Danika Stenvaag wrote:The premise people make that Russia and Putin are evil isn't solid even if the argument appears valid... it isn't really sound. Putin was elected to office, he didn't seize power. Russia looks after its interests just as the United States looks after its interests, and France, and the UK. Putin is looking out for the interests of his country. He's a politician and statesman.
I don't think 'evil' is a really useful category when it comes to people like Putin (and most people in general). Nor do I think that being elected into office makes someone non-evil. Simple fact is that most of those that stood against Putin (opposition leaders, business men, reporters and all) ended up dead or in prison. The list is pretty long. We kind of know who is behind some of these murders too (all round bad-guy/thug and Putin fanboy Ramzan Kadyrov and puppet-president of Chechnia is clearly implicated in some of these). We know Putin's government is very corrupt (lots of evidence of his friends having large sums of money oversea, money they never could have earned with their jobs, for example). We know he uses his tremendous power to shut opposition parties down. He has been systematically shutting down all news outlets not reporting favorably about his government. Reported wide-spread fraud in most elections. He even had a puppet play president while he ruled as prime-minister for a while to get around the term limits in Russia's constitution. He has diplomats beaten up over slights. He may very well have orchestrated terrorist attacks against Russians to boost support for his fight against Chechnia's anti-Russian former government/rebels during the start of his 'reign'. He threatens a whole list of neighboring countries with invasion saying he does it to 'protect' ethnic Russians living there (where have we have heard that excuse for an invasion before, again?) and invaded part of one of those countries and send soldiers to incite a civil war in another part of that country.
Russia is not a real constitutional democracy by modern standards. There is no true division of powers, there are no functional checks and balances, no real freedom of the press/expression. There is no rule of law when it comes to politics. And Putin very clearly rules as a strongman autocrat. He may very well have the political support of most people in the country, but so did most kings and emperors. Given the concentration of power, wealth and his control of the media, at the moment it is hard to see how he could be removed from power through normal democratic means.
I can't say for sure that that renders him evil, or that Russians would have been happier with a 'normal' democratic system of competing parties and such, but it is pretty clear what we are talking about. So, I do find it interesting that it has now become the 'fashionable' among Trump supporters and others around the internet and in the media to suddenly start arguing that Putin's style of rule 'isn't that bad, really'. I mean, maybe there are arguments to be made for autocratic strong-man rule (most would disagree, but maybe there are), but that type of rule has been one that the USA has been rejecting, historically, from Washington and Jefferson et all down to more recent times (including, at least, up until very recently, the GOP). I thought you guys didn't want that sort of thing.
And more on topic: What you described isn't really an argument AGAINST Russia being involved. More a justification. And it being too sloppy to be a state-sponsored hack? We don't know how 'sloppy' it was. Besides, most likely, it isn't the Russian secret service doing it themselves, directly, but rather government sponsored but semi-independent groups of hackers (many such in Russia, from what I hear) being encouraged/directed (and paid) to try to see what they could do. Or at least, that seems to be how this stuff often is done, in Russia. Putin doesn't murder his own opponents himself, like Francis Underwood. He gives a nod to some of his cronies, who give a nod to someone else, and so forth. That is how he gets rid of his political opponents, so, I think this would be no different.
As for the Bernie.... sure. In hindsight, the Dems were foolish to go for Clinton instead of him. They fought he was too much of a risk, I guess, and they figured they would win with her, I guess. Wrong call, clearly, but one most people probably would have made as well. I never liked her much. Few people I know did. I don't think she would have been a very good President. But at least, she would have been a normal one.
That is the thing I really don't get. People KNEW what Trump was. It was (and is) obvious. But somehow, they managed to convince themselves that the other one was 'just as bad'.