A recent interview on Fox News with Laura Ingraham and former CIA director James Woolsey (1993 to 1995) provides us with an interesting glimpse into the mindset that seems to be pervasive in Washington today.
Let’s look at some of the back and forth of the interview:
Ingraham: It may not have changed the outcome of the election but the Russians were able to pull off a wide-ranging, aggressive and brazen attempt to interfere in the campaign. So, can our intelligence agencies stop them from doing this again….This indictment today was wild (the Mueller iIndictment). I mean they were organizing all sorts of things. They were working for that Jill Stein, trying to help her. They were anti-Trump and pro-Trump on one day after the election. What’s that all about?
Now, let’s look at how Ms. Ingraham drags the other potential superpower into the mix since having just a single target like Russia isn’t enough:
Ingraham: How about the Chinese, Jim? What do they do to try to disrupt things? They are disrupting a lot of things around the world for us, I know that.
Woolsey: So far, not the same way the Russians do. But the Russians photoshopped photographs of the Pope to make him look like he’s saluting to a German Nazi officer…they just…
Ingraham: You don’t think the Chinese are involved in this type of activity? I mean they have an economy that dwarfs Russia’s, their standing army of 2.3 million people, they are militarizing space, stealing our technology. I mean I think it’s important that we stop this Russian stuff but every time someone says “Russia, Russia, Russia” I say “China, China, China”.
Woolsey: Well, you should. That’s right. They are strategically a lot smarter. The Russians basically are like the old fellow lived next the Lincolns and their farm when he was a little boy, Lincoln said the old boy use to say ” I don’t need much land, just what adjoins mine”. That’s Russia. I mean I got some Georgia, let’s take some Ukraine and that’s pretty much (unintelligible)…
Ingraham: They have an economy that’s smaller than the size of France. Come on, compared to China, like China’s eating our lunch on so many fronts.
Woolsey: (unintelligible)…it gives us some leverage if we can work to get the price of oil down in the 30s well, 40s even, we will create a very, very unhappy Putin.
Ingraham: But we don’t want to push Russia to China though, that’s the last thing you want is a Russo – Sino alliance.
Woolsey: We just want to weaken them because we can deal with them a lot better if they are weak. I mean I was negotiating the conventional forces treaty in Europe in ’89 when the Berlin wall went down and you’ve never seen such nice Russians. Let me tell you, all you’ve got to do is destroy their strategy and they are sweethearts.
Let’s move ahead to the 3 minute 45 second mark:
When asked by Ingraham how we can prevent Russian interference in future elections, here’s what Woolsey had to say:
“I think what we really want is to get them to start pulling in their horns and coming back out of Georgia, back out of Ukraine. We need to turn them around because they are taking over even with their military and other inadequacies. They are taking over a lot more of Eurasia than they should and it gives them heart as they take more and more under their wing.”
Ingraham: Have we ever tried to meddle in other country’s elections?
Woolsey: Oh, probably. But, it was for the good of the system in order to avoid the Communists from taking over. For example, in Europe, in ’47, ’48, ’49 the Greeks and the Italians we (unintelligible)….
Ingraham: We don’t do that now though, we don’t mess around in other people’s elections Jim?
Woolsey: Well, num, num, num, num….only for a very good cause. Only for a very good cause in the interest of democracy.
That’s democracy, Washington-style. Exactly what every nation in the world should have and should want.
And it all ends with both interviewer and interviewee laughing.
In closing, let’s look at some data on electoral interference by the two global superpowers from Dove Levin’s excellent paper entitled “Partisan electoral interventions by the great powers“. Overall, between January 1, 1946 and December 31, 2000, there were 117 partisan electoral interventions made by the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia with 81 or 69 percent being conducted by the United States and 36 or 31 percent being conducted by the Soviet Union/Russia. This means that, between 1946 and 2000, the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia politically interfered in one of every nine global national-level elections.
Num, num, num indeed.
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