U.S. competing with Russia and China for the domination of the Eurasian landmass at large and for the Central and Eastern Europe in particular

FROM Chinese Military Joining Russians for Nuclear War Games (August 24, 2018, The Washington Free Beacon):

Wess Mitchell, assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia, told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that Russia is the focus of a return to “big power competition.”

“Contrary to the hopeful assumptions of previous administrations, Russia and China are serious competitors that are building up the material and ideological wherewithal to contest U.S. primacy and leadership in the 21st Century,” Mitchell said.

“It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers.”

Mitchell said effective policy toward Moscow must be backed by military power.

“To this end, the administration has reversed years of cuts to the U.S. defense budget, begun the process of recapitalizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, requested close to $11 billion to support the European Deterrence Initiative, and, in the past year and a half, worked with NATO Allies to bring about the largest European defense spending increase since the Cold War—a total of more than $40 billion to date,” he said.

The quote emphasized above has indeed been taken from Wess Mitchell’s hearing before a committee of U.S. Senate. A Google search for that sentence has indeed been proving that fact for me today:

Wess Mitchell on prevention of domination by hostile to U.S. powers of the Eurasian landmass - August 21, 2018.png

At the same time the downloaded PDF had no such sentence at all. It had definitely been eliminated (“castrated”) by the original publisher, i.e. the Senate itself as:

1. The Washington Free Beacon “is an American conservative political journalism website” (as per Wikipedia) whose About page is stating:

Whether it’s exposing cronyism, finding out just who is shaping our domestic and foreign policy and why, or highlighting the threats to American security and peace in a dangerous world, the Free Beacon is committed to serving the public interest by reporting news and information that is not being fully covered by other news organizations.

2. I could also find the given sentence in a September 1 article by СТАЛКЕР/ZONE describing itself as “Anti-capitalist. Anti-war. Anti-liberal…. Searching for and translating important information.”

September 1, 2018, СТАЛКЕР/ZONEThe US State Department Openly Outlined Its Plans to Guarantee America’s Global Primacy 

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
16:00:12
01/09/2018
cont.ws

Speaking in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the assistant to the Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Wess Mitchell stated that the US punishes Russia because Moscow prevents Washington from establishing control over Eurasia in order to restore its world supremacy…

The US, at last, openly admitted why they fight against Russia, and that they won’t accept any other outcome in the current confrontation with Moscow besides its capitulation, because America’s world supremacy is impossible without total control over Eurasia, which so far they don’t have.

All of this isn’t the conjectures of “conspiracy theorists” or “Putin’s propaganda”, but the quintessence of the policy of the US stated the other day by the assistant to the Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Wess Mitchell in his speech in front of members of Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Mitchell explained to the Senators that the State Department’s financing depends on the essence of the US’ policy towards Russia. He named the “recognition that America has entered a period of big-power competition” as “the starting point of the National Security Strategy”, having emphasised that the previous administrations weren’t sufficiently prepared for this and didn’t prepare the country for victory in this competition.

The senior representative of the State Department further emphasised: “Contrary to the hopeful assumptions of previous administrations, Russia and China are serious competitors that are building up the material and ideological wherewithal to contest US primacy and leadership in the 21st Century”.

And after that Mitchell detonated a bomb. However, this will be a surprise only for those who don’t understand that Russia is already in a state of active hybrid war with the US:

“It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers”.

And here Mitchell detonated an atomic bomb, with terrible destructive consequences, and not just an ordinary bomb.

Firstly, establishing total control over Eurasia is declared as the most important task for the US. A claim is made for the clear victory of the civilisation of the Sea over the civilisation of Land, the center and the only pillar of support of which is Russia. Secondly, Washington openly declared a priority of the most strictest demands of geopolitics of the most catastrophic character (The Sea must flood the Land) over any human rights trivialities used in “public diplomacy”.

Thirdly, a challenge is laid down to the very existence of Russia – it can stop its domination in its own geographical area of existence only having become fragmented or being divided into small puppet states. Fourthly, Russia is called a “hostile” country. This implies that hybrid war was declared to it long ago, and that the Americans will try, as Mitchell noted earlier, to win. Thus, he recognised that Moscow’s attempts to reach an agreement with Washington can be welcomed only if it is a question of capitulation.

