A robust democracy is not vulnerable to subversion

Moscow and Beijing may prefer one U.S. presidential candidate over the other, but it is unlikely that either foreign power would be able to influence the outcome of the U.S. election process in a significant way.

A woman proudly displaying the American flag
Foreign actors’ ability to subvert America’s electoral process is negligible. © dpa

Ahead of the United States presidential elections, many believe that Moscow would like to see Donald Trump win, while Beijing would prefer the presumptive Democratic contender, Joe Biden. There may be some truth to this. The Kremlin could harbor concerns that a Democratic administration would support a regime change in Russia. And China, bent as it is on extending its political, economic and regulatory reach (mainly through its Belt and Road Initiative), might wish for a Biden-led administration in the expectation that it would be less effective in offsetting Chinese challenges in the foreign policy, economic, and security spheres. 

Flimsy evidence

Such perceptions give rise, again, to the specter of foreign meddling in the U.S. electoral process. However, there is little evidence to support this scenario. Russia and China are both pursuing consistent and cautious long-term foreign policy strategies. They are certainly aware that any outsider’s ability to influence American elections is limited.

Meanwhile, such homemade speculations harm the U.S. political system’s credibility and, therefore, the country’s ability to implement its national and international strategies. In this sense, the rumors are beneficial to Washington’s competitors, but let us repeat, only in a minimal way.

It is a fact of life that major powers desire to influence elections and government appointments in other countries. This has been a part of politics since time immemorial. Today’s near-hysteria over the presumed interference in the U.S. elections only distracts from the weaknesses of the campaigns run by the candidates. A robust democracy is not vulnerable. A sound election strategy, based on facts and credible policies, will not fall prey to foreign manipulators and the U.S. election withstanding foreign influence will prove this.

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