A Short Video on What Putin Wants in the U.S.

Here’s a two minute video explaining how Putin benefits from Donald Trump’s time in office:

Basically, Putin wants to weaken the American system of government, disrupt, if not tear apart, its society, to support his narrative that Western democracy isn’t very good or desirable, that authoritarianism is actually a superior system. I believe the U.S. and the West are now in a battle of these two competing narratives. There are reasons to believe that those in the West should take this battle very seriously–i.e., it’s a battle that can be lost. In this thread, I will explain reasons for this as well as other implications, particularly for critics of Western democracies.

Several Reasons the Authoritarian Narrative Could Win

1. Western democracies and the politicians are failing to address the problems of their citizens, and the citizens are getting frustrated.

2. Social and cultural changes via demographic changes and immigration into the West will cause significant numbers of citizens towards authoritarian rulers. (See this short Vox explainer video.)

3. Many Western citizens have moved to the internet/social media platform for both political information and political discourse. The West has not adequately adjusted to a host of challenges that this has caused (e.g., information overload, preventing manipulation and disinformation, etc.), and authoritarian regimes, with the will and know-how, have a huge advantage to manipulate these citizens–including eroding the trust in democratic institutions, politicians and political system.

Implications for Western Leaders and Critics and Protestors of Western Democracies

1. Making government work for the people should be seen as a part of national security. The more the government and political system is dysfunctional and corrupt, the more this feeds into narrative that Western democracies are weak, inferior, and undesirable. By making government more functional and less corrupt, that weaken’s Putin’s narrative. And, this should be the goal, anyway.

For American politicians, this means tamping down partisanship. Putting party ahead of the country, leading to gridlock, helps feed Putin’s narrative.

2. Critics of Western democracies (and international institutions like NATO) have to be aware of the narrative attempting to discredit these systems. If they’re not careful and responsible, they could end up supporting this narrative. Now, if some of these critics actually prefer an authoritarian system, they should make that clear when they critique Western democracies. But if that’s not the case, these critics should make clear that they support democracy, rule of law, separation of powers, and civil liberties, and their criticisms are trying to make these better.

3. Critics of the media–i.e., liberal bias in the media–must also be aware of unwittingly feeding Putin’s narrative. The narrative in the case of the media is that all media is political–and their reporting is propaganda. That is, there is no such thing as “objective” journalism or facts that we all agree are meaningful and important. Those who hammer the mainstream media as fake news or bad faith actors because of political bias are basically making the same argument. If they believe this, they should say so explicitly. If they don’t, they should take great care to make this clear as well.

2 Responses to “A Short Video on What Putin Wants in the U.S.”

  1. Reid

    What Sean Hannity is doing, as discussed in this WaPo article is the kind of thing that must be repudiated. To me, if I’m understanding the way the Russians are attempting to undermine our democracy, the type of thing that Hannity is doing should make him a pariah. (Actually, it should probably make him a pariah regardless.)

  2. Reid

    Sound Warning to the Press

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