The latest argument from Trump acolytes is, “So what if Russia interfered in our presidential election? The US has done the same thing in lots of other countries.”
Yes, that’s true, and there are many examples:
- In the early 1970s, Nixon’s administration helped Augusto Pinochet pull off a coup in Chile, tossing out the democratically-elected president, Salvador Allende, then sat back and did nothing while the new leader killed off his predecessor, as well as tens of thousands of Chilean citizens.
- In 1953 in Iran, the CIA and its British equivalent, MI-6, forced the popular government of Mohammed Mosadegh out of power, installing Shah Reza Pahlevi, whose brutal rule was ended by the Iranian revolution in 1979, with massive friction between our two nations that continues today.
- In Nicaragua, the US-backed Anastasio Somoza led a government that committed all sorts of horrible acts upon its people, including rape, torture, and massacres. When the people overthrew him in 1979 in the Sandanista Revolution, Reagan’s administration had the CIA train the “contras” to terrorize the country and destabilize the legitimate leadership, an act for which the International Court Of Justice found the US guilty. Naturally, the US reaction was to deny the power of the ICJ.
- For 25 years beginning in 1991, we supported Uzbekistan’s brutal leader, Islam Karimov, whose regime engaged in what the UN called rampant acts of torture.
- In Colombia in 1997, the US government backed Diego Murillo-Bejarano and other leaders of a vigilante group responsible for 75% of violent civilian deaths in Colombia over the next 10 years.
- In Haiti, the US twice forced Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his democratically-elected government out of power, allowing corrupt criminals to destabilize the nation.
- According to cables leaked to Wikileaks, the US was behind a 2009 coup in Honduras, leading to a government that represses and murders its people.
The list of instances where the US imposed its will on other countries, all with horrible results, goes on and on (read this for more examples).
Just because we’ve committed all those wrongs doesn’t make it right for the Russians to interfere in our elections. We should be able to declare that our nation was wrong to do it, and it’s just as wrong to have it done to us.
But let’s say you’re okay with using this justification as an argument. Would it also be okay if a Middle Eastern country (Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, etc.) flew over here and dropped thousands of bombs on us, perhaps targeting strategic sites but collaterally killing tens of thousands of innocent Americans? After all, we’ve done it to them. Does that justify 9/11 to you?
What about if any nuclear nation were to drop an atomic bomb on us? After all, we did it twice in Japan. Does having one dropped on us make things even?
Let’s never stand up and proclaim ourselves to be the home of morality and ethics when it comes to foreign policy. But let’s also never stand by when another nation victimizes us the way we’ve done so many others.