The Coming War with Russia
It certainly sounds alarmist to predict a war with Russia. However, members of this administration are following policies that can lead to only that result. They are following belligerent policies on two fronts: cyberspace and Syria. These policies are based on a farrago of mendacity and incompetence.
The cyberspace conflict arose as a result of suspicion that the Russians are interfering in the U.S. election through WikiLeaks. The Russians firmly deny that they have any involvement in the hacking. The Office of Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement: "These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities."
It should be noted that this assertion is based upon a "belief." The administration has provided no proof. Any foreign intelligence service with a budget over $129 could have access to the secretary of state's email. In the face of this grave threat, the administration has enlisted the awe-inspiring intellect of Vice President Joe Biden. In an interview with Chuck Todd on 13 October, Biden asserted, "We're sending a message. We have the capacity to do it, and it will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact." After publicly announcing the proposed covert cyber-attack, Todd asked Biden if the public would know about it. Biden responded, "Hope not."
Biden's remarks were immediately denounced by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said, "The threats directed against Moscow and our state's leadership are unprecedented because they are voiced at the level of the U.S. vice president." Vladimir Putin responded, "The only novelty is that for the first time, on the highest level, the United States has admitted involvement in these activities, and to some extent threatened [us] – which of course does not meet the standards of international communication."
There are many reasons for objecting to cyber-attacks. Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell pointed out, "Physical attacks on networks is not something the US wants to do because we don't want to set a precedent for other countries to do it as well, including against us." Should the Russians be subjected to a cyber-attack, the U.S. will be the first suspect. This is a perfect opportunity for a party interested in fomenting conflict between the U.S. and Russia. Most importantly, an attack of this nature would increase tensions in an already tense relationship.
The other area of conflict involves U.S. policy in Syria. Reuters reported on a 14 October meeting of President Obama's foreign policy team. Reuters reports that some advisers are advocating "direct U.S. military action such as air strikes on Syrian military bases, munitions depots or radar and anti-aircraft bases." This includes over 50 State Department diplomats. What these officials are advocating is an act of war. The Russians have deployed S-300 and S-400 air defense systems to Syria, and they have warned that any strike against Syrian forces "would put Russian personnel in danger."