| by Ahnaf Kalam |
Sean Hannity’s interview with Julian Assange has only added to the already flooded mainstream media headlines of Russia’s alleged interference with the US election. From the safety of the Ecuadorian embassy, Assange boldly asserted that the Russians had nothing to do with the elections or the WikiLeaks e-mail hacks, despite his claim that John Podesta’s computer being so easy to hack that “a 14-year-old could do it.”
While Democrats on the Left are still outraged at the idea of a foreign power tampering with the US election process, a very strange thing has happened on the Right: many conservatives and Trump supporters have taken a much more inviting stance towards Russia almost as though they are indebted to the Kremlin for not allowing Hillary Clinton to win the election. Somewhere down the line, the party that had once boasted the defeat of the Soviet Union has abandoned its moral compass.
If Russia is, in fact, responsible for meddling with the election, that certainly is cause for concern and shouldn’t be neglected, but regardless of whether Russia did or didn’t hack the US election, it is simply unwise to be so keen on cozying up to Mr. Putin, despite his seductive claims of reconciling relations with the US over the coming years. As many people would have you believe, Trump’s fondness for the Russian autocrat is preferable to the professed alternative: Hillary Clinton invoking World War III. Anyone intimidated by the prospects of getting nuked by Russia should only look back to last October when Russia tried to flex its muscles with its antiquated laughing stock of an aircraft carrier.
Such a claim is, of course, unfounded. Putin is just as afraid of the US –– if not, more so –– than the US is of Russia. The reason he did not want Hillary Clinton in the White House is because she’s, at the very least, reliably hawkish. Trump, on the other hand, would allow Putin to continue to do what he has been doing for years now: bombing hospitals in Syria, pulverizing UN aid convoys, invading and occupying neighboring states, and supporting the genocidal Assad regime in Syria as well as the theocratic police state of Iran.
Unsurprisingly, the president-elect has decided to trust the word of Julian Assange over the word of countless US intelligence agencies as though the future and security of the United States were suddenly among Mr. Assange’s greatest interests. Mr. Assange, having become something of a hero and a celebrity for “exposing” the evils of the US government, shouldn’t exactly be the first person that anyone –– let alone, the prospective leader of the free world –– should lend any credence to.
Julian Assange, like anybody else, has his own political leanings and motivations. Despite incessantly purporting to be somebody who deeply cares about transparency and government accountability, one can’t help but notice his fondness for regimes in which neither of those things are anywhere to be found. If, as he maintains, his intentions are well-intentioned gestures in the name of defending transparency, I wonder why it is that he only goes after American intelligence and couldn’t at all be bothered by the Russian, Saudi, Chinese, or any other governments who could have much more to answer for than the US government.
Assange doesn’t give a damn about transparency. He, like his friends in the Kremlin, only cares about undermining of the United States.
Putin has already tasted the sweetness of an Obama administration that doesn’t enforce its red lines and fails to act whenever Russia does something it isn’t supposed to do. Between Trump and Hillary, who would be more likely to push back against Russia, a “neocon” former Secretary of State, or somebody who believes that the enemy of my enemy (ISIS) is my friend? Of course, ISIS is not the main cause of instability in the Syrian conflict as they aren’t the ones responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of civilians –– Russia and the Syrian government are.
Further abandoning their principles, conservatives have completely brushed under the rug the fact the Russia is quite possibly the furthest thing from a liberal democratic society where human rights are nowhere to be found. In Russia, journalists are regularly imprisoned –– even executed –– and homosexuals are considered enemies of the state. Just last week, a man was sentenced to three years in prison for calling Putin a fascist on Facebook.
Conservatives and libertarians –– who have at times been the most vocal defenders of liberty and free expression –– by supporting a megalomaniacal dictator simply by virtue of depriving Hillary of the presidency, either don’t know what liberty is or they don’t know what Russia is.
Ahnaf Kalam is a Bengali-American ex-Muslim and writes on issues of politics and religion. You can follow him on Twitter @AhnafKalam
Header Photo: МИД России