JOHN MENADUE. The question Leigh Sales didn’t ask Senator John McCain.

In her “exclusive interview” with Senator John McCain on 7.30 Report last week, Leigh Sales was told: “The Russians tried to destroy the foundations of democracy and to change the outcome of the American election … and they have just tried to affect the outcome of the French election.”  

Leigh Sales failed to ask Senator McCain if the United States has ever interfered in the elections of other countries or sought to change their governments, even when they were democratically elected. Not a word from Leigh Sales. Senator McCain had a free ride.

Just consider some examples of US interference or involvement in the affairs of other countries:

  • In the Spanish-American War (1899 – 1902) the US overthrew a recently independent Filipino republic at a cost of over 250,000 Filipino lives. It was called “… a great misunderstanding“. MARK TWAIN put it this way: “There must be two Americas: one that sets the captive free and one that takes a once-captive’s new freedom away from him and picks a quarrel with him with nothing to found it on, then kills him to get his land.”
  • In the late 1940s, the United States intervened massively in Italy to head off the prospect of a socialist/communist coalition.
  • In 1953, the CIA directed the overthrew of the democratically elected Mosaddeq Government in Iran and installed the Shah.
  • In 1954, the United States helped overthrow the Arbenz Government in Guatemala.
  • In 1954, the United States refused to allow the implementation of the Final Declaration of the Geneva Conference that the people of Vietnam should vote on a unified Vietnam. Subsequently, US Administration contrived to continue the war in South Vietnam and attacked North Vietnam.
  • In 1973, the CIA engineered the overthrow of the Allende Government in Chile.
  • In the 1980s, the United States attempted to use the Contras to get rid of the Sandinista Government in Nicaragua, but failed.
  • In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Clinton administration intervened massively to support Boris Yeltsin.
  • In 2003, the United States, together with the UK and Australia, illegally invaded Iraq to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein. That was not just interference, it was direct regime change.
  • In 2011, NATO, with the support of the United States, toppled the Gaddafi regime in Libya.

Talk about interfering in the affairs of other countries!

Perhaps Senator McCain is sensitive about foreign involvement in US elections because his country has instigated, with impunity, numerous foreign interventions over many decades.

But Leigh Sales chose to give John McCain an armchair ride instead. The US got away with it again.


John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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14 Responses to JOHN MENADUE. The question Leigh Sales didn’t ask Senator John McCain.

  1. Avatar Bruce Wearne says:

    My friend in the US, a political scientist, reads this with appreciation and writes: “I’ve heard reference to U.S. “interference” only once in media discussions here in the States but have thought of it often. Moreover, McCain’s reaction is over the top. The Russian action, even if it did actually change votes that gave the election to Trump, just messes up that election, not the “foundations of American democracy.” Although half of the eligible voters choose not to vote, almost everyone believes in open elections as part of our system. So the response will be, and already is, to figure out how to tighten up electronic (and other) security to keep such things from happening again. I would say the Trump’s actions are more threatening to our system now than Russian meddling in the last election.” The worrying thing about the interview is that it actually equates Australia’s alliance with the USA with a sentimental mushiness that is historically falsifying.

  2. Avatar Don Witheford says:

    There was also the coup in Vietnam, plus the invasions of Grenada and Panama.

  3. Avatar Peter Lynch says:

    It’s also worth mentioning that McCain is not in a great position to be attacking Russia or anyone else for intervening in matters that are none of their business. McCain was one of the Keating Five senators who, together, received a total of US$1.3 million in “political contributions” from Charles Keating. These donations were accepted by the five before they intervened on Keating’s behalf in an investigation the Federal Home Loan Bank Board was undertaking into Keating following the Savings and Loans crisis in the late 1980s. McCain avoided prosecution but was reprimanded for exercising “poor judgement”.