Well and, lastly and fifthly, Mitchell’s mention of “hostile powers” in plural can only mean that he meant the strategic ally of Russia – China, the only independent power on the periphery of Eurasia. The US considers China to be its main economic competitor and military threat, which in some respects is just as mighty as the Russian threat, and in the long term even more dangerous. Thus, “preventing the domination” also of China in the open spaces of Eurasia provides this same scenario as for Russia: dismantling the Celestial Empire into which that compete for the attention and favor of Washington, and which don’t lay down any claims concerning geopolitics.

That’s the scale of things.

Should we prepare for the third world war?

In general, whatever one may do, Mitchell declared that the US prepares for a universal conflict, a new world war, and “the central aim of the administration’s foreign policy is to prepare our nation to confront this challenge by systematically strengthening the military, economic and political fundaments of American power”. The way to victory in it is the shattering of Russia, against which it is necessary, according to the plan of the State Department, to incline and unite its neighbors dancing to the tune of Washington and the American vassals in Europe.

Diplomacy, according to Mitchell, is a minor element in relations with Russia, which, by the way, influential circles in Moscow stubbornly refuse to recognise, cherishing the illusion to“agree” with Washington about something besides capitulation. The senior representative of the State Department clearly designated that “our Russia policy proceeds from the recognition that, to be effective, US diplomacy toward Russia must be backed by ‘military power that is second to none and fully integrated with our allies and all of our instruments of power’”.

Mitchell bragged that for the last one and a half years (when, we will add, the “Russian agent” Donald Trump was already sat in the White House) the US obtained from allies in NATO a $40 billion increase in military expenditure and “achieved virtually all policy objectives” in this direction, including the establishment within the framework of the North Atlantic alliance of two new Commands, the implementation of hybrid war preparations, and “major, multi-year initiatives to bolster the mobility, readiness, and capability of the Alliance”. Moreover, here it obviously means offense and not defense. And it is not only about NATO countries.

The language of Mitchell reveals that the US considers its policy towards Russia in military categories: “We have placed particular emphasis on bolstering the states of frontline Europe that are most susceptible to Russian geopolitical pressure. In Ukraine and Georgia, we lifted the previous administration’s restrictions on the acquisition of defensive weapons for resisting Russian territorial aggression”. The Caucasus, the Black Sea region, even Central Europe are called by Mitchell zones of geopolitical combat against Russia, competing “for hearts and minds”.

And here the US State Department according to him, finds itself on the front line: all 50 American diplomatic missions in Europe and Eurasia “develop, coordinate and execute tailored action plans for rebuffing Russian influence operations in their host countries”. In this regard the Balkans merited a special mention, where “American diplomacy has played a lead role in resolving the Greece Macedonia name dispute and is engaging with Serbia and Kosovo to propel the EU-led dialogue”.

It is unlikely that serious people had even the slightest doubts about who Russia and Greece owe for the crisis in their relations, that it’s not at all that Russian diplomats tried to disrupt mutual understanding between Athens and Skopje, and that they “bribed”someone, sometimes using for this purpose “spies in cassocks”. The official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova, for example, directly pointed a finger at the Americans as the creators of the diplomatic scandal, declaring: “we know”. And now it is also Mitchell who confirmed that it is the State Department that did everything, and not the despised by Greeks Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who simply ran across to the side of Russia’s enemy.

Defeating Russia economically

“In tandem” with these efforts aimed at shattering Russia, according to Mitchell, the US carries out a whole series of events of an economic nature: 217 Russian physical and legal entities are under sanctions, six diplomatic missions are closed, “60 spies [were] removed from U.S. soil”, and the State Department “closely and effectively coordinated with European allies”. Here, by the way, Mitchell involuntarily admitted for what reason Anglo-Saxon intelligence agencies needed the “Skripal affair” and who organised this provocation.

The senior representative of State Department expressed satisfaction with the course of the economic war with Russia: “on average, sanctioned Russian firms” lose about a quarter of their operational revenue, the total asset evaluation of such a company falls by 50%, and it is thus compelled to reduce its staff by a third. According to the estimates of State Department experts given by Mitchell, “our sanctions, cumulatively, have cost the Russian government tens of billions of dollars on top of the broader impact on state-owned sectors and the chilling effect of U.S. sanctions on the Russian economy”. Mitchell gave the situation with the RUSAL company, and also attacks on the Russian ruble, which strongly lost weight for this reason, as an example of successful hybrid war against Russia.

We will crush them until they capitulate

However, if Russia stops resisting the US’ expansion in Eurasia – first of all, in Ukraine, stops countering the US’ policy in Syria – which Mitchell characterised as “Russian aggression”, and we will wave the white flag, then America will be ready to negotiate capitulation: “But in all of these areas, it is up to Russia, not America, to take the next step. Our policy remains unchanged: steady cost-imposition until Russia changes course”.

