Tags: Trump Administration | Barack Obama | Donald Trump | Russia | Garry Kasparov | Vladimir Putin | hacking

Garry Kasparov: Putin, Not Russia, Is the Real Problem

Image: Garry Kasparov: Putin, Not Russia, Is the Real Problem

Vlamidir Putin (AP Photo)

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Jan 2017 10:09 AM

The United States should be concerned about Russian President Vladimir Putin, not the country of Russia, human rights advocate and chess champion Garry Kasparov said.

"Nothing significant happens in Russia, and no action is taken by Russia, without the knowledge of the man who has held total power there for 17 years, first as president and later as unchallenged dictator," Kasparov wrote Tuesday for The Washington Post.

"Having steadily eliminated every form of real political and social opposition in Russia, Putin turned his attacks on the foreign powers that could — should they decide to act — weaken his grip."

The Obama administration's sanctions against Russian intelligence assets are too late and "left me searching for a Russian equivalent of the proverb 'closing the barn door after the horse is gone.'"

Putin is focused on benefiting himself, not Russia, Kasparov said.

"There is no consideration of what is or is not good for Russia, or for Russians, only what is best for him and his close circle of oligarch elites," Kasparov wrote.

Kasparov said Putin's aim is to turn Russians against the free world "by further punishing Russians himself" such as banning the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans and destroying tons of smuggled food."

While Putin and his supporters use investments and advertising in the Western world, hacking has become another ideal method to gain influence, Kasparov wrote.

"Hacking is an ideal new front in this type of shadow war. It's difficult to trace and, like terrorist attacks, cyberwar has a very high impact-to-cost ratio," he continued.

"Once data is stolen, it barely takes any work at all . . . stolen information has the irresistible allure of forbidden fruit, no matter how banal the actual content may be."

The U.S. and the European Union have proven themselves unable to defend against Putin, and Kasparov blasted President Barack Obama for being unwilling to take decisive measures.

"Obama has abdicated the role of American leadership . . . There is a critical difference between proportionate retaliation and deterrence, one that Obama has refused to accept for eight years. His genteel paradigm of wanting to be a friend to all mankind has proven catastrophically ineffective against aggressors like Putin who speak an entirely different language."

Incoming president Donald Trump has a "mysterious loyalty" to Putin, Kasparov said, but if he decides to act against the Russian president, he must focus on freezing his assets and isolating him.

The "moral clarity" that helped win the Cold War is missing today, Kasparov said, "has been replaced by a rising tide of moral equivalence as the memories of what real evil looked like have faded."

Kasparov is an advocate of democracy in Russia and the chairman of the Human Rights Foundation in New York. 

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The United States should be concerned about Russian President Vladimir Putin, not the country of Russia, human rights advocate and chess champion Garry Kasparov said.
Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Putin, hacking, sanctions
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2017-09-03
Tuesday, 03 Jan 2017 10:09 AM
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