Respecting Tribal Sovereignty: A Statement of History and Principles

Steve Schwartzberg, Illinois 5th District Congressional Candidate

(schwartzbergforcongress.com)

Jeff Ballinger, Massachusetts 3rd District Congressional Candidate

(ballingerforcongress.com)

Endorsers’ List in formation, 9 February 2018

Respecting Tribal Sovereignty

A Statement of History and Principles

If there is to be meaningful repentance on the part of the American people for our ongoing unethical conduct toward the Indian nations, it must begin with a determination to keep our word to the tribes as we have given it in the treaties we have made with them. This means respecting tribal sovereignty. It means recognizing that under the Constitution as the framers intended it, as well as under international law, the tribes have all the rights of foreign states, including the right to sue states of the United States in the Supreme Court for violations of their treaty rights. It means reopening a treaty-making process with the native peoples, governing our relations with them in accordance with treaties, and ceasing any attempt to rule over them as if they were in any way our subjects or subject to our jurisdiction.

We must overturn the Supreme Court’s mistaken decision in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia in 1831—the decision that paved the way for the American version of “ethnic cleansing” that became known as the Trail of Tears and Death, and for countless subsequent injustices and brutalities. The American people must understand and repudiate this decision if we are to move toward respect for the rule of law in our relations with the native peoples.

For the framers of our Constitution, treaties with the Indian tribes were the same as treaties with any other foreign power. In the words of Article 6 of the Constitution, “all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” James Wilson—who had served on the committee of detail in the constitutional convention—defended this language in the Pennsylvania ratifying convention in 1787: “This clause, sir, will show the world that we make the faith of treaties a constitutional part of the character of the United States; that we secure its performance no longer nominally, for the judges of the United States will be enabled to carry it into effect, let the legislatures of the different states do what they may.”

The opponents of American “ethnic cleansing” in the 1830s noted the reasons why the sovereignty of the native peoples should be respected. Dismissing any claim that their rights could be denied because the Indians were “savages,” Rhode Island Senator Asher Robbins asked in 1830: “Is the Indian right less a right because the Indian is a savage? Or does our civilization give us a title to his right? A right which he inherits equally with us, from the gift of nature and of nature’s God. The Indian is a man, and has all the rights of man. The same God who made us made him, and endowed him with the same rights; for ‘of one blood hath he made all the men who dwell upon the earth.’” Or as the activist Jeremiah Evarts argued in 1830: “The people of the United States are bound to regard the Cherokees and other Indians, as men; as human beings, entitled to receive the same treatment as Englishmen, Frenchmen, or ourselves, would be entitled to receive in the same circumstances. Here is the only weak place in their cause. They are not treated as men; and if they are finally ejected from their patrimonial inheritance by arbitrary and unrighteous power, the people of the United States will be impeached and condemned for treating the Indians, not as men, but as animals.” To this day, the native peoples’ right to equality under the law has yet to be respected.

And where is the authority, either in the constitution or in the practice of the government,” as Supreme Court Associate Justices Smith Thompson and Joseph Story argued in their dissenting opinion in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia in 1831, “for making any distinction between treaties made with the Indian nations and any other foreign power?”

That the Cherokees constituted a foreign state, with treaty rights that the United States was obliged to respect, was a position eloquently maintained by the opponents of “removal,” such as Congressman Henry Storrs of New York in 1830, who argued that the good faith behind generations of treaties was at stake. The bad faith of the advocates of “removal” was similarly on display. Thus, according to Georgia’s Senator John Forsyth in 1830, “a contract made with a petty dependent tribe of half starved Indians” could not “be properly dignified with the name, and claim the imposing character of, a treaty.” The contrast between Forsyth’s position, and that of the American government to that time, is striking. That all a “foreign state” was to the framers of the Constitution was another state possessing dominion—and that the Indian tribes qualified as such—is clear from George Washington’s successful appeal to the Senate of the United States in 1789 to establish the practice of ratifying treaties made with the Indian nations: “It doubtless is important that all treaties and compacts formed by the United States with other nations, whether civilized or not, should be made with caution and executed with fidelity.”

