Spinning Hillary: a history of America and Russia’s mutual meddling

A mural in Vilnius depicting Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Petras Malukas/AFP/Getty Images

A mural in Vilnius depicting Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Petras Malukas/AFP/Getty Images

A Guardian article writes – Donald Trump once again shocked Americans when he appeared to call on Russia to hack and release Hillary Clinton’s emails from the personal server she used while she was secretary of state.

His comments came as allegations swirled that Russian authorities had hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails in an attempt to sabotage Clinton.

This isn’t even the first time the US and Russia have interfered in each other’s presidential campaigns. In a little-known quirk of post-cold war history, the 1996 re-election campaign of Putin’s mentor, Boris Yeltsin, was secretly managed by three American political consultants who on more than one occasion allegedly received direct assistance from Bill Clinton’s White House.

There’s even a movie about it.

The 2003 comedy film Spinning Boris dramatises the true story of three American consultants who were hired to manage Yeltsin’s 1996 re-election campaign. The film stars Liev Schreiber as Joe Shumate, a Republican data analysis expert, Jeff Goldblum as George Gorton (who later became the campaign manager for Arnold Schwarzenegger), and Anthony LaPaglia as Richard “Dick” Dresner, a highly skilled political consultant who in the early 1980s helped elect Bill Clinton governor of Arkansas.

Indeed, Spinning Boris, while ostensibly a film about the Russian presidential election, is actually about how in a globalised world, unshielded by Iron curtains, it should come as no surprise that Russia and the United States have a vested interest in one another’s political elections and, to quote a Russian expression, dirty politics “has no nationality”.

For this reason, the continued outrage over Donald Trump’s ties to Russia rings hollow to anyone willing to recognise some fundamental truths about the way foreign policy really works. Outside intervention in domestic politics is as old as politics itself. Maybe Putin does want Trump to be President, maybe he doesn’t. The only real question is – who’s going to play them in the movie?

Read the complete article on The Guardian web site here.

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