[…] To be sure, there’s a much larger context behind today’s bluster. As my colleague Andrew Rothnotes, whatever their government’s alleged actions in 2016, Russia’s leaders enjoy casting aspersions on the American democratic process. And, in recent years, they have also bristled at perceived American meddling in the politics of countries on Russia’s borders, most notably in Ukraine.
While the days of its worst behavior are long behind it, the United States does have a long history of interfering and sometimes interrupting the workings of democracies elsewhere. It has occupied and intervened militarily in a whole swath of countries in the Caribbean and Latin America and fomented coups against democratically-elected populists.
The most infamous episodes include the ousting of Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 — whose government was replaced by an authoritarian monarchy favorable to Washington — the removal and assassination of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba in 1961, and the violent toppling of Chile’s socialist President Salvador Allende, whose government was swept aside in 1973 by a military coup led by the ruthless Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
For decades, these actions were considered imperatives of the Cold War, part of a global struggle against the Soviet Union and its supposed leftist proxies. Its key participants included scheming diplomats like John Foster Dulles and Henry Kissinger, who advocated aggressive, covert policies to staunch the supposedly expanding threat of communism. Sometimes that agenda also explicitly converged with the interests of American business.