By Manuel E. Yepe

Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.

Jack F. Matlock Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, called on his country’s citizens to end the Russian-phobic madness that dominates Congress and many of the media in North America in a recent article in several U.S. media outlets.

He cites as a blatant example of this, the New York Times’ leading editorial of February 17 entitled “Stop letting the Russians get away with it, Mr. Trump”, in which the newspaper’s editors repudiate Russia for interfering in the US elections and call for greater sanctions against it in order to protect American democracy’.

“It had never occurred to me that our political system, no doubt dysfunctional, was so weak, underdeveloped and sick that with inept actions on the Internet it could be damaged,” says Matlock. But the New York Times isn’t the only one accused. Most other U.S. print and electronic media have followed suit. “Increasingly, both in Congress and in the media, Russian interference in the 2016 elections has been accepted as a fact.

Among the Russian actions that have upset the American establishment and are now presented as events that have contributed from Russia to Trump’s rise is the creation by the Russian government of a
sophisticated television service (Russia Today or RT) that provides entertainment, information and propaganda to foreign audiences, including that of the United States. The magnitude of its viewers may be several times smaller than that of the big U.S. media, but it has undoubtedly weakened the monopoly on news that the Western media have had and has had a huge reception everywhere, not excluding the United States.

Russian leaders, like most other countries in the world, thought Clinton would be elected, but some senior Russian officials expressed a preference for Trump’s candidacy after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Hitler to President Putin and urged more active U.S. military intervention abroad, contrasting with Donald Trump, who then spoke out in favor of cooperation with Russia rather than treating it as an enemy, Matlock says.

No one seems to have made even a superficial study of the effect of Russian actions on the vote. There is no evidence that Russian activities have had a tangible impact on the election result, says Matlock.

But the most important fact, obscured by anti-Russian hysteria, is that it was the Americans who elected Trump under the terms set out in the Constitution; the Americans created the Electoral College, which allows a candidate with fewer popular votes to become president, and it is they who manipulate constituencies in favor of a particular political party when it suits the system.

The Supreme Court issued the infamous decision allowing for corporate funding of candidates for political office. The Americans created a Senate that is anything but democratic because it gives
disproportionate representation to states with relatively small populations. It was US senators who established undemocratic procedures that allow minorities to block legislation or confirm appointments.

For Matlock, just because the Americans themselves chose their electoral system does not mean that Trump’s choice is good for the country. In his opinion, the 2016 presidential and legislative elections represented an imminent danger to the nation. They have created potential disasters that will severely test the checks and balances built into the Constitution. This is especially true today when both houses of Congress are controlled by the Republican Party, which in turn represents fewer voters than the opposition party.

Matlock claims he did not vote for Trump, but he believes that the allegation that Russian actions interfered with the elections, or damaged the quality of democracy in the country, is ridiculous, pathetic and shameful. “And I should add dangerous because making an enemy of Russia, the other nuclear superpower, is closer to political madness than anything else I can think of.

The former U.S. ambassador concludes his article by calling on his countrymen to desist from the current Russo-phobic madness and to encourage Presidents Trump and Putin to re-establish cooperation on nuclear security, non-proliferation, nuclear material control and nuclear arms reduction, issues that are of vital interest to both the United States and Russia.

June 25, 2018.