Written March 30, 2017     
 

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LONSBERRY POLL
Should we try to influence other countries' politics?
Yes
No

© 2017 Bob Lonsberry

 
 
RUSSIAN AMBITION AND OUR BALLOT BOX

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Of course the Russians tried to influence the presidential election.

They’ve been trying to influence American presidential elections since the 1930s.

The Russians have long had a hand in our politics, secretly funding and guiding any number of student, union, environmental, peace, civil rights, entertainment and progressive groups. What’s new about their meddling in 2016 is that it appears to have been done with an eye toward benefiting a Republican candidate.

Usually the Kremlin votes Democrat.

Always the Kremlin is out to help the Kremlin. Russia is always about Russia, hoping to spread forth race and empire with an eye toward the domination of peoples and centuries. Russia is, like most powers through history, out to claim as much of the world and the world’s resources as it can. It is engaged in a mission of conquest.

And it has accurately seen, since shortly after the fall of the tsar, that its primary rival for world-power status is the United States of America. It has consequently consistently sought to weaken the United States on every front – economically, militarily, politically. As part of that, it has meddled in our internal affairs, typically trying to influence our public opinion and, thereby, our elections.

With some success, it has targeted our movie studios, our college classrooms, our labor unions and advocacy groups, and even our ballot boxes. It has been that way for decades.

But only now are we getting concerned about it.

And that’s because the Kremlin decided to back a different horse.

Probably for some combination of personal dislike of Hillary Clinton and the belief that Donald Trump could be easily manipulated, Vladimir Putin decided this go round to back the Republican candidate – Trump.

That has progressives enraged.

And that’s good.

Because something needed to light a fire under this issue. This meddling is wrong and intolerable, and it’s time to stop the influx of foreign influence and foreign money into American politics and public opinion.

Right, George Soros?

Right, Mexican government?

Right, Greenpeace?

Whether it comes from Russia or anywhere else, external influence is an attempt to steal America from Americans. It is an attempt to subvert the defining characteristic of our Republic – the American government representing American values, priorities and votes.

So, yes, let’s rage against the Russians. Let’s root out their sinister infiltration of our election and our society. Let’s truly investigate and truly push back. And let’s do so in a bipartisan fashion – not as Democrats and Republicans, but as Americans. Hopefully, the Senate Intelligence Committee will fare better than the House Intelligence Committee, which is divided into two teams, one out to crucify Trump at all costs and the other out to defend Trump at all costs.

This isn’t about Trump or overthrowing an election. It’s not about refighting last November or settling partisan scores.

It’s about pushing the Russian bear back onto its side of the line.

There is an historic thugishness about the Russians, and particularly about their current dictator. All they understand is strength. They are not creatures of diplomacy, they are respecters of the clenched fist. And if they are not fearing one, they are most assuredly swinging one.

And the sooner America’s leaders remember that, the better.

We must remember that messing with our politics is one small piece of the effort to weaken and topple us. We must remember that history and the ways of man did not end at Woodstock. The world remains a brutish, competitive place where any number of interests want to slit your throat.

In that, the Russians are joined by the Chinese, the jihadis and the Reconquistas.

Everybody wants to bash in the American head, and it has ever been thus. Fiddling with elections and public opinion – at the ballot box and in the classroom – is just one way.

Yes, let’s investigate, let’s discover, and let’s show the world what the Russians did – as a rebuke to the Russians and as a warning to the world.

And let us not be so naieve as to believe that this is new, or that we don’t do the same thing. For decades, the United States and the Russians have vied to control and influence any number of vassal countries’ politics. We usually did it with more grace and decency than the Russians, but not always. And as recently as this decade, we worked hard to get our candidates elected to the Russian Duma – that’s one of the reasons Putin hates Hillary Clinton, it was her State Department trying to topple him.

It is a sometimes ugly mess, but it is the way of the world. And we are idiots if we pretend the Russian efforts during our last election were new or unique.

And we are idiots if we continue to pretend that the Cold War is over or that Russian desire for empire has passed.


- by Bob Lonsberry © 2017

   
        
   
 
    
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