  4. Avatar Peter Lynch says:

    John, you didn’t mention Ukraine 2014. Googling “Yats is the guy” leads to an interesting transcript of a revealing conversation. It is a leaked recording posted on YouTube of a conversation in 2014, just weeks before the coup d’etat, that reveals Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, who they want to be Prime Minister of Ukraine and how to bring it about. Nuland’s statement, “Yats is the guy” referred to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who in fact did become the new Prime Minister after Yanokovych’s government was ousted. Yatsenyuk was the nationalist and strongly anti-Russian head of the ultra right-wing People’s Front. This recording amounts to a smoking gun proof that the US knew of, and was pushing for, the overthrow of Ukraine’s legally elected government.

  5. Avatar michael lacey says:

    What you referred to in the title of the article is totally correct the questions that were not asked! The most important thing about a person or situation is always the thing you don’t know!

    To me there is a more serious aspect to all this. Why were they not asked.
    Mainstream media has a duty to tell the whole truth, they tell the truth or expand the argument only as an exception. We have two groups of media feeding us
    1. The Yellow press which lie or omit pretty much all the time Fox outlets fit that category.
    2. Then we have the other outlets , as I said who tell the truth on all inconsequential occasions so they can deceive the public with the requisite authority when it becomes necessary. A large number of Journalists have become megaphones for neoconservatives.

  6. Avatar Joseph Furolo says:

    And the overthrow of the democratically elected Hamas government of Palestine – Hilary apparently explicitly suggested that the US should have intervened in the election to prevent the outcome..

  7. Avatar Mark Freeman says:

    Russia is a very large industrialised country with an advanced military and lots of nuclear weapons. ISIS is a small wanabee state with no industry, navy, airforce or nuclear weapons and is on its way out. No real contest on who could make more trouble

  8. Avatar Tony kevin says:

    I think Leigh might just have been giving McCain enough rope to hang himself? His ridiculous comment about Putin’s Russia being a greater threat to world security than ISIS was worth fishing for.

  9. Avatar Sue Wareham says:

    Well done on pointing out how many times the US has interfered in other countries to install a government of their choosing. No wonder they’re so familiar with how it’s done.

    • Avatar Neilium says:

      The list on USA military involvement in other countries is way way longer about three pages of fine print. Yes Victorian Senator Coxedge Mla who wrote ‘Rooted In Secrecy’ Mentions the sudden appearance of ‘labor embassy’s ‘ in cities towns everywhere established by the Cia during the Whitlam Gov’t era. And the movie ” Falcon and the Snowman” revealing the spying on australia by the USA for commercial interests as well as anything else. All the way with USA and see what it’s got us back ‘Today’ Winds of change.

  10. Avatar Rob Parkes says:

    Let’s not mention the dismissal of Gough Whitlam

  11. Avatar Bruce Wearne says:

    And when is Australia going to face up to its own and US complicity in the Indonesian colonisation of West Papua from 1962 until the “Act of No Choice” of July-August 1969?

  12. Avatar Kathy Heyne says:

    You left out Australia in 1975- something about the US threatening to stop sharing intelligence with us if a certain government didn’t disappear. I seem to recall the Americans took exception to another Australian politician in the late 40’s/early 50’s, too: a bloke called Evatt. Something to do with the UN and Evatt’s opposition to a Security Council who could overrule (by veto) every other nation.

  13. Avatar Kieran Tapsell says:

    In a recent column in Colombia’s Semana magazine, Antonio Caballero quoted a recent statement by McCain about China:
    “While they are becoming richer and stronger (China) they are acting more and more like a thug. They are refusing to open up its economy so that it can compete equally with foreign companies. They rob others’ intellectual property. It is making vast territorial claims that are not based on international law.”
    Caballero makes the same point as you:
    “It seems as if McCain was describing in perfect detail what has historically been the international behaviour of the United States. Its agriculture and industrial protectionism has gone on for 200 years; its unequal and one-sided treaties called “free trade” agreements; its claim to patent wild lianas from the Amazon, and wild Saharan scorpions as if they were invented by their scientists; its military annexation of half of Mexico; its thuggish “dollar diplomacy”… Senator McCain, in his youth, bombed Vietnam from his warplane for the same reasons that today irritate him about China – because the Vietnamese decided to govern themselves of their own free will instead of submitting docilely to an imperial order from the United States. It seems he knows nothing about the history of his own country.”

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