Has the U.S. interfered with Russia? Yes

The U.S. government engages in regime change, which is much more than simply interfere in foreign elections.   Just in the past 20 years, it has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, funded foreign fighters to attack governments of Libya and Syria, and supported military coups in Honduras, Ukraine and Venezuela.  The coup in Venezuela failed, so the U.S. government uses economic warfare instead.

In 1996, the U.S. State Department engineered the election of the unpopular Boris Yeltsin.  He disbanded the Russian parliament, took over Russian TV and used all the techniques later used by Vladimir Putin to stack elections in his favor.   Time magazine actually ran a cover story hailing the U.S. success.

The results were that he crashed the Russian economy for the benefit of a few corrupt insiders, and destroyed the possibility of U.S.-Russian friendship for a generation, maybe longer.

Yanks to the rescue, a PDF of the Time cover article for July 15,1996

“Yanks to the rescue”: Time’s not-so-secret story of how Americans helped Yeltsin win 1996 presidential election from OffGuardian.

Currently many foreign-backed NGOs operate in Russia.  Their stated purpose is to promote democracy and freedom.  Many get funds from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy, which is funded by the U.S. State Department and private philanthropists.  Some are supported by billionaire George Soros.

It is possible that most of them or maybe all of them, are doing things that I, as a believer in democracy, would approve of.  If so, I can understand why Vladimir Putin might not think so.

I have no way of knowing what, if anything, the CIA is covertly doing to spread information or disinformation in Russia.

Russia Expels USAID over ‘political meddling’ by Deutsche Welle.

The Mueller indictments have convinced me that Russian intelligence services probably did disseminate confidential e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, that certain Russians used social media to comment on the election and that Russian intelligence agencies tried to gain access to voter registration rolls.

I think there are a lot of other things that had much more influence on the election that this.  The question is: What happens if and when the Russian covert agencies try again?

I don’t believe in “moral equivalence,” if the meaning is that, just because the U.S. government has done bad things to other nations, we Americans should sit back and let them do bad things to us in return.

Neither do I believe that we get very far by saying “you are bad, we are good, so you should stop doing certain things while we keep on doing them ourselves.”   It would be very interesting to see if U.S. intelligence agencies would be willing to sacrifice their manipulations of foreign politics if that would safeguard the integrity of our own.

Americans can spot election meddling because they’ve been doing it for years by Owen Jones for The Guardian.

Russia Isn’t the Only One Meddling in Elections | We Do It, Too by Scott Shane for The New York Times.

There are a lot of problems with the integrity of the American election process—tamper-able voting machines, arbitrary purges of voter lists, gerrymandering, dark money, fake news.  Foreign interference, and not just from Russia, probably is part of this.

It is up to us Americans for fix our system.   The problem does not originate in Russia, anymore than the U.S. drug addiction problem originates in Mexico or Colombia.

If Robert Mueller can prove that Trump officials, Trump campaign staff or Donald Trump himself violated the law, they should be indicted or impeached.  More power to him if he can!  Indicting officials of foreign intelligence agencies residing in their own countries for committing espionage seems like something new under the sun.  What if foreign countries follow suit?

My question remains:  If Putin offered to refrain from trying to influence American politics in return for the USA giving up all “regime change” activities against Russia and other countries, would that be acceptable?  If not, why not?

 

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One Response to “Has the U.S. interfered with Russia? Yes”

  1. whungerford Says:

    One problem with plotting and planning to shape the future is that results are unpredictable–bad things may ensue. Phil’s article has examples, and it is easy to think of more. Koreans might have done much better at organizing their government after WWII without “help” from Soviet, Chinese, and American agents; Americans can do a better job of choosing elected officials without foreign interference. As Phil notes, it is on us to make that happen.

    Liked by 1 person

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