Biden should admit past U.S. interference in foreign elections | Commentary by Mikael Wolfe and Yovanna Pineda

Immediately after his summit meeting with Vladimir Putin on June 15, President Biden righteously asked global audiences: “How would it be if the United States were viewed by the rest of the world as interfering with the elections directly of other countries and everybody knew it? What would it be like if we engaged in activities that he engaged in? It diminishes the standing of a country.”

By making this statement, Biden assumed that world leaders negatively perceived Russia as interfering with other countries’ elections, including that of the United States. More importantly, he presumed that the United States has never engaged in such activities.

A brief review of the historical record of U.S. foreign relations, especially with Latin America, however, suggests that he is conveniently forgetting global history. During the Cold War and post Cold War era (1946 to 2000), as Carnegie Mellon researcher Dov Levin told NPR, the United States interfered in at least 80 countries’ elections.

Sure, Biden was not president when his predecessors intervened in other nations’ elections. However, Biden began his career in 1973 mentored by the late Sen. Frank Church, who chaired the U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (1975-1976) and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1979-1981). Among domestic and foreign U.S. operations, Church is known for the Church Committee that investigated covert operations in Chile from 1963 to 1973.

On Sept. 11, 1973, the Chilean military overthrew the democratically elected government of socialist president Salvador Allende in a U.S.-backed coup. The Church Committee’s report on Chile uncovered how the Nixon administration “financed activities covering a broad spectrum, from simple propaganda manipulation of the press to large-scale support for Chilean political parties, from public opinion polls to direct attempts to foment a military coup.”