Trump and Biden: Cold-War Dinosaurs

Photograph Source: Phillip Pessar – CC BY 2.0

The first time foreign policy was mentioned in the entire 2020 election campaign began with a question premised upon allegations that Russia, Iran, and China were interfering in US elections.

Thus far, the presidential and vice presidential debates have steered clear of foreign policy, despite the US’s age-long meddling representing a major problem globally and the source of growing opposition domestically.

The claim was sourced from a report that alleged that Iranian hackers had sent out threatening emails to Floridian voters to vote for Trump, posing as the Proud Boys.

The report, published in a Tweet by the Twitter account of the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday, October 21st, originated from an statement by National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe in an announcement that same evening that Iran had sent out the mysterious emails. The accusations were originally reported by the New York Times as coming from an Estonian server.

The House-Democrats that back the account have since removed the tweet while sticking by the messaging, not due a retraction of the statement, but to maintain its appearance of partisan differences with the Republican FBI director, who has “TOO OFTEN politicized the Intelligence Community to carry water for Trump.”

A screencap of the since-deleted tweet

If Americans have a modicum of memory, it is clear that baseless, warmongering accusations have time and time again been the precursor for winning consent over upcoming imperialist hostility. Accusing Iraq of harboring “weapons of mass destruction” in 2003, those that care to remember the administration of former President George W. Bush recalled the widespread condemnation from the left over how a lie cost over 1 million lives.

The architects of the Iraq war, who have become the leading faces of the Democratic Party in recent years especially, would go on to construct the greatest and most debilitating quagmires in Syria and Libya.

Democratic Candidate Joe Biden, during the debates reaffirmed, in the interests of “US sovereignty,” his ability and willingness towards undermining the sovereignty of other targeted nations, boasting about increasing US military presence off the South China Sea and calling DPRK President Kim Jong Un a “thug” (to Trump’s equally farcical claims of detente and peace with North Korea).

Whose Fault?

It is more than just a bit out of place for both US candidates to use the front of hawkish aggression against the CIA’s latest geopolitical targets as a serious policy point. Not only were the latest accusations baseless (and not to mention dangerous), but laughable when one understands which nation really is the instigator of attacks on democracy and national sovereignty.

China’s sovereignty, rather, is jeopardized by constant running of US military drills south of their border in the South China Sea, maintaining bases in Taiwan (The US Ching Chuan Kang Air Base) and other stationings recently offered up in allied Pacific Island nations such as Palau.

When China moved to pull up retaliatory defense forces in the seas it borders, the US slapped sanctions on a number of Chinese officials and 24 companies involved in constructing Chinese military bases along its adjacent sea.

Meanwhile, Trump, bragging about his showy meetings with North Korean president Kim Jong Un, is anything but “against war” on the matter. His continued engagement in inciting trade war with China, North Korea’s close ally, and the US-military’s blocking of a proposed rail line that ran through North and South Korea two years ago during talks of reunification in 2018 proves that his practice may not live up to his lip service of “good relations.”

Trump also has a habit of taking credit for other nations’ progressions, forgetting that the ease in tensions and relations between North and South Korea and absence of hostilities between North Korea and the US are the result of ongoing diplomatic reunification efforts, aimed to be actualized by 2045.

Accusing Iran

In 2012, Mitt Romney then the Republican candidate for the elections, stressed that the United States needed to get tougher on Russia during the presidential debates that year. He was laughed off by Democratic candidate Barack Obama, though his party would later launch accusations of Russian interference allegedly supporting Trump during the 2016 elections. At the time, Obama mockingly responded that the “80s called, and they want their policy back,” before his party capitulated towards the same line just years later.

Throughout 2019 and the earlier part of this year, Facebook and YouTube mass-removed what it called “Russian and Iranian accounts” accused of spreading misinformation and staging as fake personas. Any accusation of fake Iranian accounts is ironic, given that the most prolific example is the US-backed MEK (Mujahadin el-Khalq) organizations Twitter troll farm in Albania that has cranked out artificial personalities such as Heshmat Alavi that espouse anti-Iran, pro-Pompeo content.

By censoring these accounts, social media platforms are ultimately testing out the algorithmic-fuelled censorship of any account or platform that displays content critical of the policies of the United States, is pro-Palestine and/or anti-Saudi. In 2018, intelligence analytics firm FireEye claimed that both Russian and Iranian outlets had been hosting websites posing as both liberals and conservatives, critical of US foreign and domestic policies. Of these targeted groups and sites included Liberty Front Press and the American Herald Tribune, purged in 2018 not so much due to their alleged affiliations with Iranian-based web hosters, but because of their unapologetically anti-war, anti-imperialist content and as a step towards the censoring of alternative media.

The House Homeland Security Committee as Chairman, is led by Mississippi Democrat Benni G. Thompson. In 2018, Thompson and the rest of the House Homeland Security Committee chaired a meeting on “Understanding the Cybersecurity of America’s Aviation Sector,” where the Chief Intelligence Strategist for FireEye, Christopher Porter, a CIA veteran and also a senior fellow of the Gulf, NATO, and Western-defense industry-funded Atlantic Council, gave a statement. In FireEye’s address, “China, Russia, and more recently Iran” were accused of targeting “the United States or its close allies for theft of aviation secrets via computer network operations.” It is clear that the false flag accusation given by the CIA and Homeland Security has conveniently provided an adequate template as of late to be waged against alternative media.

If these baseless accusations are to be taken at face value, and even given the benefit of the doubt, the reality of election interference with regards to Russia, China, Iran, or any nation in the US’s crosshairs should put blame on no other than the United States itself.

The US during the cold-war meddled with at least 72 governments, including the violent coup that overthrew democratically elected President of Iran Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, installing a US-backed dictator in its place. The US meddled in the elections of Russia in 1996 to assist Boris Yeltsin, who crushed a popular Communist-led, Parliament-backed popular revolt against Yeltsin’s pro-capitalist, austerity-policy laden rule. Clinton reassured Yeltsin “of a one hundred percent win” and that there would be “only positive stories for you right before the election runoff” in the aftermath of the elections. And China, no stranger to invasion attempts by the West, battled US relentless interference from the 1949 revolution into 1969, dealing with increasing military build-up by the US’s Asian allies, placing embargoes on China, and urging China’s US-allied neighbors to refrain from negotiations with its neighbor.

The US struggled with its own supposed democratic process, having sabotaged the elections against former Democratic Party Candidate Bernie Sanders in 2016 and 2020. Accusations of election fraud have already taken place this year by Trump and his base, despite instances of voter-suppression tactics practiced and documented in a number of states. Ultimately, resurrecting cold-war fears of outsider interference in national elections is the latest tactic in concealing the nation’s establishment’s failure in letting its own supposed democratic process naturally offer up a selection better than the two latest incompetent neoliberal picks.

Julia Kassem is an organizer with USPCN Detroit.