There are some more curious moments in Mitchell’s speech. By arguing about the policy of Russia, but without having the opportunity to know what it really consists of, he attributes American logic and its foreign policy methods to the actions of Moscow.

Self-exposure

Here are quotes:

“Our strategy is animated by the realization that the threat from Russia has evolved beyond being simply an external or military one; it includes unprecedentedly brazen influence operations orchestrated by the Kremlin (in reality – Washington – ed) on the soil of our allies and even here at home in the United States”.

“The threat from Russian influence operations existed long before our 2016 presidential election and will continue long after this election cycle, or the next, or the next. As the recent Facebook purges reveal, the Russian state has promoted fringe voices on the political left, not just the right, including groups who advocate violence, the storming of federal buildings and the overthrow of the U.S. government. Russia foments and funds controversial causes – and then foments and funds the causes opposed to those causes. Putin’s thesis is that the American Constitution is an experiment that will fail if challenged in the right way from within. Putin wants to break apart the American Republic, not by influencing an election or two, but by systematically inflaming the perceived fault-lines that exist within our society”.

Having accused modern Russia of using “Bolshevist” and “Soviet” methods in the geopolitical standoff with America, Mitchell made from Putin the “father” of the leading for quite some time US’ foreign policy doctrine – “a strategy of chaos for strategic effect”.

Thanks, Mr Mitchell, for your frankness

In general, it is worth being grateful to the prominent State Department employee. Mitchell not only outlined the purposes of the US’ foreign policy, but also revealed the methods that Washington intends to use to put them into practice, he showed everyone who is ready to look at the truth in the eyes what a frightening danger the US constitutes for the rest of the world and, first of all, for Russia.

Note: This article had been taken back to English from a Rusian one indicated by link behind the cont.ws reference (has also been republished recently as США объявили, что заберут у России контроль над Евразией on the site Планета-КОБ). Also Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard are the “primary translators” of the Stalker Zone. Plus Richardson is also listed as the translator of The Russophile (TheRussophile.org)  describing itself “an aggregator of news about Russia from alternative sources.” So the Russian connection is here, but considering the above mentioned proofpoint the quotes in the above СТАЛКЕР/ZONE article seem to be corresponding to the original PDF content from the U.S. Senate.

Since then we have the following statements from Mitchell regarding the American strategy for Central and Eastern Europe as well. I will include the “castrated” by the Senate current version after that.

October 18, 2018, Atlantic Council: Winning the Competition for Influence in Central and Eastern Europe, A. Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, US Department of State (16¼ min)

Thank you, Damon, for that warm introduction, and I’d like to thank Atlantic Council for having me here to speak today at a very important conference. I appreciate the work that Atlantic Council does, both here and in Europe, and I have to say the title of today’s event I think is very timely. I think, as many of you know, it’s dealing with a set of countries and regions that are very close to my heart.

Next year marks the anniversary of the end of communism in Europe. Nearly 30 years ago, nations across Central Europe, many with ancient traditions of independence, were liberated from the long night of communist tyranny. Captive nations like Poland and Hungary showed the way to freedom, to a future of liberty and free markets. A few years later, those nations that had been forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union itself — nations like the Baltic States, Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova — achieved their independence as well.

The freedom that these nations won came first and foremost as a result of their own effort. As President Trump said last year in Warsaw, “The captive nations of Europe endured a brutal campaign to demolish their freedom, faith, laws, history, and identity — the very essence of their culture and humanity at the hands of a cruel and wicked system that impoverished their cities and their souls.”

In their battle against communism, these nations were supported by a strong alliance of free nations in the West that defied tyranny. When their freedom came, it was the result of a very fierce competition, a long struggle for mastery, in which America brought great resources and manpower to bear in defense of freedom.

Today there is a new competition for influence in the world. As outlined by the National Security Strategy, the return of big-power competition is the defining geopolitical fact of our time. The need to systematically prepare for this competition is the central task of U.S. foreign policy. That preparation begins at home by rebuilding the foundations of long-term American economic power, strengthening the manufacturing and defense industrial base, reinvesting in national defense, recapitalizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and addressing gaps in the defense industrial supply chain. Abroad, it means rebalancing burdens with allies and recalibrating international institutions that no longer match strategic reality.

