one more time: any nation with the means, seeing an opportunity for advantage & having an interest, will meddle in the politics of any other nation
nations compete. nations compete even “among friends”. they seek advantage even “among equals”. politicians run governments, and they are all type-A power players with a need to demonstrate domination. this is a simple reality of life on Earth, and not dependent on the form of government, type of culture, etc. democracies play these power games just as do dictatorships.
in seeking that advantage, they use any number of techniques to influence other nations. an obvious example is lobbying & community relations activities conducted by embassies and consulates. probably equally obvious is economic influence activities. information based operations can include opinion pieces in local media (either acknowledged or unacknowledged to be the work of the home nation), public affairs products, and outright propaganda (my grad school info ops prof always made the point that the key to propaganda is telling the truth – just the parts of it that tell your story). social media as a channel to use these techniques was underused and underappreciated until 2016, but nothing was really new there.
by the bye, please note that everything I’ve just said includes the USA!!
there are 2 important takeways from this discussion:
- no one “hacked” the 2016 election, except in the generic sense of the term that the Russians found a clever way to provide a force multiplier to the tactics above. so stop saying that, and stop wasting time, money, & effort on “securing our elections”.
- giving more power and authority to the government will neither stop it, nor necessarily offset its effects, & may well expose our citizens to abuses!! using the irrational fears of item 1, there are those in government who are trying to get a blank check to violate our privacy and our civil rights & liberties. don’t let them do it!!