New technology, but not a new tactic.
One of the things that struck me as funny was the number of protesters around the world who have English protest signs.
Why print protest signs in countries where English is not commonly spoken? Because those signs are for our consumption–and to influence U.S. policy.
Like it or not, U.S. policy directly or indirectly affects the entire world. And so influencing U.S. policy is seen–by foreign governments and protesters alike–as a legitimate target. Which means trying to influence U.S. voters.
What I am saying is that foreign countries attempting to influence U.S. policy has been going on for as long as the United States has been a government. After all, it was the intercession of King Louis XVI of France who helped the founding of the United States. George Washington warned against foreign influence, preferring to keep the United States neutral in the war between the British and the French that was part of the French revolutionary wars.
The Murchison Letter shows the degree of influence the British had on American elections in 1888; the publishing of this letter caused Irish-American voters to run from the British-preferred Democratic candidate and into the fold of the Republicans–and ending Grover Cleaveland’s first presidential term. (He would run again for President and win four years later.)
The British again imposed their influence in the 1940 election–going so far as to create a map supposedly showing German plans to divide up North and South America after conquering it.
And let’s not forget the Russians, who have been trying to influence U.S. policy for decades. Take, for example, the supposed quid-pro-quo between Ted Kennedy and Boris Yeltsin. There are reports that the KGB helped to foster the peace movement in order to undermine what they perceived as U.S. imperialism, and in darker corners of the conspiratorially minded web we find stories of the KGB undermining Martin Luther King Jr. (as they were nervous King’s march for equal rights and freedom would strengthen the notions of the American dream), as well as promoting conspiracy theories on JFK’s assassination.
All to sow discord within the United States, and to help reduce U.S. influence around the world.
Like it or not, what we do in the United States influences the world.
So of course various countries have been–for centuries–trying to influence what we do in the United States.
Hell’s bells, every time a foreign diplomat “voices alarm” over what the United States does, every time foreign leaders express fear about U.S. leaders or engages in name calling of our President—and this is not a new phenomenon with President Trump–they are attempting to influence U.S. policy.