US Announces New Initiative Against Russian ‘Influence’

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The US Agency for International Development (USAID), while meant to be a humanitarian organization, has often also strayed into overseas political operations. They are looking to do so again with the announcement of the Countering Malign Kremlin Influence (CMKI) project.

CMKI is being presented as a US effort both to help other nations counter Russian attempts to influence their elections, and to “counter propaganda and misinformation.” The actual purpose, however, is to lobby these nations not to buy Russian energy, to avoid “dependence on Russia.

Assistant USAID Administrator Brock Bierman says that Russia “had nothing to offer,” and that nations who seek freedom, prosperity, or security must come to the US, and by extension, to USAID.

The first nations involved in this program are Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova, nations that don’t get along with Russia and are always willing to get US funding in any form, even if it comes with a heavy dose of US lobbying not to buy Russian oil or natural gas.

Selling the program much farther than that may be difficult. Clearly USAID has their eyes on northern Europe, because this is where Russia is selling a lot of oil lately, and this is where the Trump Administration has been trying to cut into Russian sales.

While this is nominally an attempt to keep Russia from getting economic interests in NATO member states, in practice it comes as President Trump moves to increase US oil and gas production, suggesting the US will be looking for its own international customers and would just as soon not have to compete with the Russians.

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Published at https://news.antiwar.com/2019/09/13/us-announces-new-initiative-against-russian-influence/