Saturday, December 17, 2016

FBI, CIA: Russia Aimed To Help Trump Win (And: What Follows?)

What do we do with this information?
I think we've got to be a bit cautious.
When questions of Russian meddling first arose, I had a suspicion that Putin might reason like this: Clinton is going to win. It's unlikely I can succeed in altering the outcome, and likely that my efforts will be discovered. So the real question is: what evidence can I plant that will sow the most discord? Obvious answer: evidence of pro-Clinton meddling. Trump was already indicating that any election he lost couldn't be fair/legitimate. And many of his supporters are loony.
   So I kinda think we might oughtta be obligated to think of this in the abstract, independent of any information about the specific candidate [Putin] aimed to help. What should we think if an enemy of the U.S. aims to help some candidate or other win? Or, in terms of the table-turning test: what if Putin had tried to help Clinton?
   Needless to say, we need to retaliate against Putin the the relevant elements of the Russian government. But I'm not sure we get to count this against Trump. That is, I don't think we get to say "See! We told you that SOB was in bed with the Rooskies!"
   Meh. I guess that doesn't sound all that plausible now that I've typed it out. It might be right if we didn't already have reason to suspect that Trump and Putin are in de facto cahoots...
   Though, plausible is it, really, that Trump is really substantially pro-Putin? Can his actions be explained hypotheses like:
Like Obama, Trump hopes for a reset? 
Trump's got business interests in Russia, and he hasn't been scrupulous about divesting, but that's mere greed and ignorance and nothing more nefarious
In some ways motives don't matter.
Trump's now obligated to take up an anti-Putin stance and do his part to retaliate. If he doesn't, it's impeachment or bust as far as I'm concerned. We've got to raise the cost of this meddling high enough that no even vaguely sensible country ever tries it again.
   But, still, we've got to be careful about reasoning from Putin tried to help Trump to Trump is bad. The conclusion is obviously true, and we're getting expert testimony that the premise is true. But the argument as stated isn't (even non-deductively) valid. I suppose it might play a role in some more elaborate argument referencing the right collateral information...but I'm not really seeing this too clearly at the moment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"independent of any information about the specific candidate Trump aimed to help"

I think you intended to write "Putin" instead of "Trump."

9:22 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Indeed I did--thx

9:51 AM  

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