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The real Russian 'interference'

Some GOP senators have said they want a probe into the extent of Russia's cyber interference of the 2016 presidential election. Dec. 11, 2016. (CBS Miami)

The hysteria being manufactured around evidence-free charges of Russian government manipulation of the 2016 presidential election is more and more resembling a temper tantrum thrown by a spoiled child unable to cope with losing some board game ("Russian interference," Dec. 12). And yes, the U.S. intelligence agencies claiming to have the inside dope on this nefarious Russian meddling are the same exemplars of integrity and competence who solemnly assured us in that it was a slam-dunk that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was just bristling with weapons of mass destruction — as President-elect Donald Trump has rightly noted.

Nonetheless, these crybabies do have a point. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government did indeed intervene in the contest between Mr. Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — but not at all in the way the sore losers are alleging.

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The actual Vladimir Putin — as opposed to the cartoon-like image of him presented in the mainstream media — did two really diabolical things: First, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, he proposed an alliance of Russia and the Western powers, particularly the United States, to destroy the terrorist apparatus of ISIS, al-Qaida, etc. His model for this prospective coalition was the East-West combination that defeated the Nazis in World War II. His offer was met with deafening silence by the Obama administration, which instead continued and accelerated its policy of arming and training the so-called moderate wing of Jabbat Al-Nusra, the al-Qaida affiliate in Syria.

The U.S. government's response put the following clear contrast before the electorate: our nation under the Obama-Clinton policy could either continue the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney commitment to endless regime-change warfare, even if that were to put America in a de facto alliance with the same terrorist networks that killed 3,000 people on 9/11, or we could work with the Russians and the Assad government, who, like it or not, are leading the fight against those gangs — as Mr. Trump has acknowledged. If the voters (quite rightly) chose the latter course, then score one for Russian "interference."

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The second initiative put forth by Putin and company was even more wily. Along with China and to some degree India, Russia has proposed joint development projects with the U.S. that would benefit each nation based on what the Chinese call win-win economics. Our country is being offered co-participation in the largest construction project in human history, the self-financed One Belt, One Road initiative that is already making huge advances in high-speed rail, nuclear fission and fusion, large-scale water management and space exploration in Eurasia, Africa and now, Central and South America.

Exemplary is the repeated offer of the Russian and Chinese governments to work with the U.S. in building either a tunnel or a bridge across 65 miles of the Bering Straits separating Alaska from Siberia. First proposed by none other than Abraham Lincoln, later championed by President William McKinley, this unique land link between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres would massively cheapen the cost of transportation for all kinds of goods currently shipped across the Pacific. It would open up the Arctic region to large-scale scientific and economic advancement and create millions of productive jobs, both here and in Asia. We would have to train a whole generation of young Americans to be skilled construction workers or engineers. It beats flipping burgers or running the roulette wheel at the casino 10 ways to Sunday.

The Obama administration flat-out snubbed these offers, becoming one of only two major nations on the planet not to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, one of the key financing engines for this huge initiative. In their enormous wisdom, our government leaders have deemed it preferable to pour literally trillions into such projects as Quantitative Easing, a thinly disguised continuation of the 2008-09 bank bailouts that never really ended. Worse, the administration and various think tanks have repeatedly stated their intent to eliminate the "threat" that even peaceful economic development in Asia represents to U.S. hegemony, emphatically including military means to that end.

Potentially in contrast, Mr. Trump has at least verbally supported the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, which would end all the bailout schemes. He has expressed a real interest in rebuilding U.S. infrastructure, albeit with a woefully inadequate financing policy, and has appointed ambassadors and diplomats willing to treat the Russians and Chinese as prospective partners, rather than as a threat worse than ISIS, as some Obama administration spokespeople have explicitly labeled them. Nothing is guaranteed, but the potential for change was clearly seen, and grabbed at, by the voters.

So if the electoral defeat of the Bush-Obama policy of never-ending wars of regime change and perpetual bank bailouts came about due to Russian interference, let's have more of it!

Doug Mallouk, Catonsville

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