This morning, four U.S. senators issued a joint statement raising deep concerns about Russia reportedly interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections.
“For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyberattacks at America’s physical, economic, and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property," declared Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham and Democratic senators Charles Schumer and Jack Reed. "Now our democratic institutions have been targeted. Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American."
They also stated that Congress's national security committees have "an obligation to inform the public about recent cyberattacks that have cut to the heart of our free society".
"Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks," they added. “This cannot become a partisan issue. The stakes are too high for our country.”
This came after the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency reportedly concluded that Russia secretly helped Donald Trump win the presidency. It came by working with operatives who hacked both the Democratic and Republican party committees' email networks.
Messages from senior Democrats, including Hillary Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta, were released via WikiLeaks.
Meanwhile, Trump reportedly plans to appoint ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. Tillerson has had extensive dealings with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
CIA hasn't respected other democracies
For some in other countries, it must seem a bit rich to see Americans get so upset over foreigners disrupting an election.
The CIA was created by president Harry Truman after the Second World War and almost immediately began meddling in other nations' affairs.
It started in 1948 when the agency bought votes, sent millions of letters, and broadcast propaganda to block the Communists from winning an election in Italy.
In Iran, a democratically elected president, Mohammed Mossadegh, was overthrown in a military coup backed by the CIA. This installed the Shah of Iran, and he ran a ruthless dictatorship for the next 26 years.
The following year, another democratically elected president, Jacob Arbenz in Guatemala, was ousted in a coup backed by the CIA.
In 1961, another democratically elected president, the Congo's Patrice Lumumba, was assassinated with the involvement of the CIA.
Two years later, the CIA again played a central role in the overthrow of democratically elected Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic.
In 1964, it was Brazil's turn, with the CIA backing a junta that ousted democratically elected Joao Goulart.
The following year, the CIA encouraged the king of Greece to remove democratically elected George Papandreous. In 1965, the CIA also backed a military coup installing a murderous dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, in what became known as Zaire. And the same year, the CIA backed a coup in Indonesia to throw out democratically elected Sukarno and replace him with the dictatorial Suharto, who ruled with an iron fist.
Many other countries also endured CIA meddling, including Uruguay, Haiti, Bolivia, and Cambodia.
One of the worst atrocities occurred in 1973 when the CIA backed a coup overthrowing the democratically elected leader of Chile, Salvador Allende. His replacement, Augusto Pinochet, tortured and murdered thousands.
U.S. has also relied heavily on soft power
In more recent years, the American government has often acted with more subtlety in promoting its interests in other parts of the world.
In 1983, the Reagan administration founded the National Endowment for Democracy.
It's an arm's-length foundation with the stated goal of promoting democracy abroad. In a nutshell, it advances U.S. objectives through the use of soft power.
Funded by the U.S. Congress, the NED distributes tens of millions of dollars per year "to advance democratic ideals, defend human rights, and encourage the development of civil society".
"Depending on the circumstances of each country, NED works both with democrats in the country and in exile," it states on its website.
In 2015, the NED became the first organization to be banned in Russia under a law outlawing "undesirable" NGOs, according to a Guardian article.
This came two years after NED president Carl Gershon wrote a commentary in the Washington Post calling for the "eventual integration of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine into E.U. structures".
"Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents," Gershon stated in the article.
Russia's chief prosecutor claimed two years later that the NED posed a threat to his country's constitutional order.
“Using Russian commercial and noncommercial organizations under its control, the National Endowment for Democracy participated in work to declare the results of election campaigns illegitimate, organize political actions intended to influence decisions made by the authorities, and discredit service in Russia’s armed forces,” he said in a statement.
Tensions have been rising for several years.
Russia has increased its naval presence in the Baltic Sea. Poland has been stocking up on cruise missiles capable of attacking Russia. And today, U.S. senators have declared that Russian tampering in American elections is a nonpartisan issue.
We can be sure that Putin is saying the same thing about American tampering in the political process in countries on Russia's border.
Michael Moore makes a bold prediction
Earlier this year, U.S. filmmaker Michael Moore surprised many by declaring that Trump would win the U.S. presidential election. That's because Moore correctly anticipated that Trump would do better than expected in the U.S. Rust Belt extending from Michigan to Pennsylvania.
Moore recently made another astonishing prediction, telling Late Night host Seth Meyers that Trump might not become president.
"Would you not agree, regardless of which side of the political fence you’re on, this is been the craziest election year?” Moore said. “Nothing anyone predicted has happened—the opposite happened. So is it possible, just possible, that in these next six weeks, something else might happen—something crazy, something we’re not expecting?”
Could it be something as crazy as the CIA and the FBI each meddling in a U.S. presidential election rather than a campaign in another country?
Could it get even crazier?
Like a showdown arising between FBI officials, who prefer Trump's hardline approach to Islamic extremism, and the CIA, which prefers Clinton's realpolitik in dealing with Russia, China, and other foreign powers?
It's not that preposterous. As the CIA has reportedly claimed that the Republicans' email system was hacked, Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, has insisted that this didn't occur.
Priebus cited the FBI as his source. He also said that a report in the New York Times on the CIA's concerns was based on unnamed sources and it wasn't true.
Keep in mind that it was a senior FBI official, Mark Felt, who played a key role in bringing down Richard Nixon's presidency by leaking information to the Washington Post about the Watergate break-in.
Now, the U.S. foreign policy establishment is in a state of panic over Trump's apparent willingness to work more closely with Putin.
Where this will lead is anyone's guess. For any clues, it's wise to pay particular attention to the Washington Post and the New York Times.
That's because these two newspapers are invariably where the establishment's leaks are placed.