My latest column at The Week is about Trump’s Russia policy and the panic about Russian hacking. In a nutshell:
Russia’s alleged actions are entirely unsurprising and far from unprecedented. They are not only the kind of thing that Russia has done before, they are the kind of thing that we have done before — including in Russia’s neighborhood. Russia’s actions may well deserve a response — but the most important response would be to make cyber security a significantly higher priority. They certainly don’t merit panic about Russian intentions, or about the fragility of American institutions.
By contrast, the opacity of Trump’s financial relationships does remain a serious problem, and the possibility that he is personally subject to Russian “influence” because of financial liabilities held by Russian banks could taint any attempt to improve relations between our countries. And of course if the Trump campaign actually coordinated with Russia on dirty tricks, that would be a crime amply deserving investigation, and potentially impeachment.
But at this point, there is no evidence at all of that kind of wrongdoing. That ought to matter. And it ought to be possible to investigate the possibility of corruption or criminal collusion without indulging in scaremongering about the Russian threat. Indeed, advocates of a friendlier relationship with Russia should be the first to call for such scrutiny — because an opening to Russia will only be durable if the American people believe that it rests on a solid institutional foundation and genuine mutual interest.
Meanwhile, those arguing that Russia undermined the integrity of the American electoral system need to take a good look in the mirror. Nothing Russia did or didn’t do can come close to the damage that will potentially be done by exaggerating the extent and impact of that influence, much less creating a constitutional crisis in response.
Read the whole thing there.