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Larry Diamond talks Russia, China, ?Ill Winds? on Kara Swisher podcast

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Russian Rage
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Complacency.”Of Russia
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Positivity     45.00%   
   Negativity   55.00%
The New York Times
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In his latest book “Ill Winds,” Stanford University professor Larry Diamond identifies three major threats to democracy: “Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency.”Of Russia, he says that the country is a “fallen superpower” that has inserted itself into elections around the world “to make Russia listened to again,” pushing candidates who “shared Vladimir Putin’s extremely illiberal, anti-Muslim and anti-equality” worldview. So I think where this is going to end is that someday a growing proportion of Russians are going to figure this out and say, ‘We want a better, more genuine and more sustainable path to prosperity.’”But there’s a serious risk, Diamond warned, that American policymakers could undermine the possibility of reform if they don’t “separate the leaders from the people” and demonstrate that their “criminal corruption” is not in the best interest of the people they rule.“If we frame and pitch the response, which has to be a competitive response, it has to be a pushback, as a pushback on Russian society, on Russian people — and then by the same logic, the Chinese society and the Chinese people — that this is a civilizational struggle, we’re going to rally these two adversarial countries, in a way,” Diamond said. To enable change and really to promote liberation all the way from the empowerment of grassroots action in the United States, in the Howard Dean and Barack Obama campaigns, the mobilization of protest and political innovation in both advanced and emerging democracies and many of the new People Power movements, including the Arab Spring movements, all of which were using digital tools to mobilize protest. There’s nothing we can do about ...And low voter turnout in people thinking that it’s just one more increment. But the third largest political party in Sweden now is something called the Sweden Democrats, which is a right wing, anti-immigrant, nativist party that says, “Please don’t bring your Muslims and your” — if I can put it crudely — “your brown-skinned people here to white Sweden.” We now have a political party in Germany that, I think it’s an overstatement to say it’s a neo-Nazi party, but there are are neo-Nazis in it. Many of the things that drove support for Donald Trump in the United States, men feeling like they’re losing their status in the sexual revolution and the gender revolution of women’s advancement, gay rights, minority rights, you know, everything. This is the first part, which I think is the most critical, is this shift, because of things that are reasonable to be worried about, in terms of especially income inequality and feeling like your job is at risk and everywhere in the world that probably most fueled by this immigration issue, these immigration problems that are throughout the world.It’s been the hottest button and it’s been the most powerful trigger in both continental Europe and of course the United Kingdom with the Brexit movement and now the election ...Of Boris Johnson. I think an important reason why Hillary Clinton did not win the Electoral College — I’m reluctant to say did not win the election — but an important reason why she lost the Electoral College and narrowly lost the vote in many of these heartland states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and so on, is that there’s a large segment of rural and suburban and exurban voters in traditional occupations, in farming, in manufacturing, and so on. And I think that, you know, if I can just bring it forward to 2020, if the Democrats don’t find a candidate who can transcend some of that and reach out to these people and draw some of them back into the Democratic Party, there’s a really good chance Donald Trump is going to be elected again in 2020.Right. It’s hard for the people who not only saw their economy shrink much more dramatically and for much longer than happened in the Great Depression in the United States, but also feel as Russians that they’re no longer people in the world who are looked up to or considered highly successful.Right. And so a big part of their strategy is to try to defeat and delegitimize the political actors and parties in Europe and the United States that would try and limit the Kremlin’s efforts to exercise inappropriate influence and control and restore some of the old Soviet ways to Russia’s presence and posture in the world. But we need to ramp up our defense of this, both as social media companies and as the United States federal and the 50 state governments very rapidly, and I think we know what they’re doing now. Why stand in the way of it?” And when you think that that amounts to an invitation, which Trump has kind of tongue in cheek given to the Russian leader to intervene all over again in our election in 2020, to have the foreign adversary and one of the greatest threats to US and European national security have a clear and unobstructed path to intervene in our election, I think is pretty close to treason.That’s what many people think. Kara, just think what this country could do if they took all the digital skills that they are using in the Internet Research Agency in St Petersburg and elsewhere to try and pervert and subvert and confuse American and European democracy and created a Silicon Valley in St Petersburg or Moscow or whatever to compete in positive ways in the global economy.Oh Larry, they’re troublemakers. You know that.I think that there’s great potential for Russia with its scientific and technical and computer science talent ...Agreed.To compete in a serious and noncriminal way in the new global economy. If we frame and pitch the response, which has to be a competitive response, it has to be a pushback, as a pushback on Russian society, on Russian people — and then by the same logic, the Chinese society and the Chinese people — that this is a civilizational struggle, we’re going to rally these two adversarial countries, in a way. We’ll make things worse and we’ll be at risk of sliding into a new Cold War. And that’s why in our messaging, in our outreach, in our engagement, in our framing, we have to look for ways to separate the leaders from the people and to show — not as an exercise in similarly cynical mischief to what Putin is doing in the United States but as it matter of forthright, transparent analysis — what these leaders are doing is, first of all, criminal corruption in terms of ripping off their societies. I think we’re in it and it’s a digital Cold War, essentially, and it’s a lot easier to do it from the Internet Research Agency in St Petersburg than it is to have troops all over the world. But China’s different, because I think there’s a lot of innovation going on in China. It’s a much different approach and I think most people feel like China is where the real game is happening.Right. I mean, they have ...Certainly where some of them are going, and I don’t think it’s where all of the most ambitious go. You mash this all up and you can compute a score of political reliability that will enable you to determine how much you want to reward or punish people.It’s a full surveillance economy essentially, I think.And then we don’t even know where this is headed genetically, but they don’t have the ethical constraints — or at least there is worry among people who look at this that they don’t have the ethical constraints — in gene editing that we do. So one place where I think it’s going, Kara, is an awakening and a pushback by democratic societies. And although Trump has probably, I think, been too crude and too indiscriminate in his trade war — and I worry about some of the language and some of the mentality that his partisans are bringing to this because he can easily descend into McCarthyite ethnic stereotyping and something very, very ugly and dangerous — I think there is a growing consensus on Capitol Hill across party lines, Democratic and Republican, that we need to respond to this and draw boundaries around China’s ambitious effort to extend its influence into all sorts of arenas of social, cultural, and economic control. Do you have great hopes for digital voting on your phones and things like that?No, I think it’s very dangerous, and for now, I think we need to be very wary about it because of the danger of hacking. There’s interest growing I think in other states in the United States to move to ranked-choice voting at the state level.Federally.Federal action, I think we’re not going to get because to get it through both houses of the Congress I think is a long stretch now, but let’s do what we did in the progressive era in the early 20th century and start getting momentum at the state level, through grassroots action.Right.And eventually that can accumulate into pressure on the federal government. We need to empower voting in the United States and expand it, and we need to fight what is, I think, the most cynical dimension of the era of zero-sum politics and defection from democratic norms that we have entered, which is voter suppression, which one party is doing in a number of different states and jurisdictions with all sorts of rationalizations that they offer about efficiency and cause and cheating and so on, but which they know in their hearts and probably in their private deliberations — and we can know from their actions — has the explicit and probably sole purpose of preventing minority voters from voting. I don’t want to allow a situation in the United States where so many people marched and lost their lives in the American South to finally get to a full democracy in the United States where everybody could have the right to vote, only to retreat to the pre-1965 era.

As said here by Eric Johnson