fact that Russia has attempted to hack the state voter registration system of the USA. With this attempt, Russia has supported dishonesty, thus undermining integrity and honesty, two core values of any democratic system. The other clear component is that Russians have hacked emails from the Democratic Party officials in an attempt to find and leak some damaging information on Hillary Clinton. These proven facts reveal the inappropriate actions by the Russian administration. Nobody has the right to interfere with another country's affairs to any extent. They are only to watch from a distance and let the democratic system decide who rules the nation.