Government officials and public leaders are claiming that Russia manipulated the 2016 presidential election so Donald Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton. And as they make this clam, it is important to realize that Russia and the world have long manipulated America—even as no one cared about it until this year.
I’ve written an extensive analysis on the many problems regarding the accusation that Vladimir Putin and Russia influenced the U.S. election so that Trump would win. But for those who are only interested in a partial BLUF for that analysis, here it is: foreign states have long interfered with U.S. elections but no leader has cared about it until after Election Day 2016.
Furthermore, Russia and the world have interfered with and manipulated the U.S. in many other ways as well. They do so right now.
What follows is just a short list of influence activities that foreign (or foreign-linked) actors conduct against the U.S. And note that while there are people who are concerned with the activities (most notably the people in the intelligence community), there is no national hysteria about these influence operations.
- Russians contributed a lot of money to the Clinton Foundation.
- China runs massive influence operations that are damaging to U.S. interests. (Additionally, like Russia, China is a huge HUMINT and cyber threat against the U.S.)
- Syrian rebels and activists have influenced and manipulated U.S. policy in Syria.
- Pro-Iranian groups conduct successful influence operations in the U.S. On a separate note, the Iranian government itself appears to be rather adept at running influence operations. After all, it has convinced the U.S. government to support Iranian-backed forces in the Middle East despite the fact that Iran murdered American troops in Iraq during the Iraq War.
- Then there are nations such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. They are connected to the murders of Americans on a regular basis and yet the U.S. insists on seeing them as allies. It takes pretty powerful influence operations to get a nation to view you as an ally when you are linked to murdering its citizens.
- Former Mexican President Vincente Fox conducted an influence operation against Trump during the presidential election season.
- And then there is WikiLeaks. The media love this foreign group. And while they now acknowledge that WikiLeaks has a connection to Russia when they talk about Trump’s election, they simultaneously continue championing WikiLeak-ers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. They also continue working with WikiLeaks on non-Trump related matters.
So if you can ever get a word in edgewise with all the people who are now hysterically accusing Russia of handing the White House to Donald Trump, ask them why they weren’t concerned years earlier about foreign actors interfering with and manipulating America.
It’s been happening for a long time. And all our leaders and media have been fine with it.