Wednesday, 14 December 2016


Through a Mirror, Cracked

America’s Central Intelligence Agency has stated with “high confidence” that state sanctioned hackers in Russia interfered in last November’s presidential election. Apparently the secure servers of both major political parties were breached but only e-mails deemed detrimental to the Democratic campaign were leaked. President Obama has ordered an investigation. President-elect Trump who has eschewed daily intelligence briefings (there’s a joke in there somewhere) has dismissed the CIA’s allegations. He said somewhat insightfully that if the election had gone the other way and losing Republicans had decried the Kremlin’s influence they would have been derided as conspiracy theorists.

The world of espionage is, to purloin a poetic phrase from T.S. Eliot, “a wilderness of mirrors.” Author John le Carre titled one of his spy thrillers ‘The Looking Glass War.’ James Bond film buffs will recall the climax of ‘The Man with the Golden Gun.’ The assassin hunts 007 in his labyrinthine fun house where killing is a great game enhanced with mirrors. Bond eventually gets his lethal drop on Scaramanga by posing as a pop-up cut-out of himself. What was unreal and expected became unexpectedly real.

The audacious beauty of the Russian hack is that “high confidence” is suspicion but not definitive proof. If it did not happen, the perception that it did is an equally effective result. Either way Moscow is a crafty and powerful global puppeteer; there’s no tell-tale hanging chad. Red state voter suppression laws are likely more culpable for the Clinton Inc. defeat, yet there must be a certain cold comfort in believing the debacle was engineered in part by the security apparatus of a hostile foreign power. Whatever evidence exists, if any, remains in the shadows.

The existing State of the Union is a fine state of affairs indeed. A concerned northern neighbour reluctantly concludes that both of America’s political parties are more concerned with advancing their respective ideologies than prudently seeing to the needs of the country they were created to serve. Political discourse is so toxic that what might be a pressing matter of national security simply mirrors partisan schoolyard hard lines: “Yes they did.” “No they didn’t.” The fact remains that someone has artfully hammered another wedge into a country that is already displaying all the symptoms of a major crack up.

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