Council for the National Interest

America Leader of the Free World? How to Forget U.S. interference in Foreign Elections

Jul 3 2021 / 1:14 pm

Joe Biden should read up on the history of American political and military interventions, regime changes and electoral interference worldwide.

After only five months in office, President Joe Biden has already become notorious for his verbal gaffes and mis-spokes, so much so that an admittedly Republican-partisan physician has suggested that he be tested to determine his cognitive abilities. That said, however, there is one June 16th tweet that he is responsible for that is quite straightforward that outdoes everything else for sheer mendacity. It appeared shortly after the summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and was apparently intended to be rhetorical, at least insofar as Biden understands the term. It went: “How would it be if the United States were viewed by the rest of the world as interfering with the elections directly of other countries and everybody knew it? What would it be like if we engaged in activities that he engaged in? It diminishes the standing of a country.”

There have been various estimates of just exactly how many elections the United States has interfered in since the Second World War, the numbers usually falling somewhere between 80 and 100, but that does not take into account the frequent interventions of various kinds that took place largely in Latin America between the Spanish-American War and 1946. One recalls how the most decorated Marine in the history of the Corps Major General Smedley Butler declared that “War is a racket” in 1935. He confessed to having “…helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.”

And there have been since 1900 other regime change and interventionist actions, both using military force and also brought about by corrupting local politicians with money and other inducements. And don’t forget the American trained death squads active in Latin America. Some would also include in the list the possibly as many as 50 Central Intelligence Agency and Special Ops political assassinations that have been documented, though admittedly sometimes based on thin evidence.

That Joe Biden, who has been at a reasonably high level in the federal government for over forty years, including as Vice President for eight years and now President should appear to be ignorant of what his own government has done and quite plausibly continues to do is astonishing. After all, Biden was VP when Victoria Nuland worked for the Obama Administration as the driving force behind efforts in 2013-2014 to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych, an admittedly corrupt autocrat, nevertheless became Prime Minister after a free election. Nuland, who is the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department, provided open support to the Maidan Square demonstrators opposed to Yanukovych’s government, to include media friendly appearances passing out cookies on the square accompanied by Senator John McCain to encourage the protesters.

A Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton protégé who is married to leading neocon Robert Kagan, Nuland openly sought regime change for Ukraine by brazenly supporting government opponents in spite of the fact that Washington and Kiev had ostensibly friendly relations. As Biden’s tweet even recognized in a backhanded way, it is hard to imagine that any U.S. administration would tolerate a similar attempt by a foreign nation to interfere in U.S. domestic politics, particularly if it were backed by a $5 billion budget, but Washington has long believed in a global double standard for evaluating its own behavior. Biden clearly is part of that and also clearly does not understand what he is doing or saying.

Nuland is most famous for her foul language when referring to the potential European role in managing the unrest that she and the National Endowment for Democracy had helped create. The Obama and Biden Administration’s replacement of the government in Kiev was the prelude to a sharp break and escalating conflict with Moscow over Russia’s attempts to protect its own interests in Ukraine, most particularly in Crimea. That point of conflict has continued to this day, with a U.S. warships in the Black Sea engaging in exercises with the Ukrainian navy.

Biden was also with the Obamas when they chose to destabilize and destroy Libya. Nor should Russia itself be forgotten. Boris Yeltsin was re-elected president of Russia in 1996 after the Clinton Administration pumped billions of dollars into his campaign, enabling him to win a close oligarch-backed victory that had been paid for and managed by Washington. Joe Biden was a Senator at the time.

And then there is Iran, where democratically elected Mohammed Mossadeq was deposed by the CIA in 1953 and replaced by the Shah. The Shah was replaced by the Islamic Republic in turn in 1979 and the poisoned relationship between Washington and Tehran has constituted a tit-for-tat quasi-cold war ever since, marked by assassinations and sabotage.

And who can forget Chile where Salvador Allende was removed by the CIA in 1973 and replaced by Augusto Pinochet? Or Cuba and the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 where the CIA failed to bring about regime change in Havana? Can it be that Joe Biden cannot recall any of those “interventions,” which were heavily covered in the international media at the time?

And to make up the numbers, Joe can possibly consider the multiple “interferences in elections,” which is more precisely what he was referring to. As a CIA officer stationed in Europe and the Middle East in and 1970s through the early 1990s, I can assure him that I personally know about nearly continuous interference in elections in places like France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, all of which had prominent communist parties, some of which were on the verge of government entry. Bags of money went to conservative parties, politicians were bribed and journalists bought. In fact, during that time period I would dare to say there was hardly an election that the United States did not somehow get involved in.

Does it still go on? The U.S. has been seeking regime change in Syria since 2004 and is currently occupying part of the country. And of course, Russia is on the receiving end of a delegitimization process through a controlled western media that is seeking to get rid of Putin by exploiting a CIA and western intelligence funded opposition. China has no real opposition or open elections, nor can its regime plausibly be changed, but it is constantly being challenged by depicting it and its behavior in the most negative fashion possible.

Joe Biden really should read up on the history of American political and military interventions, regime changes and electoral interference worldwide. He just might learn something. The most important point might, however, elude him. All of the intervention and all of the deaths have turned out badly both for the U.S. and for the people and countries being targeted. Biden has taken a bold step to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, though it now appears that that decision might be in part reversed. Much better to complete the process and also do the same thing in places like Iraq, Somalia and Syria. The whole world will be a better place for it.

Posted by on Jul 3 2021 . Filed under CNI Authors, Commentary & Analysis, Philip Giraldi . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 . Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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