On Friday, it was revealed that a grand jury convened by Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian entities who stand accused of conducting information warfare against the United States as part of a conspiracy to attempt to undermine or influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
In doing so, Mueller has confirmed what was already widely suspected: Russia attempted to influence the outcome of the U.S presidential election, though there is still no evidence of collusion by Trump campaign officials or that Russia’s efforts affected the outcome of the election itself. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told Congress: “There’s no allegation in this indictment that any American had any knowledge.” He also said:” “There is no allegation in the indictment of any effect on the outcome of the election.”
Muller’s literal indictment of Russian nationals also serves a figurative indictment of the former President Barack Obama’s administration, as Mueller has now provided evidence that there was a Russian conspiracy to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and yet the Obama administration, which was aware of Russia’s actions, stood by and did nothing. Russia’s electoral interference was the final act of a worldwide campaign designed to undermine U.S. national security in the face of a feckless, naive Obama foreign policy.
Let’s not forget: Former Obama administration officials — including Obama himself — admitted that they were aware of Russia’s efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election and yet the most aggressive response the U.S. took was to have Obama to tell Putin to “cut it out” on the sidelines of an international summit. Russia has tried to penetrate other U.S. presidential campaigns since the Cold War began. But only recently did Russia became emboldened enough to interfere directly after the Obama administration engaged in a series of missteps that undid a half a century of deterrence policy enforced by both Democrats and Republicans alike.
Obama is also the same president who, during the 2012 president election campaign, responded to then GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s statement that Russia was our nation’s greatest threat with a childish retort, “The 1980s are calling, they want their foreign policy back.” In the sarcastic words of current social media stars, “that comment aged well…”
As if that weren’t enough, former Obama administration officials have chosen to take to social media today to use the indictments of Russian nationals as an “I told you so” to the Trump administration. There is just one problem. Not only were those officials able to stop and respond to Russian election interference, but they may a willful decision not to do so. As a result, Russia was allowed to get away with murder so to speak because even if the Russians didn’t actually affect the outcome of the 2016 election, they certain cast enough doubt to sough political discord in the U.S.
We must respond in kind and reestablish the deterrence that was lost over the last decade.
Alex Plitsas is a national security professional. He is a combat veteran and a former Pentagon official.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.