[quote=“Hobbes”]An Honest Question
Has there been any allegation of UK government involvement in this Ohio campaign? Does this foreign government vs. foreign private actor dichotomy make a difference to how any of you would view this issue?
I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it, but my initial reaction is that there should be a lot less “angst” associated with a private foreign newspaper doing this kind of thing than there would be if the actor were a foreign government. Just a thought.
Incidentally, if I have missed something and indeed we are talking about foreign government action here – then I agree with Mother Theresa and hexuan that there would be a certain level of irony/hypocrisy in objecting to a foreign government trying to influence an election if it’s true that the US government does the same thing.
It’s worth noting, however, that pointing out the hypocrisy of those who criticise Action X is not exactly a defense of Action X is it? For example, the fact many of the foreign governments who criticised the US over the Abu Ghraib affair are themselves guilty prison abuse does not excuse the actions of the US troops does it?[/quote]
Interesting points Hobbes.
First, I want to repeat that I never criticized the US at all in this thread, so I don’t know why I was so violently attacked. I simply noted that some in this thread and many in the letters from Ohio argued that people from the UK have no right to try to influence a US election, so I pointed out that the US govt has done that extensively for years. You’re right, Hobbes, that doesn’t mean that the Guardian’s actions are any more (or less) legitimate, but it does support the argument that those posters and letter writers are hypocrites (if they would support the US actions).
But I never voiced an opinion whether it’s wrong for private entities to try to influence foreign elections. But now that I’ve been attacked for condemning the practice I’ll admit that I see nothing wrong with it. I see nothing wrong with foreigners criticizing many of the bufoons and criminals in Taiwan politics. So why shouldn’t Brits have a right to criticize the Shrub?
Moreover, the US presidential election is hardly a local election. The US president has a huge impact on countless issues that affect people all over the world, so why the heck shouldn’t these people who will be influenced by the outcome of the election have a right to try to get a good president elected?
I agree with you that there should be less “angst” over a foreign corporation, such as the Guardian, or other private entity engaging in such a campaign as opposed to a government. As for a goverment’s right to try to influence foreign elections, for me I guess it depends on the facts of the particular situation, although I object to the use of assasination, defamation, economic sabotage, and other CIA-style dirty tactics to sway an election.