Diminishing Returns

I was on vacation recently and thus unable to report on the biggest non-Trump news of the past week, that being Macron’s victory over Le Pen in the French elections. Partisans of “the liberal order,” or as I like to call it “the liberal order that feels denying outright fascists access to political power is an anathema,” were celebrating while thousands of mentally-stunted shut-ins with Pepe frog avatars were wailing and insisting that France would now become a new Islamic Caliphate within a couple years. You know, the same thing such people have been saying for the past twenty years or so, even though the French Muslim population now is only about 7.5 percent of the total.

Of course there’s another angle to this story, which is that Russia turned its election meddling machine up to eleven this time in hopes of getting Le Pen elected. Whereas the US election meddling was mostly about trolling Hillary, the candidate they believed would certainly win, it seems the unexpected success of that campaign led the Kremlin to believe that it really could determine the outcome of foreign elections. Rather than deny connections to Le Pen and her party, Putin actually met personally with Le Pen and the two had a photo op together. Apparently neither party felt this would be seen as negative by French voters. In fact I’d bet they thought just the opposite- what better way to prove how anti-establishment you are by meeting publicly with Vladimir Putin?

Of course this all failed. What is more, the brazen attacks on Macron which included hacks, Wikileaks, and allegations that he was having a homosexual affair, will no doubt only increase his hostility toward Putin. The problem with election meddling like this is that it needs to work. If not, you’re in trouble. The trolling of Hillary worked because she lost (even if that wasn’t their original intention), and now the only repercussions against the Kremlin apart from some more targeted sanctions exist mainly on Twitter.

I think this is just another example of the Kremlin deluding itself into thinking it runs a superpower on par with the Soviet Union. I’ve long said that the “New Cold War” will be much like Putin- short and sad. This is because Moscow is behaving as though it is the Soviet Union when it has none of the advantages and far more weaknesses. By punching above its weight on several occasions, certain people at the top took those victories as proof that “Russia is back.” Now we’re starting to see how short term these gains really are.

I don’t think the Kremlin will cease its attempts at election meddling any time soon, as we will no doubt see in Germany and Italy in the near future. Still, each time they fail, or even when they succeed, more and more countries will start to take countermeasures against Russian interference. Even Russia-leaning politicians have good reason to avoid getting to close to Moscow. Russia will become increasingly isolated as the world begins to see it for what it is- not a defender against US or Western hegemony but rather an opportunistic kleptocratic dictatorship with no respect for anyone.

 

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5 thoughts on “Diminishing Returns

  1. AndyT

    The problem is, a lot of people are so dissatisfied with the status quo that no matter how much damning evidence about Russia, Syria or other “heroic Countries resisting the NWO” can be collected, they’ll keep endorsing them and voting for sympathetic candidates.

    It doesn’t even matter if these Western fans would be the first ones to be oppressed by those governments, if they happened to live under their control – as long as supporting Putin or Assad or anyone else gives them the feeling they’re “resisting the NWO”, they’ll keep doing it.

    Reply
  2. gbd_crwx

    The Russian support for LePen seems quite unquestionable, but I wonder if some of the other stuff that happened like Penelopegate and Melenchons rise had any Russian connections or were just the work of proper journalism and/or in Melenchons case, the crisis of the European Social Democracy. A Melenchon LePen second round would probably be seen as a win for Russia too.

    ” By punching above its weight on several occasions, certain people at the top took those victories as proof that “Russia is back.” Now we’re starting to see how short term these gains really are.” I wonder if this could be because of its success, people are starting to wake up to the Russian meddling? Maybe also because of the nature of European political systems with less” Winner takes all”, which of course have produced fairly weak governments but makes if harder for an outsider to get a decisive result?

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    1. AndyT

      Well, too-evident Russian connections work against anti-establishment parties – I remember a recent anti-EU, anti-NATO rally in Rome where those very same people chanting “National sovreignty!” also carried Trump’s and Putin’s portraits.

      I mean – they claim they’re defending our independence… by rooting for foreign leaders.

      Reply
  3. What Do I know

    I think what you claim in this article echoes with a theory that I have hold for quite a long time already, that is: Putin lacks entirely of anything resembling a coherent foreign policy. In that regard he seems to be very much like the highly admired mr. Trump.

    Is not only the fact that whatever plan for the french election they had has totally backfired, nor that they in a election were three of the main contenders were quite favorable to Kremlin and the fourth one was pretty much neutral they have managed to help win the fourth one while turning him deeply Putin-skeptical. Bravo!

    The amazing thing is that they seem to be totally unable to read French society. Trying to use claims as “Macron is gay” in order to make him look bad on the eyes of a French audience is simply remarkable.

    Nevertheless we shouldn’t overlook the fact that no matter how much many people like to pretend otherwise. Mr. Putin lack the power and the ability to influence in foreign elections directly. The only thing he can manage to do (and he does) is to finance and support in the media to those who defend the same set of nation-first, chauvinistic, reactionary values, because they are the ones who wish to bring back the world that existed on the 1915 (that is pretty much the time were Russia appears to be frozen)

    Reply

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