Former President George W. Bush on Thursday in one of his most sagacious speeches, warned the United States against Russia’s attempts to meddle in its elections—calling on the nation to confront “a new era of cyber threats.”
Delivering his speech without mentioning President Trump’s name, Bush cited both Russian operations and white supremacists at play, specifically how these two factions are intent upon ripping apart the fabric of democracy with internal and external strife.
“America must harden its own defenses. Our country must show resolve and resilience in the face of external attacks on our democracy and that begins with confronting a new era of cyber threats,” Bush said during a forum for the George W. Bush Institute in New York City.
In a speech sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute of New York, in a sobering tone Bush said, “Parts of Europe have developed an identity crisis.” He continued, “We have seen insolvency, economic stagnation, youth unemployment, anger about immigration, resurgent ethno-nationalism and questions about the meaning and durability of the European Union. America is not immune.”
In very strong words—the former president referred to Russia as “a hostile power,” citing attempts to sow discord in the American electorate.
“This effort is broad, systemic and stealthy. It’s conducted across a range of social media platforms,” Bush added while speaking more intently about “cyber-attacks” and foreign aggression.
“Ultimately this assault won’t succeed but foreign aggressions including cyber-attacks, disinformation, and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated.”
The former president did not refrain from describing white supremacy saying “in any form” it was as a “blasphemy against the American creed.” He continued,
“Our identity as a nation, unlike many other nations, is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood,” he said, referencing a chant used by neo-Nazis during a march in Virginia.
“Being American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility,” Bush remarked. “We become the heirs of Thomas Jefferson by accepting the ideal of human dignity found in the Declaration of Independence, we become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the U.S. constitution, we become a heirs of Martin Luther King Jr. by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. This means that people of every race, religion and ethnicity can be fully and equally American.”
Bush’s comments comes on the heels of the White House special counsel Robert Mueller, and the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, conducting investigations into Russia election interference with potential ties between the Trump campaign staff and the Kremlin.
As information gathering continues, the congressional probes have expanded into Russia’s use of social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter to interfere in the presidential election.
Despite lawmakers on both sides of the aisle speaking on the legitimacy of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, President Trump has suggested the Russia investigations are an excuse used by the Democrats” for their loss in last year’s November election
The former president also warned that some American leaders did not exemplify positive role models.
“Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.”
By LeNora Millen 10-19-17
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