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    Once More, With Feeling: US Rolls Out Strategy to Counter ‘Malign Kremlin Influence’

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    In the document, the US agency known best for its trademark white humanitarian aid boxes outlines four goals on countering alleged Russian influence on sovereign nations in Europe and swaying their policies in favor of the US.

    On Friday, the US Agency for International Development rolled out a three-page document blatantly called “Countering Malign Kremlin Influence (CMKI) Development Framework.” Announced in April, the document represents a strategy expressed in four objectives, each broken down into two or three steps.

    “The Russian Government and its proxies aim to weaken US influence in the world and divide us from our allies and partners,” the document says. “They are using subversive measures to weaken the credibility of America’s commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments.”

    According to the document, Russia allegedly seeks to entangle nations by “undermining democratic institutions and the rule of law,” by “manipulation of information,” and by exploiting “energy vulnerabilities” and “economic vulnerabilities.”

    This is not the first time in recent years that the US has outlined the Russian government as the source of the world’s evil. 

    Pentagon White Paper

    In July 2019, the Pentagon, in cooperation with academics and think tanks, presented a 150-page document called “Russian Strategic Intentions.” The document outlined “Russian malign influence and activities below the level of armed conflict,” in the form of “threatening other states militarily, or compromising their societies, economies, and governments by employing a range of means and methods to include propaganda, disinformation, and cultural, religious, and energy coercion.”

    In their paper, the Pentagon and academics bemoaned that the “polarized” US government, entrenched in political power struggle between the White House and the opposition Democratic party, has become effectively unable to stage a united front to counter the alleged Russian influence.

    2019 KREMLIN Act

    In March 2019, the US House of Representatives passed the so-called KREMLIN Act, which stated that Russia seeks to undermine the security of the United States, and ordered several intelligence surveys, including potential Russian military action against NATO, potential Russian response to increased NATO or US military presence in Europe – including provision of “lethal military equipment to Ukraine or Georgia” – and the potential for Russia to exploit “weaknesses and divisions among the governments of its Western adversaries.” 

    Unfortunately for the bill, it became mired in US legal bureaucracy and as of this writing has not passed the Senate.

    2017 CAATSA Act

    In 2017, US President Donald Trump signed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which, among other things, imposed new sanctions on Russian, Iran and North Korea. The bill incorporated provisions of another bill, the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act, introduced by Democratic Senator Ben Cardin. Interestingly, CAATSA requires that the US administration submit a detailed report to Congress regarding the “most significant senior foreign political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation, as determined by their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth,” as well as an assessment of the relationship between these figures and the Russian president or other members of the Russian government.

    Following the enactment of the bill, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev condemned the move, observing that the White House had given in to Congress, effectively delivering executive power to the lawmakers.

    “The American establishment has won an overwhelming victory over Trump. The president wasn't happy with the new sanctions, but he had to sign the bill,” Medvedev said. “The Trump administration demonstrated total impotence by delivering in the most humiliating way possible its executive power to the Congress.”

    Anti-Russian Hysteria

    The abovementioned acts were a part of much wider anti-Russian sentiment, spearheaded by the US and the UK. 

    Numerous US and UK politicians accused Russia of countless evils, including meddling in foreign internal affairs and various war crimes in Syria, despite the Russian Ministry of Defense repeatedly debunking these claims with video, photo and intelligence evidence.

    In 2018, London accused Moscow of the alleged poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal even before the UK’s investigation was completed. Moscow repeatedly provided detailed explanations revealing ways in which the allegations are wrong while offering cooperation in investigation.

    In 2019, Russian Embassy in the United States compiled an exhaustive compilation of the biggest anti-Russian outbursts by Western politicians and media, named “The Russiagate Hysteria: A Case of Severe Russophobia.” According to the document, in the three past years, just four main US outlets – The Washington Post, The New York Times”,  CNN and MSNBC – published over 8000 anti-Russian publications.

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