Chickens returning?
Posted on September 16th, 2018

The Editorial Monday 17th September, 2018 Courtesy The Island

US President Donald Trump has apparently got signing executive orders down to a fine art. Some of the orders he issued immediately after his induction blew up in his face. He incurred much opprobrium for his attempt to prevent Muslims from entering the US.

Trump’s latest executive order calls for sanctions against any foreign person or country which seeks to interfere in American elections. It instructs the US intelligence agencies to assess potential foreign interference on a regular basis. The US has been known for taking very tough action against anyone or any country responsible for meddling with its affairs, and, therefore, Trump has wasted ink and paper by issuing the order at issue. Maybe he has sought to repair his image, which was badly damaged by the damning allegation that Russia manipulated the last American presidential election, tilting the balance in his favour. His political enemies have failed to prove that the Russians did so with his knowledge, but the problem is that perception matters as much as reality in politics.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has tweeted that the US will not tolerate foreign interference in its democratic processes. “Elections are the foundation of our democracy and preserving their integrity is a matter of protecting sovereignty and national security,” he said. One could not agree with him more. Nobody must be allowed to do so and the US has a right to resort to stern action to safeguard its interests.

Similarly, the US, as a world power, is duty-bound to ensure that the right of each and every country in the world to remain free from foreign interference is respected. Undermining national sovereignty, on some pretext or the other, is fraught with the danger of anarchy being ‘loosed upon the world’.

Sadly, the US and its allies stand accused of interference in other nations’ democratic processes including elections, and other domestic affairs. No respecters of the national security and sovereignty of the states which are not considered loyal to them, they have even plunged some countries into anarchy through regime change operations. President Trump has drawn heavy flak for saying that Libya and Iraq would have been less fractured and the world better off if Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi had been alive. But, his argument is not without some merit in that those two countries have become fertile breeding grounds for terrorists today.

The West, which has a history of tolerating and even protecting bloodthirsty megalomaniacs loyal to them, could have tackled Hussein and Gaddafi without causing so much of bloodshed and letting the genie out of the bottle in the process. Those who are shedding copious tears for the people in backward democracies have been instrumental in ousting democratically elected leaders in some developing countries and installing pro-Western dictators like Pinochet.

China is alleged to have interfered in the last presidential election in this country by funding the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaign. China has denied the allegation. Why China has been singled out for criticism is the question. Most foreign missions make campaign donations to local politicians as is public knowledge, and the heads of some of them even overstep their diplomatic limits during elections and are seen to be favouring candidates and political parties of their choice. How they acted in the run-up to 2015 presidential election is a case in point. They were actively involved in campaigning in some parts of the country, especially the North and the East.

Now that the US is smarting from foreign interference in its elections and the powerful nations are troubled by the disastrous consequences of their regime change operations, they ought to realise that the chickens come home to roost. Their military might alone cannot help protect their interests. Let them be urged to ‘do unto others as they would have others do unto them’.

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