In the late 1820s, acting on contempt for the native peoples, greed for their land, and a fanatic belief in “states’ rights,” the legislature of Georgia illegally sought to extend its jurisdiction over the Cherokee Nation. “And be it further enacted,” one Georgia law of 1829 read, “That after the first day of June next, all laws, ordinances, orders and regulations of any kind whatever, made, passed, or enacted by the Cherokee Indians, either in general council or in any way whatever, or by any authority whatever of said tribe, be, and the same are hereby declared to be null and void and of no effect, as if the same had never existed.”

As late as 25 March 1825, the governor of Georgia had issued a proclamation warning that state’s citizens from trespassing on Indian lands as the obligations of treaties that were the “supreme law” prohibited such trespass. Four years later, these Georgians managed to convince themselves that an imagined “discovery” centuries earlier, and a nonexistent “conquest,” were somehow superior to the Cherokee Nation’s treaty rights because Georgia was allegedly “sovereign,” with “states’ rights” that the Constitution supposedly could not supersede.

Ignoring the Treaty of Holston of 1791 when the issue reached the Supreme Court—a treaty in which the United States pledged to “solemnly guarantee to the Cherokee nation all their lands”—Chief Justice John Marshall conflated the geographical with the political meaning of the word “foreign” in his opinion. Marshall argued that the Indian tribes, although certainly states, were not “foreign” to the United States, and hence not “foreign states,” but were, instead, “domestic dependent nations” and so did not have standing to sue the state of Georgia for its violations of their treaty rights. This is the heart of Marshall’s mistaken position: “We perceive plainly that the constitution in this article does not comprehend Indian tribes in the general term ‘foreign nations;’ not we presume because a tribe may not be a nation, but because it is not foreign to the United States.”

Marshall claimed, in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, that when “the term ‘foreign state’ is introduced [in the Constitution], we cannot impute to the [constitutional] convention the intention … to comprehend Indian tribes within it unless the context force that construction on us. We find nothing in the context, and nothing in the subject of the article, which leads to it.” In fact, a moment’s reflection on why the framers granted foreign states the right to sue states of the United States will suffice to force precisely that construction. The intention was to improve the faith and credit that foreign nations could place in the United States to keep its word. It was a matter of virtue, honor, and a self-interest centering on the establishment of a new mechanism with which to contribute to prosperity, and to the maintenance of peace, by upholding established agreements and resolving international controversies through the American judiciary. For the framers, all of the treaties the United States made were part of “the supreme law of the land.” The framers had no reason to doubt that the Indian tribes were foreign nations, with whom the United States had entered into legally binding treaties, and would never have sought to escape their obligations with the novel and deceptive phrase: “domestic dependent nations.”

Deprived of the protection of the law by Marshall’s sleight of hand with the word “foreign,” the Cherokee Nation was coerced into a fraudulent treaty in 1835 that former president John Quincy Adams called an “eternal disgrace upon the country.” The overwhelming majority of the Cherokee people were then coerced onto a forced march, as most of their native American neighbors already had been, to what would eventually become Oklahoma. The departure of 13,149 Cherokees was noted by the Cherokee principal chief in the fall of 1838. Arrivals in Indian Territory, as counted by an American official there, came to 11,504. The difference—the lower end estimate of 1,645 who did not survive the journey—does not include those who died in American internment camps in the summer of 1838 or those who died among the groups removed earlier by the army. Those who survived among the groups that left earlier may even be included in the 11,504. This horror took place because of the Supreme Court’s failure to uphold the law. It was the prelude to many subsequent horrors from the theft of the Black Hills to the Dawes Act to the “termination” policy of the mid-twentieth century.

It is remarkable that American conduct can be met with the compassionate attitude conveyed in the following comment from the Cherokee jurist Steve Russell, who, after noting that an almost bottomless well of collective guilt “keeps the modern beneficiaries of genocide from finishing the job,” later writes: “We know the colonists could not now go home if they were so disposed. Our lot is intertwined with the colonists as black South Africans are with the British and the Dutch. They have nowhere to go. While they have not historically been the best of neighbors, they are still our neighbors and we must do our best to civilize them.”