Today’s geopolitical competition is sharply felt in Central and Eastern Europe. From the Baltic to the Adriatic, across the Balkan Peninsula and through the Caucasus, America’s rivals are expanding their political, military, and commercial influence. Russia is again a military factor in this region, following the invasions of Georgia and Ukraine. Well beyond the frontier, in the countries of Central Europe, Russia uses manipulative energy tactics, corruption, and propaganda to weaken Western nations from within and undermine their bonds with the United States.

And for the first time in history, China has become a major player in Central and Eastern Europe. Beijing uses debt-book diplomacy to accumulate infrastructure and force concessions on smaller nations. These tactics mirror Chinese behavior at the international level, where Beijing engages in unfair trade practices including IP theft, economic espionage, and dumping.

In 2008, China invested less than $1 billion in Europe. Just nine years later, in 2017, Chinese FDI in Europe was $42 billion and total investment was $318 billion. In recent years, China has taken control of 360 European companies and now owns or controls almost a tenth of Europe’s entire port capacity.

Part of the reason that our rivals are gaining ground in Central and Eastern Europe is that for too long the West did not take competition seriously here. After the Cold War, many in the West came to believe that history had ended and that enduring realities like geography, history, and the nation no longer mattered. Many in the West overlooked the foundational importance of the nation state and national sovereignty as one of the key sources, along with natural law, from which political legitimacy ultimately derives. International institutions came to be seen as ends in themselves rather than instruments that must bring security and relevance to the lives of the citizens they serve. Meanwhile, the strategic realities upon which post-World War II institutions were built were shifting all around us.

Even a casual look at the map today should lead us to question the assumptions that animated past policies and turn our attention to the urgent task of strengthening the West to contest the growing influence of our rivals. This task begins at Europe’s far frontier, in supporting states that are struggling to assure their continued independence. The dangers to Ukraine and Georgia are direct and existential, comprising both military threats to territorial integrity and sovereignty, and efforts to unravel the democratic institutions that their citizens are attempting to build. In Central Europe proper, the threat is of a degree of political and economic penetration that with time could degrade national independence and splinter NATO.

U.S. strategy toward these regions today is guided by certain principles. First, as outlined by the National Security Strategy, America will compete for positive influence abroad. America is a powerful democracy whose example as a beacon of liberty burns bright and continues to draw others to us. Nevertheless, we must not see it as a foregone conclusion that countries will automatically remain friendly to America. We must apply ourselves to the task of preventing their domination by American competitors.

Doing so requires an active diplomacy. China and Russia are engaged in a diplomatic full-court-press in sensitive regions around the world. The United States must show up or expect to lose. While we will always be clear about the principles that undergird our democracy, we must be willing to use diplomacy to aggressively advance the national interest. Not only by engaging countries with whom we agree, but by engaging with countries with whom we have serious differences, differences that can be exploited by rivals to increase their own influence.

Winning the competition for influence also requires us to up our game in commercial engagement. For China and Russia, promoting commerce is an integral part of diplomacy. China’s Belt Road Initiative seeks long-term influence by buying infrastructure, often with financial backing from the state. To a much greater extent than in the recent past, the United States must treat the promotion of U.S. business as inextricably linked to the future of our nation’s strength and influence abroad.

To that end, the Trump Administration, in support of the Bipartisan Build Act, is restructuring the Overseas Private Investment Corporation so that it has the authority and resources to offer countries viable private sector alternatives to Chinese financing. Working with Congress, we will double the existing portfolio capacity of OPIC from $29 billion to $60 billion, allowing America to go toe-to-toe with major rivals in vulnerable regions like Central and Eastern Europe.

In tandem, we are strengthening America’s public diplomacy in Central Europe. One of America’s greatest competitive advantages against authoritarian rivals is our story, our legacy as a democratic, generous, and entrepreneurial people. In Central Europe we have many natural friends and a shared history of fighting tyranny that goes back to the time of the American Revolution. To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of communism, we will launch a year-long program of events, outreach and increased youth exchanges across Central and Eastern Europe and Germany to remind our friends of the shared history and ideals that unite the West.

While celebrating these bonds, a second principle for America is that we expect those whom America helps to not abet our rivals. Western Europeans cannot continue to deepen energy dependence on the same Russia that America defends it against. Or enrich themselves on the same Iran that is building ballistic missiles which threaten Europe.

The same holds true for Central Europeans. It is not acceptable for U.S. allies in Central Europe to support projects like Turkstream II and maintain cozy nuclear energy deals that make the region more vulnerable to the very Russia that these states joined NATO to protect themselves against. Many of America’s closest allies in Central Europe operate networks of corruption and state-owned enterprises that rig the system in favor of China and Russia. This creates an uneven playing field for U.S. companies.

