In the classic film “The Manchurian Candidate," director John Frankenheimer presents the story of a Chinese-indoctrinated American soldier directly involved in an American Presidential campaign. At the time the film raised legitimate fears of the Cold War. While this is almost certainly not the case with the reports in newspapers, including the Washington Post, in regard to Russian interference in the recent presidential campaign, many issues raised in the film are still legitimate and have international implications.
Trump and presidential victory
The election of Donald Trump to the White House was a surprise for many, and for others proof of the weaknesses and the strengths of Democracy.
Yet even during the campaign there were articles and reports of such interference, especially in relation to the leaks of emails from the DNC. This not only raises questions of the legitimacy of the election victory, but especially of the potential overseas interference in any election campaign anywhere in the world.
Since the end of the Great War and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s contribution to the post-war reconstruction, and then America’s even greater role in the victory over the Axis Powers and Japan under Roosevelt, the resident of the White House is considered the Leader of the Free World. Under this guise the U.S had an active and front line role in the Cold War and was the major force in a sometimes not so secret hot war against the Soviet Union and mainland China. The creation of NATO is only one example of its leadership over the seven decades since World War II.
As a result the United States has been seen, rightly or wrongly, as the model for modern democracies by other world leaders and the principle foe of those with totalitarian intentions.
The Presidential election is seen as the supreme example of citizens deciding the leadership of the world’s greatest country. These rumors of interference not only put into doubt the election result, but also, America’s place as a world leader.
What now for the U.S.?
Confirming or denying these rumors is a vital step that must be taken by both the Republican and the Democratic Parties in Congress and in the Senate, and it must be done bilaterally. They must ensure the validity of the presidential election and the legitimacy of Trump’s victory, and, in the case of definitive proof of such interference, take appropriate steps to ensure that such interference does not occur in the future. In this case they must also act on the result itself to ensure that those countries that see the United States of America as their leader have no reason to doubt the strength of the resident in the White House, and that the country itself meets the standards of behavior expected by the international community.
These will not be easy decisions for America’s politicians to take, and they must not be taken by the President-elect, but by the country’s political establishment to ensure that there will be no lasting shadow over whoever occupies the White House over the next four years.