No, I’ve not gone crazy. No, I’m not trying to pass of “fake” news. But, yes, I want you to please keep reading.
By now, you’re quite familiar with the many concerns Democrats and some Republicans have about Russia perhaps influencing the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. There was a hearing on Capitol Hill about that very issue today; and while more might happen, it’s not clear what will result from them.
Even if the proverbial smoking gun were to be found, and it’s doubtful any specific linkage to Russia will turn up, Donald Trump would not be removed as president and no new elections would take place.
Put bluntly, if the Russians succeeded, then nothing can be done about the election result.
Setting that aside, I want you to consider what the conversation in the United States would be if the headline for this blog post were indeed a real one.
Would Americans be outraged if they knew their government had influenced a political election in another land? Would they be angry if Vladimir Putin, the latest U.S. boogeyman, had been swept out of office? Would the media take seriously the accusations from Putin that America and the CIA did him in?
You and I know what the reaction in the U.S. would be: Putin had it coming to him; he’s no friend of the U.S., so “hasta la vista” (the closest translation into Russian I could find to that is “do svidaniya,” or до свидания).
Something else also would be ignored: The long history of the CIA gumming up elections in other nations. Journalist Owen Jones discusses some of them in this op-ed. His concluding statement is one every American should consider:
Allegations of Russian interference in the US elections are undoubtedly alarming, but there’s a double standard at play. Meddling in foreign democracies only becomes a problem when the US is on the receiving end. The US has interfered with impunity in the internal affairs of so many other countries. The day that all such interference is seen for what it is – a democratic outrage, unworthy of any great nation – will be a great day indeed.
Do not consider Jones some anti-American gasbag. His analysis one that other people and other news organizations have made, something I mentioned about two weeks ago.
Nevertheless, if the U.S. had succeeded in removing Putin from office, any voice making the point that interfering in the elections of another nation — whether it be friend or foe — is wrong would be lost among the many voices celebrating Putin’s doom.
Now ask yourself what you think about governments seeking to get allies in other places of power. Do the ends justify the means?