Alexander Velez-Green has written in Small Wars Journal that the U.S. and Russia are already at war. This war is not being fought in the same way that past conflicts have been fought, as the countries are using non-military means.
Green writes, “Moscow is targeting the United States in ways that sidestep America’s traditional understanding of warfare. Its seeks to cripple the United States, shatter NATO, and fill the void left by America’s absence.
To fight back, the U.S. must adapt to Russia’s “way of war.” Strategists in Russia no longer primarily define warfare by military means. Green says, “They see warfare instead as the combined use of political, diplomatic, informational, economic, and- to a lesser extent- military efforts to destabilize the enemy, undermine their ability to respond in a timely manner, and exploit asymmetries to nullify any adversary military advantages.”
Moscow has already demonstrated the destructive potential of their new way of war with the Democratic National Committee hack, where Moscow undermined Hillary Clinton and damaged her chance to be president.
President Trump, who has expressed his hope to normalize ties with Russia, could be uniquely positioned to do so, as he and Putin have expressed their respect for each other. Yet, Trump still seems to equate any discussion of harmful Russian election activity with questions of his legitimacy as president, according to The New York Times. The Trump administration continues to insist that the effects of the Russian interference in the 2016 election were exaggerated.
“You look at what Russia did — you know, buying some Facebook ads to try to sow dissent and do it — and it’s a terrible thing,” Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, said. “But I think the investigations, and all of the speculation that’s happened for the last two years, has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads.”
Despite Trump’s nonchalance about Russian interference, some remain convinced that Russia’s war by other means will continue in the 2020 elections.
Former CIA officer Kevin T. Carroll, who was a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security in the first two years of Trump’s presidency, said that Russian interference was so successful in 2016 that “Putin will amplify them in 2020.”
It is possible that Trump could even welcome Russian interference in 2020. Interference helped him win in 2016, and it could help him win again.
Read the New York Times article here.
Read the Small Wars Journal article here.