Thursday, December 22, 2016

Just a Reminder for Americans Peeved at Possible Russian Involvement in the American Election

A lot of Americans are acting shocked - Shocked! - that their elections may have been tampered with by an outside government.

Yet, Americans should be the people least surprised by this possibility, as America's own involvement in interfering with other countries, and often installing puppet governments to meet our temporary economic desires and needs, is quite extensive. When you do this enough, is it really surprising that, in time, you might just become the target of such involvement yourself?

Now, I am not saying that Russia has actually somehow impacted American elections, much less decided the 2016 election. Despite the "proof" that President Obama claims that he has, the fact of the matter is that a lot of such claims by prominent government officials, including presidents and other very high-ranking officials, has turned out to be false. For proof of this, just remember Colin Powell showing "proof" of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction in the lead-up to the invasion. 

So, I am remaining skeptical, until concrete proof that Russia definitively helped to decide the election is furnished. Until then, I will take it all with a grain of salt, because the big, bad Russians doing us harm has played out for a long time, and has been done in plenty of movies. Until this proof is made public, and is as irrefutable as the president suggests, it seems to me that this should remain in the fields of fiction and movies and such.

However, if it does prove to be true, then let us gain some perspective on it. After all, the United States got involved in intervening with other nations affair for many decades now, and this world is likely worse off for it. I mentioned Iraq specifically before, and there seems little substantive debate to the idea that the Middle East in general, and Iraq in particular, are far worse off today than they were before, and that this is a direct result of American involvement in their affairs. 

In fact, if we take a look at America's foreign policy, there have been so many blunders that it seems to line the road from the beginning of the country's history, right to the present. From the days of America almost going to war with France in the early days of the republic,, their first ally, to the Monroe Doctrine when we claimed that the western hemisphere would be ours to dominate, to the illegal and immoral war against Mexico, to the countless broken treaties with First Nations/Native American tribes (which can be rightly placed in the category of foreign policy), to the imperial war against Spain to take over parts of their empire, to America's failure to even join Woodrow Wilson's doomed League of Nations, to the two bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to the Cold War that broke out following World War II, to the Bay of Pigs and our relentless and fruitless efforts to overthrow Castro in Cuba, to American involvement in Southeast Asia (not just relegated to Vietnam), to American involvement in African and Latin American nations (most famously Chile and Nicaragua, as well as the invasions of Grenada and Panama), to our recent involvement in numerous oil-rich Middle East nations, the United States has consistently gotten it wrong, time and time again. 

Claiming that this was the government, and not the people, would be a cop out, since the American voters controlled who the government was. Also, let us remember how Americans expressed racist sentiments towards the Japanese during World War II, initially supported the war in Vietnam, supported the invasion of Grenada and Panama (even when most Americans were not sure what those invasions were all about to begin with), to the hubris that Americans showed in celebrating the downfall of the Soviet Union (which explains in part Russian resentment lasting to this day, and now being expressed in more open hostility by Putin and his supporters), to huge support for all of our Middle Eastern wars until very recently, we Americans as citizens have also gotten it wrong, time and time again.

So, Americans should not get all high and mighty now at the alleged interference by Russia in this past election. Again, even if the CIA, the FBI, and the President all seem to agree that there is solid proof of Russian intervention in the election, they apparently do not trust the American public with this proof. That, to me, makes it automatically suspect. After all, we need to learn some lessons from the claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD's) that led to the invasion of Iraq, which was largely responsible for much of the mess that Iraq and the rest of the Middle East is in now. It destabilized the whole region. And remember, just a couple of months ago, President Obama essentially boasted that no outside government had ever interfered in American elections and, moreover, that they really could not be interfered with. He went so far as to suggest that Trump should just stop whining. Suddenly, that story line changed in a hurry when Trump actually won. But people did not trust Hillary Clinton, and this was no secret. Poll after poll suggested that for months leading up to the general election, and it did not help matters that her husband met with the Attorney General illegally just days before all charges were effectively dropped. Nor did it help that Clinton asked for, and received, help from the Democratic establishment to secure the nomination over Bernie Sanders. Nobody told Clinton to lie about sniper fire in Bosnia. Finally, no one told Donna Brazile to give Hillary Clinton that debate question to help her prepare. Those were dishonest things, and they were evidence of a larger trend in Hillary Clinton, who was a liability for the Democratic Party, even though mainstream Democrats seemed to be the only ones who failed to see this. That is not on Russia. That is entirely on Clinton and the Democrats.

Let's call a spade a spade: the Democrats, had Hillary won, would not be going after the Russians. In fact, if Trump had lost, and then challenged the tainted election, Democrats would be uniformly claiming what they were claiming just weeks ago, that nobody - especially no outside government - could actually affect American elections. All of that changed because - tahdah! - the Democrats lost. But personally, I thought that they lost as soon as they cheated to make sure that Hillary Clinton would be their nominee in the first place.

Now, if the Russians somehow were involved, it was in the most minor manner possible. There was no hacking of the election, and they used their influence, such as it is, to illustrate wrongdoing from top Democrats, which in and of itself, should be the breaking story here.

Yet, even if somehow turns out that Russian interference did somehow help to decide the election (which still seems far-fetched to me), then Americans should keep in mind that they are simply getting a taste of their own medicine. No more, and no less.

"Between 1945 and 2005 the United States has attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements struggling against intolerable regimes. In the process, the U.S. caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair."

~ William Blum

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