Despite a checkered past record, U.S. programs to promote democracy abroad should not be equated with systemic Russian attempts to interfere with other nations’ politics.
Russia has recovered enough of its economic and military strength to back an agile influence campaign well beyond its borders.
The Kremlin is relying on a highly adaptable toolkit to chip away at the liberal international order and to capitalize on the West’s inability to come up with a unified strategy to respond.
Engagement in Central Asia, the Russian Far East, and the Arctic has tested Russia’s and China’s abilities to manage their differences and translate the rhetoric of partnership into tangible gains.
Unless countries like Mexico confront election-related vulnerabilities and the manipulation of voters through fake news and propaganda, the democratic process will be at risk.
Russia’s meddling in the U.S. political system is part of a broader global campaign to undermine what the Kremlin sees as a Western-dominated international order.