I am an alien here and I know already that commenting on US affairs does me no good. But on the other hand, does it do Americans any good if the only voices they hear are those of other Americans? So because I feel strongly about this, I will have the courage of my convictions and ask the question that has been simmering away in my mind for months.
American interference in the political affairs of other nations is so commonplace it’s barely news in the world beyond the US.
In Latin America, it is so well documented that at the Summit of the Americas in 2015, President Obama felt it necessary to say that ‘the days of meddling’ were over – which you have to admit is an admission that meddling had indeed occurred.
Dov Levin (Institute for Politics and Strategy, Carnegie-Mellon University) has calculated that between 1946 and 2000, the US attempted to influence the elections of other countries at least 81 times, including the 1996 Russian election where concerted American activity in collusion with Boris Yeltsin elevated Yeltsin from the bottom of the polls to winner.
Furthermore, these figures do not include America’s support of military coups or attempts to overthrow regimes the US didn’t like.
In the same period, Russia indulged in similar tactics 36 times.
There is nothing new about any of this. Both countries have been playing these games for decades. In Dr Levin’s highly expert and thoroughly researched opinion, Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election would rate as ‘average’ on the scale of manipulation used to procure the desired outcome.
Don’t run away with the idea that I condone any of this, or think all’s fair in love and politics.
It is a gross insult to the intelligence, cultural sanctity and right to self-determination of any nation to have outsiders manipulating its domestic affairs.
It is a nasty shock to any nation to find their leader is a cheat.
But in view of its own history, how does America justify its outrage at Russian interference in an American election?
How is American interference in other people’s politics OK, but other people’s interference in American politics not OK?