As the President has made clear, we will prioritize support, resources and aid for those who are our friends. And we call on our allies to follow our lead in strengthening their laws to better screen foreign investments in their countries for national security threats.

Third, America will respect the national independence and sovereignty of our allies. As President Trump has said, America will honor the right of every nation to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions. For too long many in the West have touted international institutions without acknowledging that they derive their authority and legitimacy from the nation state. It is in the nation that democratic accountability resides.

America has a long tradition of supporting the right of nations to choose their own destiny. We fought for this right in 1917, defended it in World War II, based our Cold War strategy on it, and celebrated it in 1989. Indeed, America’s grand strategy against the Soviet Empire was predicated on the belief that nations are the unique repositories of legitimacy and liberty, and thus we ought to protect and nurture them. Eisenhower’s very term, “captive nation” reflects that fact. Historically, powerful democracies have stood for the rights of small nations, on grounds of both principle and interest, while large authoritarian powers have consistently opposed them.

Today it is the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of frontier states like Ukraine, Georgia, and even Belarus that offer the surest bulwark against Russian neo-imperialism. And it is the nation states of Europe that are role models of economic growth and will decide the future of Europe and its institutions.

The idea that a large, authoritarian power like Russia or China would become sincere champions of true national independence is unthinkable. Both operate on authoritarian geopolitical traditions antithetical to the freedom of nations. Our allies in Central Europe must not be under any illusions that these powers are their friends. The West must reclaim the tradition of supporting the nation state as its own and work harder to ensure that international institutions reflect the democratic will of nations, or expect institutions to lose influence and relevance.

A fourth and final principle is that America expects states to respect the rights of their neighbors. We reject Russia’s territorial aggression against its neighbor Ukraine and we reject China’s predatory debt mongering throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Neither of these authoritarian powers want relations with truly independent smaller states, much less allies. They want dependencies.

For NATO allies, our message is clear. America’s commitment to Article Five is ironclad. For non-NATO partners, our message is equally clear. We will support your God-given right to national independence. As Secretary Pompeo has made clear, we stand by Ukraine and Georgia, a fact that is demonstrated by the aid and arms we have made available to these states. As we have in past decades, America continues to help those who help themselves in the struggle for freedom.

Unlike our rivals, America does not seek dependencies. We seek strong allies and partners that are free, independent and confident states, willing and able to share the burden of Western defense. Only strong and confident allies will be able, in the words of the NATO Charter, to “safeguard the freedom, common heritage, and civilization of their peoples” in the era of competition that is unfolding before us. With strong allies, and supported by the love of freedom that is the West’s greatest legacy, we will once again prevail.

Thank you.

October 18, 2018, Atlantic Council: Fireside Chat with The Hon. A. Wess Mitchell and Damon Wilson (28 min)

August 21, 2018, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Washington, DC:
U.S. Strategy Toward the Russian Federation by A. Wess Mitchell
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

As delivered

Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Menendez, thank you for inviting me to testify today. If you’ll indulge me, I want to start with a piece of welcome news, it’s unrelated to this morning’s testimony. Yesterday, August 20th, the U.S. government removed to Germany, Jakiw Palij, a former Nazi camp guard at the notorious, Trawniki slave labor camp for Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland. While this process took far longer than we wanted, the removal of this individual can bring some comfort to Holocaust survivors and others who suffered at the hands of those, like Palij, who did the cruel bidding of the inhuman Nazi regime.

I will use my prepared comments today to outline in brief form, the overarching strategy of the United States towards the Russian Federation. The foundation for this strategy is provided by three documents, as directed and approved by the President: the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy, and the Russia Integrated Strategy.

The starting point of the National Security Strategy is the recognition that America has entered a period of big-power competition and that past U.S. policies have neither sufficiently grasped the scope of this emerging trend nor adequately equipped our nation to succeed in it. The central aim of the administration’s foreign policy is to prepare our nation to confront this challenge by systematically strengthening the military, economic and political fundaments of American power.

Our Russia policy proceeds from the recognition that, to be effective, U.S. diplomacy must be backed by “military power that is second to none and fully integrated with our allies and all of our instruments of power.” To that end, we have reversed years of cuts to the defense budget, begun the process of recapitalizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, requested close to $11 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative, and worked within NATO to bring about more than $40 billion in new European defense spending. At the NATO Summit, we established two new NATO Commands (including one here in the United States), new counter-hybrid threat response teams, and major, multi-year initiatives to bolster the mobility, readiness, and capability of the Alliance.

