Putin Declares War on the West

Kremlin efforts to sway France’s election failed—but Russian spy-games are far from over

A presidential candidate loathed by Moscow suffers a massive cyber-attack by Russian spies. Purloined emails that are embarrassing for the front-runner are dumped online by Kremlin fronts. Political chaos ensues as Vladimir Putin prepares to reap his reward.

That’s what happened in France a couple days ago. And if all this sounds familiar to Americans it should, since this is precisely the clandestine playbook employed by Kremlin spies against Hillary Clinton last year. However, this time the outcome was very different – and far less edifying to Moscow.

Marine Le Pen, Putin’s openly favored candidate, lost to Emmanuel Macron, the youthful centrist who became the impromptu white knight of everyone in France who wanted to halt Le Pen and her far-right National Front. In fact, yesterday’s election was a total blow-out.

In Sunday’s second-round of the presidential vote, Macron got 66 percent against just 34 percent for Le Pen, an almost two-to-one advantage. Of France’s 102 départements (roughly counties in American terms), Le Pen took only two. Although Macron was leading in late polling, few expected this kind of massive loss for the National Front, which has surged in recent years thanks to its Trump-like populist appeal: anti-immigrant, anti-European Union, and unabashedly pro-France and its sovereignty.

Read the rest at The Observer …