The US media is nearly foaming at the mouth with unsubstantiated allegations that Russia is attempting to influence US elections. The words of commentators on mainstream US media are, “How dare Russia try to influence our elections!” and “How dare Putin meddle in the affairs of other countries!”
Beyond the lack of actual evidence to back up these claims, there is a layer of absolute hypocrisy. For decades leaders of the United States have been actively trying to influence the elections of other countries in a way that is favorable to the centers of American economic power. Often, this meddling is also done to prevent the election of governments who are sympathetic to Russia or China.
The stated purpose of the “Marshall Plan” enacted by the United States after the Second World War was to weaken Moscow-aligned political forces across the world. US leaders put pressure on various governments to suppress Communist parties, even when they were wildly popular and won at the polls. In 1947, when Communists pushed out of the cabinet, the World Bank rewarded France with a loan, just hours afterward.
In China the United States supported the Nationalist government in barring the Communist Party from participating in the post-war elections. In response to being barred from the ballot, the Communists took up arms and eventually created the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
In Korea, the United States coopered with forces who made sure that the post-war elections, which would likely have elected Soviet- aligned forces, never took place. Instead of the planned national election for the entire Korean Peninsula, the US supported General Sygman Rhee in establishing a military dictatorship in the south. With full US support Rhee slaughtered tens of thousands of leftists at Jeju Island and elsewhere.
In Italy and other countries throughout Europe, the United States cooperated with NATO countries to conduct “Operation Gladio” in order to prevent the often wildly popular Communist parties from winning the elections. In Italy, the CIA not only facilitated a campaign of media smears and demonization, but also conducted election fraud and staged armed acts of violence, successfully preventing the Italian public from electing a Russian-aligned government. Since the end of the Cold War, it has been revealed that US and other NATO intelligence services were involved in terrorist attacks in which civilians were killed. These acts of terrorism were done with the intention of weakening the Communists at the polls.
These kinds of schemes were conducted by US intelligence agencies throughout the Cold War. In Indonesia, the United States did everything possible to sabotage and discredit the China aligned government of Sukarno. When well-funded attempts to defeat the pro-Chinese coalition government were unsuccessful, the United States backed a military in coup d’etat in 1965. In the aftermath of the military seizing power in Indonesia and toppling Sukarno, hundreds of thousands of people were killed. Some say the mass slaughtered that followed the 1965 escalated beyond political violence and became a genocide against ethnic Chinese people in Indonesia.
In the early 1970s, the United States intentionally worked to sabotage the economy Chile, openly hoping to destabilize the country and discredit the socialist coalition which had been democratically elected. Richard Nixon directly ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream” in order to weaken the popularity of the Socialists, who were friendly to the Soviet Union. When efforts to influence the elections failed, the United States supported a military coup d’etat in which Augusto Pinochet seized power, killing thousands of leftists and dissidents.
In 1990, the Sandinista government of Nicaragua held elections. The United States had been funding armed groups known as Contras for over a decade hoping to topple the government. As the elections drew near, the allies of the United States, with millions of dollars to fund their campaign at the ballot box, assured the public that if the Sandinistas were voted out of power, the campaign of terrorism would end. The people of Nicaragua, scarred by years of war, voted for the opposition.
Clinton’s Meddling in Elections Across The Planet
Since the rise of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 1999, the United States has been actively working to influence the elections in a number of Latin American countries. The US openly cooperates with opposition forces in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Cuba.
The leaked e-mails of Hillary Rodham Clinton reveal that as Secretary of State she worked very hard to influence elections in Latin America and to defeat of Bolivarian socialists at the ballot box.
Clinton and other US leaders have actively tried to influence elections and secure the defeat of the elected government of Belarus, led by Alexander Lukashenko. On several occasions when the pro-western minority in Belarus has been defeated at the polls, the streets of the country have experience a wave of violence from US-backed “oppositionists.”
Despite Vladimir Putin being one of the most popular heads of state on earth, Clinton has publicly aligned herself with the widely unpopular, pro-western Russian opposition. The US State Department most certainly has a relationship with such forces as well.
The allegation currently plastered across US media is that somehow Russia was involved in making public some e-mails revealing dishonesty and malpractice by the Democratic National Committee. The allegation is that Russia would prefer that Trump rather than Clinton be elected in November, and that making the dishonest activities of Debbie Wasserman Shultz and others public will hurt Clinton’s image.
The actions that the Clinton campaign is currently accusing Russia of engaging in are very mild in comparison to what has been actively done by US leaders to influence the elections of other countries. Across the planet, when it was feared that elections may go differently than they preferred, US intelligence agencies have funded terrorist groups, supported people engaged in electoral fraud, and done everything possible to secure the results they want. Often, when countries elect governments they disfavor, the United States has supported military coups that overturned the elected governments.
In allegations surrounding the US elections, Russia is not being accused of anything remotely close to what US leaders have done to influence the elections of other countries. However, the history of US meddling with elections across the planet is unfortunately absent from mainstream media discourse, allowing a hostile climate of Russophobia to escalate.
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.