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How do we think about the George Floyd murder? Show more Show less
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On May 25 2020, George Floyd was suffocated to death by the police. Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. In chilling footage that would go viral within 24 hours, officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes ignoring Floyd's repeated pleas for him to move. The asphyxiation led to his cardiac arrest. Floyd's death has so far inspired protests across more than 75 US cities, calling for an end to police brutality and institutional racism. The responses to these riots have included state-wide curfews, the threat of military intervention, attacks on the media and civilian arrests. The situation has given rise to a complex debate with commentators arguing over what precisely it has exposed about contemporary America. So, who are these groups, what do they stand for, and why?

Leaders create nations: the murder exposes the ongoing American political crisis Show more Show less

This approach believes that political machinations are responsible for civil unrest and social stability. In this case, the response from political leadership has allowed the murder to grow into a national catastrophe.
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Russia is puppeteering the crisis from behind the scenes

Following their secret online intervention in the 2016 Presidential election, many believe the Russian state has once more been using social media to aggravate tensions.

The Argument

Russian intelligence agencies have a history of sowing discord on the internet and interfering with foreign politics. A report by a US Senate select committee released in 2019 found that Russia had been promoting extremist views through fake accounts on social media.[1] Additionally, President Trump is known to have made an important phone call to President Putin during the riots. The George Floyd murder has led to rioting and extremism on both sides. Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice has argued that Russian interference fueled the heightened surrounding the murder.[2] A statement issued by homeland security warned US citizens to be wary where they get their information and blamed Russia for spreading misinformation during the protests.[3] Plus, a BBC led investigation into the protests discovered that there were many fake news stories online claiming that protestors were very violent.[4] Russia is capitalizing on a misguided trust of social media, planting misinformation on social platforms during times of political and social uncertainty. They undoubtedly used the murder of George Floyd as an opportunity to decrease social order in the US.

Counter arguments

Russia has argued it is not involved in the political unrest. The Kremlin released a statement that President Putin did not discuss the protests during the phone call to President Trump.[5] They have also denied any interference in the riots.[6] The originator of the argument, Susan Rice, no longer works in US intelligence, and so does not have any evidence for her claims; Russian interference in the George Floyd murder is pure speculation.[7]. The murder of George Floyd was shocking, and the riots need no explanation. White supremacy within the US is the cause of the unrest, not a foreign power. The attempt to blame Russia is an attempt to deny racism is a problem in the US.[8]

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Russia has been caught interfering in US politics before. [P2] The George Floyd murder prompted an unexpected level of political turmoil and rioting. [P3] Trump made a phone call to President Putin in the wake of the George Floyd murder. [P4] There is evidence of fake news about the riots. [C] Russia is provoking political unrest in the US by spreading misinformation online.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] The George Floyd murder was a shocking event that was bound to cause unrest. Russia does not need to do anything to create racial tensions in the US. [Rejecting P3] There is no evidence that the alleged phone call had anything to do with the riots.

References

  1. https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Report_Volume2.pdf
  2. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2020/06/01/susan_rice_on_violence_at_floyd_protests_this_is_right_out_of_the_russian_playbook.html
  3. https://abcnews.go.com/US/intel-bulletin-warns-malign-actors-targeting-us-george/story?id=71184163
  4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/52877751
  5. https://edition.cnn.com/us/live-news/george-floyd-protests-06-02-20/h_b784e7bd8b7da897f30e0adab7d406a3
  6. https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/russia-rejects-suggestion-it-stoked-us-protests-over-george-floyds-death
  7. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/susan-rice-suggests-russians-behind-violent-george-floyd-demonstrations
  8. https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/07/06/when-it-comes-to-americas-race-issues-russia-is-a-bogeyman/

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 9 Sep 2020 at 06:39 UTC

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