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Why Foreign Influence Is on the Rise
Former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
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Why Foreign Influence Is on the Rise

Walter Russell Mead

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence,” George Washington warned in his Farewell Address, “the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.” Those words have rarely seemed more relevant than now, when both the president and the front-runner for the nomination to challenge him are embroiled in a scandal that began with attempts by Ukrainian figures to manipulate Washington politics and policy.

The Ukrainian firestorm is only the start. America and the world are changing in ways that will make the question of foreign influence in U.S. political life more fateful, and more difficult to police, than ever.

This isn’t about Facebook ads and voting machines. It is not even about more blatant forms of foreign meddling, like the alleged Russian leaks of damaging information stolen from the Democratic National Committee. Serious as these problems are, America’s greatest risk isn’t the vulnerability of its voting machines to foreign hackers or the susceptibility of party apparatchiks to phishing scams. It is the erosion of ethical standards in the American political and business establishments that most exposes the U.S. to the kind of foreign interference against which Washington warned.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here

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