December 12, 2019

J.E. DYER: Meddling, Collusion, And Ukraine Vs. Russia.

The topic here is what we’re talking about when the question of “Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election” comes up. The reality is that there’s not a whole lot there if you emphasize the words “Ukraine meddling.” There is substance, yes. A Ukrainian court has certified that it thinks Ukraine meddled in the U.S. election.

But the real issue is whether Americans leveraged cooperation from Ukraine to behave unethically – and possibly to behave criminally – in the 2016 election. Ukraine’s actions could not have any significant effect, undertaken without the complicity of Americans.

The truth about Russia’s actions, which we need not hold in doubt (although sober analysts have made good-faith arguments for doubting some of the particulars), is that they amounted to comparatively little, and had no impact on the election’s outcome.

But Russia’s demonstrated actions, unlike Ukraine’s, were of such a kind that they might conceivably have had an impact without intentional collusion by Americans. This point has the highly significant corollary that the Russians probably (indeed, presumably) inaugurated an interference campaign for their own purposes and agenda. That’s different from the premise of “Ukrainian interference.”

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: I’d originally credited this to Jeff Dunetz, when it’s actually a J.E. Dyer piece. Sorry!

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