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6 Jul, 2019 01:07

Replacing Kremlin’s ‘malign influence’ with Washington’s? US unveils new anti-Russia plan for Europe

Replacing Kremlin’s ‘malign influence’ with Washington’s? US unveils new anti-Russia plan for Europe

The US Development Agency (USAID) has released a new strategy for freeing its European allies from Russia’s alleged grip. It involves showering local media with US money and injecting American businesses into the local market.

The plan, called the ‘Countering Malign Kremlin Influence (CMKI) Development Framework’ and unveiled by the agency on Friday, has four stated goals: to help European countries protect their political systems from outside meddling, counter disinformation campaigns, and reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy and mutual trade.

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In order to take European nations, including Ukraine, off Russia's supposed hook, the US will channel millions of dollars into local media to ensure they are truly “independent.”

“With USAID funding, eleven strategic media partners across Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia are growing their audiences, diversifying revenue, and elevating their digital media presence,” the agency said. Along with an injection of American money, USAID touts tools for fighting ‘fake news’, like the ‘Pop-up Newsroom’ it founded in Moldova to provide “behavioral analytics and social-media technologies to analyze and identify disinformation.”

The impartiality of US government-linked fact-checkers, however, has been questioned (and found wanting) before. In May, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, which runs the International Fact-Checking Network hired by Facebook to “certify” third party fact-checkers, was forced to retract a list of ‘unreliable news sources’ after it itself was proved to be unreliable.

To boost European countries' economic independence, USAID plans to “remove counter-productive restrictions on private enterprise and free-market operations,”“increase integration with western economies” and, conveniently, “open up new markets for US businesses.”

The paper also habitually accuses Russia of vague “malicious” activities to subvert European democracy, while boasting of USAID’s efforts “in support of democracy and rule of law in Ukraine” by pumping $2.7 million into various civil society and “grassroots” organizations as well as cyber-security equipment for elections and training electoral commission officials.

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