HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy, HKS; William D. Zabel ’61 Professor of Practice in Human Rights, HLS

Abstract

When President George Washington gave his Farewell Address in 1796, he urged the American people “to be constantly awake” to the risk of “foreign influence,” which he called “one of the most baneful foes of republican government.” In the wake of Russia’s meddling in the US election in 2016, President Washington’s warning has a new, chilling resonance. In the immediate aftermath the debate in the United States seemed concentrated on two dimensions of foreign interference—precisely who did what to influence the election, and how the United States and other democracies must fortify cybersecurity for our emails, critical infrastructure, and voting platforms. While pursuing these objectives is extremely important, we need to pay equal attention to an additional dimension of our vulnerability: our adversaries’ ability to subvert our democratic processes by aiming falsehoods at a ripe subset of our population—and not only during our election cycles.

Citation

Power, Samantha. "Beyond Elections: Foreign Interference with American Democracy." Can it Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America. Ed. Sunstein, Cass R.. HarperCollins, 2018, 81-96.