In tandem, we have worked to degrade Vladimir Putin’s ability to conduct aggression by imposing costs on the Russian state and the oligarchy that sustains it. Building on Secretary Pompeo’s testimony, I am submitting for the record a list of actions this administration has taken. These include, to date: 217 individuals and entities sanctioned, 6 diplomatic and consular facilities closed and 60 spies removed from American soil.

Our actions are having an impact. Research by the State Department’s Office of the Chief Economist shows that on average sanctioned Russian firms see their operating revenue fall by a quarter; their total asset valuation fall by half; and they are forced to fire a third of their employees. Following the announcement of sanctions in April, the Russian company, Rusal, lost about fifty percent of its market value. In the five days following our August 8 announcement of Chemical and Biological Weapons Act sanctions, the ruble depreciated to its lowest level against the dollar in two years.

Even as we have imposed unprecedented penalties for Russian aggression, we have been clear that the door to dialogue is open, should Putin choose to take credible steps toward a constructive path. In Syria, we created de-escalation channels to avoid collisions between our forces. In Ukraine, we have maintained an effort under Ambassador Kurt Volker to provide the means by which Russia can live up to its commitments under the Minsk Agreements. But in all of these areas, it is up to Russia, not America, to take the next step.

We have placed particular emphasis on bolstering the states of frontline Europe. In Ukraine and Georgia, we lifted restrictions on the acquisition of defensive weapons. In the Balkans, we have played a hands-on role in resolving the Greece-Macedonia name dispute and engaging with Serbia and Kosovo to propel the EU-led dialogue. From the Caucasus to Central Europe we are promoting energy diversification, fighting corruption, and competing for hearts and minds.

Our strategy is animated by the realization that the threat from Russia has evolved beyond being simply an external or military one; it includes influence operations orchestrated by the Kremlin in the very heart of the Western world. These activities are extensively resourced and directed from the highest levels of the Russian state.

It’s important to state clearly what these campaigns are and are not about.

What they’re not about is a particular attachment to U.S. domestic political causes. They are not about right or left, not about American political philosophy. As the recent Facebook purges reveal, the Russian state has promoted fringe voices on the political left and right, including groups who advocate violence, the storming of federal buildings, and the overthrow of the U.S. government. Russia foments and funds controversial causes – and then foments and funds the causes opposed to those causes. Putin’s thesis is that the American Constitution is an experiment that will fail if it is challenged in the right way from within. Putin wants to break apart the American Republic, not by influencing an election or two, but by systematically inflaming the fault-lines within our society. Accepting this fact is absolutely essential for developing a long-term response to the problem. The most dangerous thing in the world we could do is to politicize the challenge, which in itself would be a gift to Putin.

What Russian efforts are about is geopolitics: the Putinist system’s permanent and self-justifying struggle for international dominance. As stated by a handbook of the Russian Armed Forces, the goal is “to carry out mass psychological campaigns against the population of a state in order to destabilize society and the government; and force that state to make decisions in the interests of its opponents.” Doing so involves an evolved toolkit of subversive statecraft first employed by the Bolshevik and later the Soviet state, upgraded for the digital age.

The State Department takes this threat very seriously. Countering it in both overt and covert form is among the highest priorities of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. As a co-chair of the Russia Influence Group, I work with General Scapparotti to bring the combined resources of EUR and EUCOM to bear against this problem. Under EUR leadership, all 49 U.S. missions located in Europe and Eurasia are required to develop, coordinate, and execute tailored action plans for rebuffing Russian influence operations in their host countries.

Within the Bureau, we recruited one of the architects of the Global Engagement Center legislation from the staff of a member of this committee; we formed a new position – the Senior Advisor for Russian Malign Activities and Trends (or, SARMAT) – to develop cross-regional strategies across offices. EUR created a dedicated team to take the offensive in publicly exposing Russian malign activities, which since January of this year has called out the Kremlin on 112 occasions. We are now working with our ally, the UK, to form an international coalition for coordinating efforts in this field and have requested over $380 million in security and economic assistance accounts in the President’s 2019 budget.

We recognize that Congress has an important role to play in providing the tools and resources needed to deal effectively with the Russian problem set. As Secretary Pompeo made clear in his recent testimony, we are committed to working with all of you to make headway against this problem and align our efforts in support of the President’s Russia strategy.

Mr. Chairman, thank you again for inviting me today. I look forward to your questions.

 

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