The Russian election hacking investigation, also commonly known as the “Mueller probe,” has drawn the public eye to efforts by the Putin government to manipulate the elections and politics of other nations. Russian meddling is, of course, nothing new as Moscow has a long history of asserting undue influence over the governments of others nations. The fact that the US political system became a target of Russian political interference, at a time when tensions are high between the Cold War adversaries due to the Ukraine Crisis, has made the American People and Media pay attention to Moscow’s clandestine operations. Where European nations have been targets of Russian political manipulation for years, former-Soviet states like Ukraine have struggled to break free of the Kremlin’s grip. Russia is not, however, the only country or actor trying to assert undue influence over America’s political system while the US has certainly done its fair share of meddling.
Proper governance hinges on the ability of the Peoples of a nation to express their common interests and governments to address those interests. Governments beholden to foreign powers and other special interest groups do not represent their Peoples nor do they work for the collective interests of their Peoples. With that in mind, US policies do impact all the nations and Peoples of the world to some degree. At the same time, the policies of even the smallest of nations have an impact on all other nations, including the US. After all, the nations of the world exist in a global community of nations. As members of the International Community, all countries and governments help shape the geopolitical and global economic environment, which determines what domestic policies individual nations can successfully adopt. Consequently, all nations and Peoples of the world have some interest in the policies of all governments. What they do not have is a right to determine the policies of foreign governments.
Because “might makes right” is ultimately true, unless the mighty en mass decide otherwise, the influential, including governments, will act to shape the policies of foreign governments when it is in their interests and they have the ability to do so. Given Russia’s communist history and increasingly ill-democratic nature, it is not surprising that the government of former KGB operative Vladimir Putin engages in election hacking. As a democratic republic and the self-proclaimed leader of the “free world,” it is highly hypocritical and counterproductive for the US government to engage in such activities. The US government is, of course, going to engage in activities abroad that help foster the spread of democracy around the globe and bolster the democratic representation of individuals around the world. Policies that attempt to “make the world safe for democracy” are not validate examples of political meddling. They are examples of democratic societies asserting their interests on the world stage.
Examples of the US government intervening to manipulate who is or can become the leader of a foreign government or taking action against a leader who simply does not align with US interests against the interests of the domestic population’s interests represent undue US influence. The decision to overthrow Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh serves as a bold example of past US interference in a foreign political system. Injections of US economic aid during pivotal moments of foreign election cycles and other more dubious infusions of US dollars in favor of candidates preferred by US officials also serve as softer, yet just as potent, examples of US meddling. In contrast, decisions to withdraw aid or cooperation in the face of other governments’ unfavorable policies, as well as support for revolutionaries against unelected governments acting against their Peoples, i.e. the Arab Spring Revolutions, serve as examples of the US not favoring authoritarian governments and securing its broader democratic interests.
While those harboring anti-US sentiment will not be so easily dissuaded from their blanket hatred of the US as a country to see the bigger threat, US government interference in foreign politics has been decreasing since the end of the ideologically-driven Cold War. The composition of the US government has been steadily transformed over a series of election cycles. Consequently, current US officials cannot be necessarily be held accountable for the wrongs of past US officials. The US government of today is not the US government of yesterday. The same is true of every democratically-elected government. In the case of Russia, where Vladimir Putin and his cronies have held onto the reigns of power, no such absolution exists. Similarly, no immunity exists for those manipulators who have left government nor those who manipulate government from outside of public office. Powerful actors exerting their undue influence on the governments of the world, whether from within one government or from within a private organization, must be confronted. They must be forced by the Peoples of the world to allow all individuals to have the representation they need in government and the ability to freely express their interests.
Read old posts