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We’re Still at War with Russia

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We’re Still at War with Russia

Jay Park, Web Editor in Chief

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  The United States is locked in a deadly struggle against Russia. Well, at least in Putin’s eyes, anyway. And Russia is determined to win this one from rotting us from the inside. Take for example, the “Heart of Texas” social media incident, a Russian propaganda disguised as a friendly American media account, nearly caused a massacre when it rallied up its “local” citizens to burn and shoot down a nearby mosque. Russia is already using the Internet as a  political instrument of war, and we cannot merely sit and watch from afar.

  Neither we, nor our parents, remember the Cold War. Only our grandparents will be able to recall the perpetual everyday fear that they wouldn’t be alive the next day. Works of art and literature more than 30 years ago vividly describe the terror everyone felt towards a nuclear war. Now our everyday “troubles” come from the smallest things such as WI-FI connection problems. We have come to take peace for granted.

  The menacing image of the superpower Soviet Union has since then faded. Its image now has become tamer since its collapse in 1991. The United States emerged as the victor of the Cold War, and they have  gained monopoly of global affairs. Since then, the US and UN have worked to take away a significant portion of Russia’s power. By preventing the already-weak Russia from reacting, the nations that have been under Russian rule since czarist times have been able to achieve independence.

  From a Russian perspective, this entire process of being defanged was a humiliating ordeal. The previously great Russian power has been stripped away and have been at the mercy of Western whims. From the shadows, one ex-KGB refused to let things stay like this. He vowed to restore mother Russia to its former glory. Vladimir Putin sought revenge. Russia’s recent assassinations of “traitorous” ex-KGBs leaking information, or the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine shows how Putin has no hesitations about the human cost in this vengeance.

  However ambitious he was, Putin could not take action in 2000 when he became president. The United States, under Bill Clinton, was still alert, and Russia was much too weak. Things had changed since the Cold War, the Internet had become a potential battlefield. And during the election 16 years later, Russia had a new arsenal of weapons: hacking and fake news propaganda, along with favorable conditions such as a pro-Russia president like Trump.

  While guns and nuclear weapons are obvious and threatening, spreading false knowledge and altering numbers is subdued and far more impactful in the long run. A country essentially influenced and changed the thoughts of citizens in another nation through their own propaganda. Such method has become so effective that nations like Germany, in their election year, are frantically trying to ban any form of fake news. Germany has gone so far as to draft a law fining social media companies up to 55 million dollars if they are unable to remove fake news.

  Russia was able to tip the balance of the 2016 election by infiltrating the US public through the Internet. There are numerous social media accounts, as well as propped-up “news” websites of stories about the election that have IP addresses tracing to Russia. After patiently biding his time, it was finally Putin’s opportunity. In his eyes, he could dispose of Hillary Clinton, who would have gone out of her way to suppress Russia, and replace her with Donald Trump, someone who had complimented Putin’s “heavy-handed” politics, essentially a dictatorship being masqueraded as democracy.

  Putin’s wishes came true. The basis of America is slowly eroding. The controversial presidency has divided the nation further by party lines. Recent issues have only served to undermine the legitimacy of the executive and judicial branch. Russia benefits from all the chaos in the US. Our lack of focus on its actions or transgressions allow the nation to increase its power without interruptions.
  Suspicions arose when Trump fired the FBI director James Comey who was investigating Russian ties to Trump’s election. Adding fuel to the fire, Trump invited Russia’s foreign minister. He is rumored to have leaked highly sensitive intelligence to America’s most threatening enemy. This is significant victory for Putin because the biggest obstacle in his plans, the championship of democracy, the United States, is no longer able to operate as a united front against Russia.

  The new generation Cold War has begun. Putin had already been intricately testing his limits. The annexation of Crimea in 2014 was a start to reclaim the old territories of Russia. No one stopped Russia as they sent military forces back then, and it’s likely no one will stop Russia now, like if there’s another invasion of Ukraine, especially with how divided and occupied United States is.

  During these past three decades, peacetime has made people complacent. We must not forget that US and Russia still has more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. Americans must learn to recognize the truth and ignore fake news because our voices and actions during peace will decide whether there will be a war or not. Russia will be able to act aggressively without fear in these upcoming years, and we must resist its advances in a world of misleading journalism. Because in our generation, we will see the resurgence of superpower Russia, using our nation’s turmoil as a stepping stone.

  We may be entering an era where America isn’t number one. The US would no longer have sway over global politics and instead Russia would. This would signal a significant change in dynamics of international politics. Democracy’s strongest supporter would decline into nonexistence as authoritarian forces assume leadership. Modern democracy is in its infantile stage, and if its embers are extinguished, history may just take a different turn. Our protected and peaceful lives we’ve been used to may cease to be a reality if we allow Russia to openly attack our democracy.

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We’re Still at War with Russia