Some tweets looking back on Russiagate

This afternoon, I saw a tweet by Matt Simonton. Prof Simonton expressed dismay at “some left circles” in which the view prevails that “‘Russiagate’ was a total hoax.” To which I responded in a thread of twelve tweets:*

1/12 We have laws regulating contacts between foreign powers and public officials, and the Trumps were as careless about those laws as about so many others. That's bad, not only because the laws are necessary, but also because violating them exposes policymakers to blackmail.

2/n So it was certainly legitimate to investigate the activities of Russians, both state actors and others, in connection with the 2016 presidential campaign. On the other hand, those who call Russiagate a hoax are not entirely wrong, for five reasons.

3/12 First, millions of admirers of the Democratic party and its currently entrenched leadership hid behind the wildest conspiracy theories rather than face the fact that their idols could not keep even Donald Trump from becoming president.

4/12 As long as they insisted on doing that, the party could neither reform itself or even allow a routine circulation of personnel in its elite ranks.

5/12 Second, Russia's attempts at meddling in the 2016 election were miniscule compared with the influence several other foreign powers, among them Saudi Arabia and the People's Republic of China,

6/n openly exercise over the US political process, and no one seems interested in investigating them.

7/12 Indeed, Russiagaters usually responded to this point simply by shouting denials that there could be any comparison between Russia and any other country.

8/12 That brings us to the third problem with Russiagate, that the USA wields tremendous influence in every corner of the world, so that people outside it really ought to have a means of influencing our politics.

9/12 The point of the regulations which Trump and his minions so cavalierly disregarded is to allow the people to choose what form of that influence will take, not to exclude it altogether.

10/12 Fourth, Trump's administration was relentlessly anti-Russian in practice, consistently choosing the most hostile available policy option at every turn.

11/12 Fifth, emphasis on Russiagate put the opposition to Trump at the mercy of the FBI, the CIA, and other such bureaucracies, leaving us with the dismal spectacle of the ostensible left clamoring for everyone to sing unending hymns of praise to the spies and secret police.

12/12 The sum total of these five problems was to make Russiagate a thoroughgoing anti-politics, as much so as any of its congeners on the far right.

Originally tweeted by Acilius (@losthunderlads) on July 15, 2021.

In his response, the professor did not disagree with any of these points, but reiterated his belief that it was rational for Vladimir Putin to prefer a Trump presidency to a Hillary Clinton one. I agreed with him there.

*Professor S protects his tweets, so I’ve tried not to reproduce them here.

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