Tensions between the United States and Russia are once again on the rise, with President Barack Obama adding to claims Russia hacked the US elections, and has promised to “slap” Russia with retaliatory action for having done so.
Russia, for its part, expressed increasing annoyance at the continued allegations, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying the US needs to “either stop talking about it or finally provide some evidence.” He added that the continued claims were “indecent.”
Russia has denied any role in the hacking, and despite US officials saying it is “obvious,” they have offered no public evidence, and just insisted that “everyone knows” it’s the case. Last week, NBC News even reported that the CIA had determined that Russia not only hacked the election, but did so to get Trump elected because they didn’t like Hillary Clinton.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he was “dumbstruck” by the NBC News report, going on to describe the report as “just silly” and that attempts to convince anyone of the claims were futile. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen.
Certainly President-elect Donald Trump has continued to express doubt, but a large number of US officials are taking the allegations as absolute gospel, likely in no small part because it provides a useful pretext to continue with the ramp up to a new Cold War with Russia, which is providing myriad opportunities for increased military spending and international intervention.
That Russia is at this point daring the US to provide some evidence reflects as much on the lack of evidence existing as Russia’s shock that an allegation with nothing backing it up not only drove much of the election debate in the US, but seems to be driving US foreign policy as well, toward a confrontation with Russia.