Spooked by election meddling
Regarding the June 25 front-page article “Obama’s secret struggle to retaliate against Putin’s election assault”:
I was disappointed to learn that the U.S. government’s planned response to Russian interference in the 2016 election amounted to Old Testament-style vengeance in the form of escalating cyberwarfare.
I expect the U.S. government to prevent interference in our elections. Such efforts can succeed only if all countries, including our own, respect the electoral process. But, according to an NPR interview with Carnegie Mellon University researcher Dov Levin, the United States has the worst record of electoral interference, with 80 interventions between 1946 and 2000, two-thirds of which were covert operations unknown to the people of the United States. Mr. Levin’s data does not include the most heinous forms of interference: coups and attempts at regime change, e.g., Iran in 1953 and Chile in 1970.
If voters in the United States are to be protected from future election interference, we must abide by the Golden Rule. If we want other countries to stay out of our elections, we must stay out of theirs. Otherwise, a dark future of escalating cyberwarfare will undermine democracy at home and abroad.
Keshini Ladduwahetty, Washington
In the excellent June 26 front-page article “In Europe, fake news from Russia is old news” was a sobering quote from a senior Estonian Ministry of Defense official, who observed that most of Russia’s “malicious activities are aimed at eroding trust within our societies between different groups, political movements, the elites and the people.”
That is eerily similar to the current patterns of declining trust seen among the U.S. public in recent years. While the factors leading to the United States’ trust deficit are undoubtedly complex and varied, congressional probes into Russian meddling of the 2016 presidential election would do well to take a far wider lens in assessing the Kremlin’s efforts to undermine Americans’ faith in their democracy. We may find that these efforts (and their impacts) stretch much further back than we realize.
Joe Siegle, Silver Spring