Brian Whitmore writes: One announcement came from Berlin. Another came from Washington. And they came weeks apart.
German intelligence warned in late November that Russia had launched a campaign to meddle in upcoming elections to the Bundestag. And in early December, the CIA said it concluded that Moscow had already interfered in the U.S. presidential election.
In any other year, either of these claims would probably have been astonishing, sensational, and even mind-blowing.
Not in 2016.
This was the year such things became routine as the Kremlin took the gloves off in its nonkinetic guerrilla war against the West.
It was the year Russia’s long-standing latent support for the xenophobic and Euroskeptic far right became manifest, open, and increasingly brazen.
It was the year cyberattacks moved beyond trolling and disruption and toward achieving specific political goals.
It was the year long-cultivated networks of influence across the West were activated.
It was the year the Kremlin expanded its disinformation campaign beyond Ukraine and the former Soviet space and aimed it at destabilizing the West itself.
It was the year Moscow turned Western democracy into a weapon — against Western democracy.
And most importantly, with the West suffering from one of its worst crises of confidence in generations, 2016 was the year Moscow began to see results. [Continue reading…]