The 2020 Elections – Iran, Russia, and China

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The 2020 Elections

William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggests there will be a repeat of the 2016 elections when Russia’s goal was to hurt Hillary Clinton and manipulated social media to help elect President Donald Trump. However, in the 2020 election, there are two additional countries, China and Iran, which will also make an effort to interfere in the election. Evanina, the top intelligence official monitoring threats to the election, was appointed by Trump. 

Iran And The 2020 Elections

Evanina suggests that Iran will probably focus on on-line influence. This will involve spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-US content. Iran is driven by a perception that Trump’s reelection might lead to U.S. pressure on Iran to cause a regime change. Trump has pulled the U.S. out of a nuclear deal during his presidency. He has also imposed different sanctions on Tehran. Iran is hoping to cause chaos in the presidential election. 

Russia And The 2020 Elections

Russia is accumulating several ways to denigrate former Vice President Joe Biden. The country had consistently offered public criticism of him when he served under Barack Obama. This was evidently due to Obama’s policies on Ukraine and its support for the anti-Putin opposition inside Russia. Evanina said that Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russia Ukrainian politician, “spreading claims about corruption – including publicized leaked phone calls” to attack Biden’s campaign. The Washington Post has reported that Derkach has frequently met with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, who has pushed conspiracy theories about Biden. Evanina also advised that some Kremlin-linked people were spreading fabricated claims about corruption to undermine Biden. He said that others were trying to “boost President Trump’s candidacy via social media and Russian television.”

China And The 2020 Elections

Evanina said, “We assess that China prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – does not win reelection. China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, political pressure figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter-criticism of China.” Evanina suggests, “Beijing recognizes that all of these efforts might affect the presidential race.” Evanina emphasized China’s criticism of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the closure of China’s consulate in Houston. These facts, in addition to the White House’s responses to Chinese actions in Hong Kong and the South China Sea. The U.S. has also imposed sanctions on Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam, and ten other senior officials. More recently, Trump has ordered crackdowns on the Chinese owners of the apps known as TikTok and WeChat. 

As we approach the 2020 elections, we hope that we, the people, elect our next president as opposed to smear campaigns from countries who want to impose their power on the U.S.