The situation with Moscow allegedly having some compromising material, or "kompromat" in KGB-FSB terminology, on Donald Trump, is much more serious than just a scandal in the American establishment if we look at this scandal from the perspective of "hybrid war" tools.
It's not just some dirt spilled on a politician. As Senator McCain rightly noted (by the way, he is well familiar with the techniques Russia tends to apply in its foreign policy), it is one of the manifestations of Russian aggression against the United States. The thing is it’s not some conventional or nuclear weapons are used but information and sabotage tools. This aggression is not aimed to create fronts, as it was during both world wars and any classic wars, in general, but rather to create chaos within the United States. In fact, Russia has succeeded in creating chaos, particularly in the U.S. electoral system.
In general, this whole thing with kompromat has a deeper sense to it than it seems at first sight. It pursues some extremely important strategic goals - when the American authorities as such are completely discredited, first of all, Trump will be a weak president, who can be manipulated; and secondly, he will depend on Russia. If Moscow really has some compromising material on Trump, this means Putin has tremendous leverage on the future U.S. president, which is extremely dangerous.
After all, if the information is confirmed, there is sufficient reason for impeachment, even before Trump is sworn in. Moreover, if these allegations come out to be true, this may as well lead to grand treason charges, the gravest crime in the U.S.
It may so happen that not all data on “Trump report” is true. Basically, the bulk of info presented by the U.S. intelligence community is information that is related to Trump indirectly. No actual documents have been released by U.S. intelligence, because, firstly, the Russian special services documented only the material that can be used later to discredit the adversary and, secondly, they never record anything that could compromise Russian intelligence agencies. That is, it is highly unlikely to ever see released any of actual papers signed by Trump which would prove his covert cooperation with Russia. But there is a vast amount of material concerning his assistants, who met with the operatives of the Russian special services in Prague, etc.
Half of the U.S. public opinion has already delegitimized Trump, which may eventually result in a major split in American society, which in turn may lead to an actual chaos. So it turns out that these methods of "hybrid warfare" are reaching their goal, because the main objective here is to sow chaos in the minds of Americans, to demoralize society, and discredit traditional American values. This is Russia’s ultimate goal.
Moscow seeks to have the U.S. adhere to the position of non-interference in Russian affairs
When there is chaos in the U.S., Russia is free to do whatever it wishes. Moscow seeks to have the U.S. adhere to the position of non-interference in Russian affairs, maintaining a certain isolationism. Look at how Russia has expanded its influence around the world during the Obama cadence: it has virtually pushed America out from the post-Soviet space and the Middle East, the latter being a strategic region for the United States.
With the chaos in U.S., Russia will first of all strengthen its influence in Eastern Europe - not only in Ukraine but in all post-Soviet countries. Putin is now trying to restore control over the entire part of Europe, which was once under the Soviet rule, even despite the fact that the Baltic states, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia are now NATO members. The Russian president does not intend to fight against NATO. He is simply going to spread Russian influence in these countries to bring puppet governments to power and thus enjoy own authority over these states.
What's next? January 20 Donald Trump will be sworn in. A G7 summit will be held in May. By that time, the elections will already have been held in France. Vladimir Putin is fine with two presidential candidates - Fillon and Le Pen, as they maintain a clear pro-Russian stance, advocating the lifting of sanctions and a dialogue with Russia...
Putin is interested in Trump remaining president, because during this period, before the summit, he has to strike a deal with the new U.S. leader. And this deal will be about the distribution of spheres of influence worldwide.
Putin has very high ambitions. Will Trump digest Putin's ambitions or will he go for satisfying them? So far, this question is very difficult to answer.
Hryhoriy Perepelytsia is a professor at Kyiv National University, a foreign policy expert, Doctor of Political Sciences