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Washington is falling

The theme of foreign intervention in American elections just got bigger after Judy Woodruff recently tweeted that "James Clapper ... personally concluded Russians not only influenced but DECIDED outcome of 2016 election."   The statement comes from Clapper's forthcoming book, portions of which have been read aloud on TV.

Less than eighty thousand votes in three key states swung the election ... buying advertisements on Facebook promoting Clinton's support of the Black Lives Matter movement and ensuring those ads ran only on the pages of white conservative voters in swing states... they created lies that helped Trump and hurt Clinton and promoted these falsehoods through social media and state-sponsored channels to the point that the traditional US media were unwittingly spreading Russian propaganda... they ran a multifaceted campaign and sustained it at a high level from early 2015 until Election Day 2016... Surprising even themselves, they swung the election to a Trump win.

Whether or not the reader believes this the fact is that outside interference is now a hot topic in Washington.  Foreign threats to to the political system are not confined to the US. Australia was recently rocked by allegations that a Chinese-Australian billionaire operating under the control "of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front program" had bribed a senior United Nations official.  The same man had also given $US 4 million to Australian political parties and $US 45 million to Australian universities.  Hillary Clinton then "in Auckland as part of a speaking tour ... warned about China’s foreign-interference campaigns and urged [Australia and New Zealand] to take the issue 'seriously.'"

The scale of China's efforts in a small country like Australia contrast starkly with penny ante amounts Mueller's plots so far appear to involve.  The disparity raises the question of why?  Are we missing the rest of the story?

China's United Front Department was described by a New York Times article as a potentially far more powerful and dangerous than Russian intelligence. Beijing for one has much more money than Moscow. "There is a conspiracy afoot, and it isn’t theoretical. The Confucius Institutes and Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.) cells being established on campuses outside China are but a few dots in this picture — when the whole lot are properly connected they outline a vast, smooth-running machine that taps Chinese people throughout the world to spread its influence and harvest intelligence in the service of the Chinese state."

The United Front Work Department is a nimble and tightly led party organ, headed by the chief of the secretariat of the C.C.P.’s central committee. It oversees a dozen organizations that do political networking, through both persuasion and infiltration. One of those is the European and American Alumni Association, which keeps close tabs over the ever-larger number of Chinese students and academics training or residing in the West, and enjoins them to conduct “people diplomacy” — in effect turning all those scholars into foot soldiers for the United Front.