The Kremlin says it had zero involvement in the hacking of US Democratic Party e-mails, while US officials said the hack originated in Russia.
We might never know the truth, but one thing is for sure — Russia had the motive, capability and form.
Seen through Kremlin eyes, Moscow would only be doing what it feels the US has been doing to it for years anyway — interfering in a geopolitical rival’s domestic politics in an attempt to destabilize and shape events.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in February said he had seen specific intelligence suggesting Russia’s foreign enemies — code for Washington — were preparing to meddle in Russian parliamentary elections later this year.
Putin, in 2011 accused the US Department of State and Democratic US presidential nominee and then US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, of stirring up street protests against his rule.
“We need to head off any external attempts to interfere in the elections, in our domestic political life,” Putin, who is facing re-election in 2018, told officers from Russia’s FSB security service in February. “You know that certain kinds of [political] technologies exist and have already been used in many countries.”
That was shorthand for Ukraine, Libya, Egypt and Syria, which Putin thinks Washington irresponsibly destabilized.
People who have studied him for years say he believes the US is trying to foment the same kind of unrest to oust him.
Putin’s credo, set out when talking about the Islamic State group last year, is to strike first “if a fight is inevitable” and, as Russia has shown in its reaction to what it sees as NATO’s aggressive build-up near its borders, to respond in kind.
“Clearly, the Kremlin feels it should and can insert itself into domestic politics in other countries in much the same way it believes the United States and Europe insert themselves into Russian politics,” said Samuel Greene, the director of the Russia Institute at London’s King’s College. “In their view, it is fair play. They have seen the West involving itself in politics in Ukraine and other former parts of the Soviet space and feel they should be able to pretty much do the same thing.”
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient
A Taiwanese bird protection group yesterday said that it has been kicked out of BirdLife International — a global conservation partnership — after it refused to sign a statement saying it would never advocate independence. The Taipei-based Chinese Wild Bird Federation said that BirdLife International last week voted to remove it, ending a partnership that had been in place since 1996. Over the past 20 years, the federation has changed its English name three times to satisfy BirdLife International, and recently the international group demanded that it change its Chinese name and sign a statement that it is “formally committing to not