Saturday, December 17, 2016

Our Coups Are Just Little Love Taps, Because Our Heart Is Pure

It looks like enough killjoys have been pointing out the US governments' fondness for interfering in other countries' elections, for overthrowing other countries' elected goverments and replacing them with brutal dictatorships, that some Democrats are starting to find it necessary to respond.  What I've seen so far has pretty much been along the lines of "Two wrongs don't make a right" and "People who've done wrong things have the right to complain when wrong things are done to them."  Sound enough principles, but these people are overlooking something important.

The US government generally, and Hillary Clinton in particular, does not consider it wrong to interfere in other countries' elections -- quite the contrary.  Therefore we aren't dealing with two wrongs here, if it turns out that Russia did intervene in the election; we're dealing with two rights, the prerogative of great powers.  The same applies to the second retort: can people complain when someone does to them the same thing they consider right when they do it to others?  What isn't acceptable is to change the rules when your own chickens come home to roost.

Many Democrats declared during the election campaign that anyone who failed to support Clinton with the requisite degree of devotion and adulation, let alone anyone who criticized her in any way, was aiding Trump and would be responsible for the terrible things that would happen if he became President.  They were not willing to accept responsibility for the terrible things that would happen if Clinton became President -- that would have nothing to do with them, they insisted (when they deigned to hear the argument at all), and besides Hillary wouldn't do anything terrrible, since she was a true progressive who would keep America great again!

I've never seen Democratic loyalists of this stripe really object to US interference in other countries' elections or government anyway (except, sometimes, when the President is a Republican), so I can't take seriously their sudden discovery that it's a bad thing. They were at most silent, and more often celebratory, when the US and its proxies overthrew elected governments.  So, like Clinton, they can't really claim that Russian interference in US elections would be a bad thing.  (I'm obviously leaving aside the question whether Russian intervention took  place, and if so whether it gave Trump the Electoral College victory; that too is open to doubt, but it's not my concern here.)  Barack Obama, to whom these considerations also apply, has occasionally admitted that in the remote past the US has been less than saintly in its dealings with smaller, weaker states, but he never let this admission interfere with continuing the tradition.  Of course this is just typical American exceptionalism: it's different when we do it, because we have good intentions.

(Why, yes -- I'm still procrastinating.)