Russian Intelligence Operatives : A Personal Assessment Of The Relative Utility Of Each Theory

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In 2015, Russian intelligence operatives launched numerous cyber-attacks that seemed to target the United States Democratic National Committee (DNC) and its members. The attacks gathered information about DNC members and released the information in a strategic effort to influence battle ground states and undermine Democratic candidate’s credibility. This was done in an effort to sway public opinion and did not directly alter votes at electronic voting booths. According to the Atlantic, no other foreign power has ever attempted to undermine U.S. democratic processes in this manner. If that is the case, how can Russia’s actions be explained? International relations has several theories which attempt to explain the international political…show more content…
Russia may have interfered with the U.S. presidential election because the U.S. prevented or limited the extent to which Russia could internally and externally balance. The Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia following their annexation of Crimea, negatively impacting Russia’s economy. In the past, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton publically admonished Russia for suspected fraud in their own country’s elections. To put theory and facts together in order to explain the situation, in an act of self-help, Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. This was done in order to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, which began as a way to contain Russia and keep it from expanding. Because U.S. sanctions have negatively affected Russia’s economy, it has also effected Russia’s ability to internally and externally balance power within the international system. Also, because of Hillary Clinton’s known views on Russia and the fear that she would maintain the sanctions placed on Russia by the Obama administration, Russia may have wanted to ensure that it did not have to deal with a President it knew would only cooperate in a manner that benefited the United States more. What may have started as an effort to undermine the Democratic party, in hopes that a more pro-Russia candidate would emerge on the Republican side, may have turned into swaying public opinion in President Trump’s favor because of the openly pro-Russian remarks that he made during
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