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A Letter Written as Secretary of State on Russian Election Interference

Dear Mr. President,

The matter with which I write to you now, is of utmost importance. I beseech you to read the contents carefully, and take my advice as dolefully and solemnly as it is conveyed to you in this letter. For I believe that urgent action must be taken to prevent any future meddling in our Democratic process.

As you know, it has been confirmed by a recently declassified Intelligence Community Assessment that Russian President, Vladimir Putin, orchestrated a campaign of influence during the 2016 election with the intention of eroding faith in the Democratic processes of the United States, disparaging Secretary Clinton, and damaging her electability and possible future presidency. The report quite clearly states “Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.” Their motivations include a belief that through a Trump presidency, Russia would be able to achieve their goal of an international counterterrorism coalition specifically against ISIS and ISIL, in addition to the believed precedent that previous Western leaders with business interests were correlated with better experiences with Russia.

Russia’s strategy for influencing the election to complete their goals was a multi-faceted approach. One aspect was a covert, international operation, which involved cyber activities. Another was the overt efforts, which included state funded media and the hiring of trolls to spread information on social media. This carefully crafted strategy was designed so Russia could unequivocally deny any accusations brought forth.

This influence campaign was conducted by disclosing data to the American public revealed by Russian cyber operations, interference into US State and local electoral boards, and propaganda. There was also a GRU (Russian intelligence agency) operation to leak the personal email accounts of Democratic Party official and other political figures.

This influence campaign should and cannot become normalized in future elections. We cannot stand for this disrespect from another state actor.

As your Secretary of State, I propose two main approaches in terms of foreign policy actions. First, we must raise the issue on a global stage. We have learned that Russia has interfered not only in America, but Britain and France, and many others. We cannot have an authoritarian government seeking influence in our elections. It has been clear throughout history that the US and Russia have different ideals, and economic goals. We learned this most succinctly during the Cold War. The Russian government does not do what’s best for its people, how can we expect its judgement, and consequently its influence, to be any good for the American people, no matter who Russia supports. We must utilize our alliances especially with NATO. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization resolved that an attack on one nation is an attack on all member states, but the interference in an election is akin to an act of war. Do not misread this statement as a suggestion for NATO to declare war on Russia, but an equal level of counter response should be met. In some ways, election interference, is far more disruptive than a war. In the United States, the president is able to make changes that last for decades, a war doesn’t usually last nearly that long.

Normally, sir, I would impose sanctions in retaliation, but it seems to be than sanction have not been useful in regards to Russia. In February of 2014, NATO, and the EU imposed sanctions on Russia following the annexation of Crimea. The Russian forces were weakened, and in 2016 Russia reported to have lost over 200 billion dollars, and still the Minsk II agreements, what Russia needs to fulfill to lift the sanctions, have not been met whatsoever. Another example of the Russian government caring so very little for its people.

I believe the situation calls for fighting fire with fire. Russia freely uses propaganda to influence our elections, so I believe it is imperative that we do the same: a clear strike for strike, an eye for an eye. President Putin has remained in power for far too long, and treated his people poorly. He represents an opposition to American powers.

When the United States was hesitant to join World War I, Woodrow Wilson eloquently laid out why it was necessary in a speech before Congress in 1917, “The world must be made safe for democracy We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek not material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind.”

You must understand sir, that this needs to be done to protect American values: a clear, and fair democratic process, self-determination, and a strong sense of autonomy which has stemmed from our founding. When our first president, George Washington, wrote his Farewell Address, announcing that he was stepping down from the office of the presidency, he warned of the dangers of foreign interferences: “Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) 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...Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.” It is clear that Washington’s fears have morphed into reality.

This is why I am proposing that America, and our allies in NATO, launch a propaganda campaign in Russia, concurrently with a covert operation to stoke revolutionary sentiments in Russia.

We would borrow many of the same techniques that Russia utilized, but as well as install a new type of draft. It would be a modern Manhattan Project, like was built during World War II to build the atomic bomb, but specifically built for building the ultimate propaganda machine. The best computer scientists from across the world flock to our shores for our expertise in technology. I suggest we take advantage of it. We hand-select the best programmers, the best cognitive scientists, the best designers, for the goal of having the minds of the Russian people at our command. From there, we can choose how we end Putin’s authoritarian regime.

Although, we have made mistakes in the past, by invading Iraq, and toppling President Mossedegh in Iran, I believe we have learned from our mistakes, and our technology capabilities mean that very few American assets will be in harm's way. It will be similar to our “Hearts and Minds” campaign that we launched in Vietnam, as suggested by Lyndon Johnson: "So we must be ready to fight in Viet-Nam, but the ultimate victory will depend upon the hearts and the minds of the people who actually live out there. By helping to bring them hope and electricity you are also striking a very important blow for the cause of freedom throughout the world." It will not be the Russia versus the United States, but the fight of the Russian people versus the Russian government, leading them to self-determination has the colonists did the Revolutionary War.

Another aspect of the plan, would be the sharing of all techniques for protecting the integrity of elections with NATO members, to ensure no further interference from Russia, or any other state. Perhaps, a summit among our allies could be held to discuss the latest in technological protectors of the Democratic process.

We must intervene in Russia, because to not interfere would be a betrayal of American values. And if history has shown us anything, it is that American values are worth protecting.

With respect,

Odessa Goldberg

Secretary of State of the United States of America

Works Cited:

  1. “Read the Declassified Report on Russian Interference in the U.S. Election.” The Washington Post, WP Company,

  2. MacMillan, Margaret. “Why the U.S. Has Spent 200 Years Flip-Flopping Between Isolationism and Engagement.”, A&E Television Networks, 16 Mar. 2018,

  3. Kavanaugh, Shane Dixon. “US Interfered in Elections of at Least 85 Countries Worldwide Since 1945.” Global Research, 18 Oct. 2019,

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