How the US Justifies Interfering in Others’ Elections

Manuel E. Yepe

“When we try to manipulate or influence the elections of other nations, or even when we have wanted to overthrow their governments, we have done so in the best interests of the people of those countries.” Such a tender philosophy was the one that James Robert Clapper Jr, former head of the National Security Agency (NSA), declared before a congressional committee in Washington, D.C.. Clapper did this on May 8, 2018, with all naturalness, trying to justify Washington’s electoral interference in more than eighty countries.

In the same way, this gentleman expressed himself when he promoted his book Facts and Fears, where he tackles issues such as alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and in the Syrian conflict. In Syria, the United States has been the main support for terrorists seeking to overthrow the legitimate government of that Middle Eastern country.The interference in the electoral processes of more than eighty countries throughout history was done thinking “in the best interests of the people” of these nations, Clapper reiterated in an interview granted to Bloomberg, when speaking of the American history of interference in the elections of other nations.

Clapper is remembered in his country for hiding the truth about the massive surveillance program developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) before it was brought to light by Edward Snowden.

Certainly, intervention in other people’s electoral processes has long been a recurring component of Washington’s foreign policy.

In Latin America, the expulsion from power of a legitimately-elected president is considered the most condemnable intervention, although they abound, practically, in the history of all the countries in the region. Jacobo Arbenz, in Guatemala; Salvador Allende, in Chile, or Joao Goulart, in Brazil, are just some examples that have preceded in time to the recent Manuel Zelaya in Honduras; Fernando Lugo in Paraguay and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil.

On a global scale, it is known that, in 1947, the U.S. forced the Italian government to exclude all communists and socialists in the first post-war cabinet in exchange for U.S. economic aid to rebuild Europe destroyed by the World War.

Thereafter, the CIA (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency) did everything in its power, legally or illegally, to prevent the participation of Communists in the Italian government, while covertly financing Christian Democratic candidates there and elsewhere in Western Europe.

The Italian elections of April 1948 were the first in which the CIA’s intervention in the affairs of another country was felt. Without the CIA, the Italian Communist Party would have won those 1948 elections broadly.

From then on, for decades, whenever the Communists, either in alliance with the Socialists or on their own, threatened an electoral triumph, the United States raised the threat of exclusion from the Marshall Plan to prevent it.

The now-retired intelligence official explains that he wrote the book to inform the public of the “both internal and external” threats facing the United States, and to explain that President Donald Trump is not the problem of the American country, but only the symbol of a broader problem because “the truth is relative.

On February 13, U.S. intelligence directors warned the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee that “Russia appears to be preparing to repeat the tricks it unleashed in 2016 as the 2018 midterm elections approach: cyberattacking, filtering, manipulating social networks, and perhaps others.

Days later, special prosecutor Robert Mueller used social networks to formulate accusations against 13 Russians and 3 companies run by a businessman linked to the Kremlin in order to attack Hillary Clinton, support Donald Trump and sow discord.

Most Americans were understandably impacted by what they saw as an unprecedented attack on their political system. However, intelligence veterans and academics who have studied covert operations have a different and rather revealing view.

If any government in the world totally lacks the authority and moral standing to condemn the interference of any nation, powerful or weak, large or small, rich or poor, in the internal affairs of another, that nation is the United States because of its long history of abuses against its enemies as well as its allies.

But for Washington to go out and denounce or protest the interference of any nation in its electoral affairs is simply an insult to the collective intelligence of humanity; an unacceptable shame from any point of view.