Google analytics

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The unpatriotic right keeps cooperating with foreign powers

by John MacBeath Watkins

Donald Trump tried to make himself seem patriotic by literally groping an American flag. But his victory owed something to the Russian hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

And having dealt with some Trump trolls on the internet, I can tell you, there are many on the right who have no problem with this Russian intervention in an American election. As long as it helped their guy beat Hillary Clinton, they are fine with a foreign power trying to tip an American election.

This isn't the first indication we've had that many Republican care more about gaining power than about their country. There was Richard Nixon's campaign, which contacted the South Vietnamese government to tell them that Nixon could get them better terms than Johnson if they would scuttle the peace talks, at a time when Nixon was claiming he had a "secret plan" to end the Vietnam war.

From Politico:

Did Richard Nixon’s campaign conspire to scuttle the Vietnam War peace talks on the eve of the 1968 election to capture him the presidency? 
Absolutely, says Tom Charles Huston, the author of a comprehensive, still-secret report he prepared as a White House aide to Nixon. In one of 10 oral histories conducted by the National Archives and opened last week, Huston says “there is no question” that Nixon campaign aides sent a message to the South Vietnamese government, promising better terms if it obstructed the talks, and helped Nixon get elected.
Delaying the peace treaty until the end of the war was close enough to benefit Nixon in his re-election campaign turned out to be the secret plan, but the lives lost as the war ground on were incidental to the larger cause of getting and keeping Nixon in office.

Gary Sick, a Middle East specialist, wrote a 1991 book called October Surprise that claimed Ronald Reagan's campaign contacted Iran to delay the release of the hostages taken when the American Embassy was attacked in 1979. I would discount that, except that the Reagan Administration later illegally sold arms to Iran (in the Iran-Contra scandal) in part, apparently, to get the release of seven hostages held by Iranian allies in Lebanon.

And, of course, we have the example of the last eight years, when Republicans did all they could to ensure President Barack Obama would fail, hindering efforts to help the country recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. Republicans who helped pass a stimulus bill for President George W. Bush in 2008 balked at approving a stimulus bill in 2009, when the country was in much worse shape, because it would be a success for President Obama. Suddenly, they felt that the appropriate response to a recession was austerity.

They even shut down the government in 2013 in an effort to defund the Affordable Care act, also known as Obamacare. After Republicans won majorities in both the house and senate in the 2010 election, Mitch McConnell, who would soon be the Senate Majority Leader, said "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

More important than the good of the country was Republican dominance of the national government.

And now, it's not just harm to American citizens they will countenance. It is the assistance of a foreign power.

Republics can be vulnerable to foreign intervention in their politics. One reason the Polish-Lithuanian Empire fell was that its legislative body, the Sjem, could be subverted by foreign powers. One feature of the Sjem was the liberum veto, which said that any one legislator could nullify legislation that had just passed and end the session by showing "I do not allow!"

Foreign powers soon discovered that they could bribe legislators to use their liberum veto to nullify anything the foreign power did not like. Rather than eliminate the liberum veto, Poland kept it and was overrun by its enemies.

With modern republics, the opportunity comes more in the electoral process. From the Daily Beast:
For nearly a decade, Russia has established ties with far-right parties in Eastern Europe, including Hungary’s Jobbik, Bulgaria’s anti-EU Attack movement, and Slovakia’s far-right People’s party. 
The Eastern European far-right parties have returned the love, whether by supporting the 2008 Russian war against Georgia or by vocalizing support for Putin, as the Bulgarian Attack party has. In 2012, Attack’s leader, Volen Siderov, even popped over to Moscow to ring in Putin’s 60th birthday. Siderov also threatened to withdraw his party’s support from the coalition government if it supported further sanctions against Russia, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. 
However, in recent years Russian influence has been moving west. In a 2014 report, the Budapest-based research institute Political Capital argued that Russia’s meddling in political affairs of the European far right has become a “phenomenon seen all over Europe.”
And now, we're seeing it here. The American right used to see Russia as the enemy, but since it made its transition from communism to fascism, the far right seems willing to embrace the Russian bear. They seem to care less about being American than about what Vladimir Putin represents -- a white strongman running his nation without regard to what minorities want.









No comments:

Post a Comment