Every time I read another red-baiting article about how Russia swung the US presidential election, all I can say is “the chickens are coming home to roost.” For decades, the US has been engaged in trying to manipulate elections abroad, and now Americans get offended that someone might be trying to do it to them. The US covertly backed the Velvet Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, which took those countries out of the Russian orbit. The CIA alleges that Russia hacked servers at the Democratic National Committee to give its documents to Wikileaks, but that is nothing compared to the US government financing youth groups in the Ukraine that led the massive street demonstrations and paying a Washington PR firm to create pro-Yushchenko websites. Maybe Putin is giving the US a little taste of its own medicine.
Considering that the US government was involved in attempts to overthrow democratically elected governments in Syria (1949), Iran (1953), Guyana (1953), Guatemala (1954), Greece (1961), Brazil (1964), Italy (1970), Chile (1973), Venezuela (2002), Haiti (1991, 2004) and Honduras (2009), I find it hypocritical for Americans to get on their high horses about the Russians meddling in their elections. There is a certain poetic justice in the fact that Hillary Clinton might have lost the election due to outside meddling after she helped overthrow the governments of Honduras and Libya and advocated overthrowing Assad in Syria.
If Americans don’t like Russians meddling in US elections, then Americans should do several things:
- Demand that the US government stop meddling in foreign elections, through groups such as the National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the USAID, CIA, US Chamber of Commerce, etc. There should be no more covert financing of opposition groups in other countries. For example, demand that the US not finance opposition groups to Evo Morales in Bolivia, Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, and Raul Castro in Cuba. Demand that the US stop offering foreign political parties “training” in media manipulation, creating fake grassroots organizations and other dirty tricks. The National Endowment for Democracy should be abolished, and replaced by an organization which only funds election verification and academic studies.
- Get US covert ops out of 133 countries. Spying is fine, but military operations are not.
- Demand an end to the US government planting fake news about other countries. For example, demand that the US government not plant stories in the media about the Syrian government attacking its citizens with sarin gas and chlorine barrel bombs.
- Demand that the US have an electoral system that is hard to manipulate. Get rid of the anachronistic electoral college, so that the difference of 80,000 votes in 4 states can’t swing an election. Elections where the popular vote decides are much harder to manipulate. The US should use a verifiable paper trail for its own elections. Get rid of electronic voting systems that don’t allow for an independent recount and are easy to hack. Don’t allow election verification to be overruled by partisans of a political party. The Republican Attorney General of Michigan should not be allowed to stop an election recount and a partisan Supreme Court should be allowed to shut down a recount in Florida. Set up automatic registration based on state driver licenses and ID cards, so that all people are registered and voting roles can’t be manipulated.