Written by Robert Warden
I feel that it’s time to wrap up this series of posts and start a new one on long term progressive strategy, unless some new form of system rigging comes to my attention. But before I finish, I want to discuss one more topic, that of the globalization of election interference. We all know that the United States has been guilty of political interference in many other nations’ elections and political events. Nobody is trying to excuse this. In fact, perhaps it has gotten to a point where all of us who aren’t power mongers or financial kingpins are political victims of international political intrigue, and the United States bears much of the blame for that. However, from what I have discovered, so does Russia. These two nations are probably the world leaders in election interference. Yet, many other nations are involved, as well.
The feeling that I get is that political power figures and even financial power players have been trying to steer politics globally, with varying degrees of success, and sometimes at cross purposes. For them, it’s a high stakes game that leaves the rest of us out of the process except as voters to be won over or protesters and activists to either be suppressed or applauded. But since the core of the political and financial power structure is self-serving and loathe to cede power even for the sake of progress and the greater good, the power players mostly are working against the common cause of the greater good. Sure, technological progress is welcome, but only for those who pay for it. Progress on social equality is welcomed by some too, but frankly, I find social progress to be hopelessly stunted as long as people lack fair representation in government and continue to be mired in ever increasing economically unfair inequality.
One issue that has occured to me in recent days is that of what the bounds of political influence should appropriately be. One article that I read in researching this topic (not cited here) was from Canada, and it complained about things like Obama endorsing Macron over LePen in the French election, as election interference. I have to disagree with that. In fact, I thought, my God, if Barack Obama isn’t allowed to openly and honestly endorse a reasonable candidate over a pending disaster in another nation, what can he do? What could anyone do by those criteria? Whether French voters were influenced by Obama’s endorsement or not is another issue, but I think it was appropriate and up front for Obama to endorse a candidate. What isn’t appropriate or up front, is behind the scenes, deceitful attempts to influence foreign voters, using trolls, and ads for instance, which in all likelihood include various lies. Another immoral means of influencing elections is to create a crisis to help one side or another, or to declare the loser of an election the winner. It seems to me that an organization such as the United Nations should be given the authority to not only monitor elections, but to prosecute individuals and organizations responsible for wrongfully influencing elections or their outcomes. Of course, being that Republicans hate the United Nations, they would probably go ballistic over such U.N. oversight, but I think that such U.N. oversight is what would be appropriate.
Regarding the 2016 election in the United States, several nations have emerged as players in the shenanigans preceding the election, all of them doing things which favored Donald Trump. These nations include — in addition to Russia — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (clearly bastions of conservatism and values that Trump represents), according to a New York Times article (http://fortune.com/2018/05/20/trump-jr-saudi-uae-rep/ ) Also, Canada and the U.K. have been implicated — not their governments, but individuals apparently who devised computer programs that were used by the Trump campaign to target potential voters as described in a previous post (https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/06/12/news/trudeau-liberal-suggests-canadian-ad-firm-helped-trump-win-2016). That brings us to 5 foreign nations which apparently were involved directly or indirectly in helping the Trump campaign.
Finally, I would add that this list may not be an exhaustive one of the nations involved. It could be quite a few more nations than that, and indeed, it is likely to in reality be more rather than less.
I can think of at least 3 things that we can do about this situation. One is to call for the United States to stop its secret meddling in other nations’ politics, which surely makes many foreigners feel justified in doing the same to the United States. Second, is making ourselves and others aware of the problem, and thus inoculating outselves (at least to a degree) against political influence attempts as well as encouraging the development of solutions to the problem. Third, as mentioned earlier, we need to develop some kind of international oversight over election independence and fairness. Things are not okay and it won’t get better on its own. However, the people ultimately have the power to fix these problems. I can see the days of reckoning fast approaching for the Republicans and all like minded people who have used unfair means of influence to gain a political advantage over the rest of us. In fact, it has gotten to the point that Republican politicians and members of the Trump administration are regularly being confronted in public. I take that as a very significant sign of a shift in the political mood of this nation — a shift toward a progressive agenda.