19 December 2016   1 comment

The US is likely to respond to the charges that Russia was involved in leaking hacked computer materials in order to influence the recent Presidential election.  It is hard, however, to determine what the best response might be since the US is more vulnerable to computer hacking than is Russia.  Tim Weiner is a journalist with a long track record of ferreting out information about the US CIA and he has written a fascinating essay on how the US might respond, looking at a previous cyberwarfare effort in the 1980s.

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The danger of private economic interests overriding national interests became quite apparent in the decision of the US Senate not to renew the “STAND for Ukraine” Act.  The bill would have made the sanctions against Russia for its intervention in Ukraine in 2014 stand for another five years.  ExxonMobil lobbied hard against the bill since the company has a long-standing license agreement with Russia to pump oil from the Arctic.  With the defeat of the bill, the new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson the CEO of ExxonMobil, can have the sanctions overturned with just an executive decision by President Trump.   In 2016, ExxonMobil spent $8,840,000 on lobbying expenses in Washington, DC.  The money was well spent since ExxonMobil has more land under its control in Russia than it does in the US:

“Exxon boosted its Russian holdings to 63.7 million acres in 2014 from 11.4 million at the end of 2014, according to data from U.S. regulatory filings. That dwarfs the 14.6 million acres of rights Exxon holds in the U.S., which until last year was its largest exploration prospect.”

The Russian Ambassador to Turkey was shot and killed in Ankara.   The Ambassador, Andrey Karlov, was speaking at a photographic exhibit when a 22-year old riot policeman shot him in the back.  The assassin shouted out “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria! As long as our brothers are not safe, you will not enjoy safety”.  The incident comes at a point when Turkish-Russian relations were improving although both sides are diametrically opposed on the question of whether Syrian President Assad should remain in power.  I have long wondered at how long it would take before Russia was being blamed for the slaughter of Muslims in Syria.  Russia needs to be careful since almost 15% of its population is Muslim and it is the fastest growing part of the Russian population.

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Posted December 19, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

One response to “19 December 2016

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  1. Weiner’s report on the likely responses is truly fascinating. The information is not particularly easy to internalize but it is very critical to learn at this moment. With its final gesture, I believe the US would be able to deal with the situation well and move on to the next chapter soon. As always, thank you for the informative post.

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