The Washington watchwords of the day seem to be “outside electoral interference”, in particular, referring to the alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election which saw the “insiders’ candidate of choice” go down in flames. Given the history of the United States since the Second World War, one would think that they would be familiar with the concept of “outside electoral interference”, particularly given the conclusions of a study by Dov Levin at Carnegie Mellon University.
Dr. Levin’s Ph.D dissertation looked at the causes and effects of outside partisan electoral interventions by the world’s superpowers, the United States and the U.S.S.R./Russia, over the post-Second World War period between 1946 and 2000. In his recent article in Conflict Management and Peace Science, he establishes a dataset called the Partisan Electoral Intervention by the Great Powers or PEIG which “provides data on all such interventions”. Rather than focussing on the more violent political interventions like those in Iran in 1953, Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Chile in 1973, he looks at less obvious versions of non-violent partisan electoral intervention. As well, he notes some patterns in the data which strongly contrast the publicly accepted versions of history as written by the two superpowers.
Let’s look at the definition of a partisan political invention:
The acts must meet two criteria:
1.) the act must be done intentionally to help or hurt one of the sides contesting the election.
2.) the act must clearly carry significant costs that were immediate (i.e. the cost of subsidizing the preferred candidate’s election) and/or long-term (i.e. the loss of prestige if the intervention fails or long-term damage to relations once the act is completed or exposed).
Here is a table showing the main activities that were coded by the author as an intervention and those that were excluded:
Partisan electoral interventions can have a very significant impact on the outcome of elections, quite often determining the winner. Not only can the interference impact the outcome of the election, they can impact the views of the local public on the intervening nation and ultimately impact the nation’s domestic and foreign policies.
Here is a graphic showing the number of electoral interventions by decade for each of the two superpowers:
Here is a graphic showing the number of electoral interventions by region for the USSR/Russia between 1946 and 2000:
Here is a graphic showing the number of electoral interventions by region for the United States between 1946 and 2000:
Here is a listing of the top five targets of electoral interventions for the Soviet Union/Russia and the number of interventions:
West Germany: 5 interventions
Finland: 4 interventions
Italy: 4 interventions
France: 2 interventions
India: 2 interventions
Here is a listing of the top five targets of electoral interventions for the United States and the number of intervention attempts:
Italy: 8 interventions
Japan: 5 interventions
Israel: 4 interventions
Laos: 4 interventions
Sri Lanka: 4 interventions
While the study doesn’t show political interference in either superpower nation by the other superpower, it clearly shows that neither the United States nor the Soviet Union/Russia have the rights to brag about non-interference in the political affairs of other nations. In this case, the pot and the kettle are both black.
Click HERE to read more.