Russian interference in the 2016 election should alarm and appall all Americans. They should welcome President Obama’s decision to sanction Russian intelligence services, individuals and companies; expel 35 diplomats, and shutter two recreational facilities that may have been used for intelligence activities.
Congress should back Obama and consider stricter measures to make it clear to Moscow that the U.S. is serious.
President-elect Donald Trump should be applauding the sanctions, but instead he said in a statement, “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with the leaders of the intelligence community next week to be updated on the facts of this situation.”
That tepid response is wrong on several levels. It’s not time to move on; it’s time to respond to Russian aggression. There are no “bigger or better things” than the democracy that undergirds our way of life. And Trump sounds as if he is doing U.S. citizens a favor by meeting intelligence professionals. He will soon be commander-in-chief. It’s his job.
While in Latvia on a trip with Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., struck the right note. “When you see it in a larger context, you really see that this isn’t just about our country, or one election, or one political party,” she told an editorial writer. “It’s about standing up for democracy so that the world stands up and says, ‘You cannot hack into people’s computers to influence elections.’ ”
Russia must be held accountable. Moscow’s meddling in Western elections, its spread of propaganda, its reckless military provocations in Europe, its backing of the homicidal Assad regime in Syria and other affronts represent a threat that must be met with resolve. That should start with full support for Obama’s response.