The chairman of the Commission on Information Policy Aleksey Pushkov, who headed the State Duma Committee on International Affairs talks about the dangers of Samantha Power's appointment as the new head of the US agency.
What do you make of her appointment?
- Biden is recruiting personnel for key positions from the Obama administration. If we talk about the foreign policy dimension, then this is actually the Obama 2.0 administration. We see all the same old faces that we know from the Obama presidency. So I'm not surprised Biden is pulling up Samantha Power. In terms of ideology and politics, this is a very important area: it is the projection of American "soft power", American political influence, including subversive activity on other states.
Samantha Power is a well-known figure, she combines political aggressiveness with an almost dogmatic belief in the so-called "new American values". She isn't a person that belongs to the school of political realism, a school of thought that believes that it is necessary to take into account the interests of other states and correlate American politics with these interests. Instead, she will be ruthlessly working on increasing American influence in spite of everything and in spite of everything.
Another question is how far will she go to impose American approaches. These "new values" are being met with resistance, even in the countries allied with the United States. Let's say the same same-sex marriages, for which the current American administration and, of course, Samantha Power, ardently advocates, are introduced only in 14 countries of the European Union, and they are not allowed in 13 EU states.
Strengthening American influence through financial injections into certain targeted programs, various kinds of grants, etc., further spreading aggressively liberal ideology and American approaches will be the main task of Samantha Power. From the point of view of combining her activity and the tasks facing her, she, apparently, seems to Biden the optimal candidate.
- Having been in the post of US Ambassador to the UN for quite some time, she must be familiar with the situation in different countries and aware of the weaknesses that she can exploit. Which countries do you think Samantha Power might turn her attention to when she takes over? USAID is now active in the Balkans and Eastern Europe; the organisation has no official presence in Western Europe.
- Eastern Europe remains subject to US political and ideological colonisation because it remains a stronghold of traditional values. If we look at the European Union, we see that the two Eastern European countries, namely Poland and Hungary, are resisting the EU's attempts to impose rigid Brussels values on them. It especially targets public life and aims to weaken traditional values in these countries. Conservative sentiments are also strong in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltic states.
Samantha Power's task will be to subjugate these states to the American foreign policy line as much as possible through and she will have a considerable financial leverage to achieve that goal. The U.S. has the ability to fund non-profit foreign organizations through the agency. I think the financial leverage will be used as much as possible to ensure that the various countries align themselves with American leadership, not only in the sphere of military and politics but also in the area of ideology and values.
I think that the Americans have been nurturing the concept of creating a single global world and would like to see their closest allies, such as Poland or Hungary, complying with the American system. I don't rule out the possibility that a lot of attention will be paid to Turkey as well. Erdogan raises concerns among the American liberal forces with his domestic policies as well as with elements of independence in his foreign policy.
- And what about the CIS?
- As far as the post-Soviet states are concerned, I think the ambition there is still more limited. It consists of funding those programs and organizations that would work to distance these republics away from Russia. The focus is not on values, or on revising traditional approaches, or on encouraging these countries to abandon authoritarianism. In the US perception, these countries can be authoritarian and at the same time be favourable to America if they oppose Russia or curtail interaction with Moscow.
There have already been signals from people in Washington that the Biden administration intends to shift its rivalry with Kremlin to Russia's borders. It will start scrambling for influence in states that are allied with us or that are historically close to us: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and even Belorussia. The US will encourage any anti-Russian sentiment and nurture pro-American attitudes.
By Washington's definition, this is a sort of "gray zone" located between the great powers, namely China, the United States, Russia, and the European Union. These intermediate states, which Washington says have not yet fully determined their political orientation, will be a priority for the State Department and for USAID, which is closely connected to it.
In conversation with Oleg Osipov.
Photo at the top: IZVESTIA/Alexei Mayshev