Hypocrisy, Not Just Another Word

Posted on January 8, 2017

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I am constantly astonished, even at my age, at the “holier than thou” attitudes of many Americans when it comes to something like the alleged Russian hacking and manipulation of the American elections.

We stand back in a saintly state of innocence and not only cast the first stone, but also most of the rest of the pile of rocks at these nasty Russian sinners.

Can you imagine that! Someone “interfering in our internal domestic politics” we disclaim from our high perch of Mt. Hypocrisy.

Our President sniffs sanctimoniously that “whatever they do to us, we can potentially do to them,” and “to cut it out.” Spoken like a true diplomat.

Hello there. Haven’t we been doing this in one form or another for at least the past one hundred years? Sticking our diplomatic finger into and firing our real guns all over the world into the face of people we don’t like or need to change?

How far back do we want to go in the history of U. S. interventions in other people’s business, even to and including the manipulation of elections or who comes to power?

Let’s mention the Russians themselves, struggling to forge their future after the First World War. The U. S., and allies, sent troops to Russia in 1919-1920 to ensure that the Bolsheviks would not stay in power. They did, and their heirs, including Mr. Vladimir Putin, still govern their country.

I’ll skip the dozens of interventions by the U. S. into the affairs of Latin America, including the “banana” republics of the Caribbean and Central America where a few Marines and a couple of warships “showing the flag” usually turned the trick back in the early twentieth century.

Suffice it to mention that among the surrogates the U. S. government used were U. S. corporations, such as the United Fruit (banana) Company. It intervened regularly, and usually with more success than either the Americans in 1919 in Russia, or the Russians in our elections in 2016. The nickname for the company in Central Americas was “Mamita Yunai,” the United Fruit Earth Mother who took care of us in the guise of benevolent imperialism.

And how well did the United States take care of the new communist kid on the block, Fidel Castro, when he came to power in Cuba in 1959?

The CIA had some spectacular successes in its portfolio, including “regime changes” both in Iran and Guatemala in 1953 and 1954. In both instances, U. S. interests were perceived as threatened by the governments of Iran and Guatemala and so we performed a regime change. In Iran’s case, the powers of the Shah were restored, while in Guatemala the president, thought to be too cozy with communists, was replaced with a general.

So, when Castro started nationalizing the Cuban economy, expropriating properties all over the island, many of them U. S.-owned, the CIA suggested to President Dwight Eisenhower that perhaps a “regime change” was in order. Ike agreed and a plan was concocted to take out Fidel with anti-Castro exiles.

But, alas, it didn’t go down as planned. The invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs lasted five days, April 15-19, 1961, and collapsed in defeat. President John F. Kennedy who barely beat Richard M. Nixon in the election of 1960, was unwilling to commit overt and decisive American assistance—largely air power—to the invasion and so it failed. Kennedy said he didn’t want too big an “American footprint” in this latest regime changing scheme.

That incident emboldened the Soviets and the Cubans to do a little pushing into the internal affairs of the U. S. themselves. In the summer and fall of 1962, they began placing nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba aimed at the U. S.

Kennedy they discovered, much to their surprise, really was no wimp. He drew a line in the sand, or, more correctly, a line in the ocean and told the Russians if they crossed that line with their ships loaded with more missiles, the Americans would ensure that it doesn’t happen again. The Russians stood down and the Missile Crisis of 1962 ended.

That the Russians today may be tinkering in cyber space is absolutely predictable. To claim this is a serious and unprecedented violation of our sovereignty is either the height of hypocrisy, or ignorance, or both.

We don’t need Russian hackers to point out the foibles, failures and near hysterical assertions of our politicians. We can do this ourselves, thank you.

Published as “Our Outrage over Hacking is the Height of Hypocrisy” Sunday Jan. 1, 2017 in The Tuscaloosa News.