The Supreme Court’s mistaken decision in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia must be overturned either by recognition on the part of the Supreme Court that it was mistaken or by constitutional amendment.1 There is no other way to respect the rights of the tribes to equality under the law. The Supreme Court’s partial acknowledgement of its mistake, in Worcester v. Georgia in 1832, is important, but inadequate. To go from the language of: “If it be true that the Cherokee Nation have rights” in 1831 to an explicit recognition of their right to tribal sovereignty in 1832 was progress, but it was marred by the ongoing delusion that the native peoples were somehow “wards” of the United States—“domestic dependent nations,” a legal status to which they never agreed. A constitutional amendment to correct this might read as follows: “The Indian tribes are sovereign nations with the right of foreign states to sue states of the United States, and the United States itself, in the Supreme Court for any violation of their treaty rights.  The United States shall govern its relations with the Indian tribes in accordance with the treaties it has made or will make with them.  The Supreme Court, in seeking to adjudicate disputes, will do so in accordance with these treaties.  The United States shall keep open a treaty making process with the Indian tribes, and with any confederation of these tribes, for as long as the tribes so desire.

There is no better way to begin to address the foundations of the extreme injustice that has marked relations with the native peoples especially since 1831, but even before. As recently as 1978, in United States v. Wheeler, the Supreme Court went so far as to claim that “the sovereignty that the Indian tribes retain … exists only at the sufferance of Congress, and is subject to complete defeasance.” This absurd and obscene position, which is completely dependent on the Supreme Court’s mistaken decision in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, must be repudiated.

Any small “d” democrat repudiates the Supreme Court’s decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, in 1857, holding that “A free negro of the African race, whose ancestors were brought to this country and sold as slaves, is not a ‘citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States.” The same repudiation should be directed toward the Supreme Court’s decision in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia holding that “The Cherokee Nation is not a foreign state in the sense in which the term ‘foreign state’ is used in the Constitution of the United States.” And this for much the same reason: both decisions violate basic notions of equality and fairness that are intrinsic to America’s deepest understanding of the country’s Constitution and purposes. In both decisions, there was an attempt to change the meaning of a previously more inclusive term—“foreign state” or “citizen”—and on spurious grounds deny its applicability to those deemed inferior in an effort to deprive them of their constitutional rights.

The Supreme Court’s failure to respect the sovereign equality of the Indian nations runs through every decision the court has made since 1831 on what the American Bar Association refers to as “Federal Indian Law.” But some decisions are obviously worse than others. Steve Russell, in his book—Sequoyah Rising—lists many cases that require no more than common sense and an instinct for right and wrong to believe should be reversed and which might easily be corrected by the Congress. In 1978, in Oliphant v. Squamish Indian Tribe, the court took away the right of tribal courts to hear misdemeanors involving white people who have come to Indian land. In 1989, in Cotton Petroleum Corporation v. New Mexico, the Supreme Court allowed states to tax what little the tribes have left by imposing a state severance tax to be added to a tribal severance tax on minerals removed from tribal land. In 2005, in City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation, the Supreme Court held that Indian tribes cannot regain sovereignty over lands they once owned by purchasing those lands on the open market. All of these decisions should be corrected.

The American people are meant to be what James Wilson called “sovereigns without subjects.” Just as we must prevent the 1% from making subjects of the rest of us, we—the American people—must cease attempting to rule over the native peoples as if they were in any way our subjects or subject to our jurisdiction. We must pursue equality under the law for all the citizens of our country and respect the sovereign equality of every nation in the world under what Senator Asher Robbins called “the gift of nature and of nature’s God.”

The struggle for justice for the native peoples is at the heart of the struggle for democracy for all Americans—the heart of the struggle to more fully live into the ideals of the American Revolution and of the international moral and legal order under which every people, and ultimately every individual, claims their rights—the struggle to be genuinely self-governing.

1 Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, in a 2003 article on the subject for the Georgia Historical Society, recognized at least one of the fundamental mistakes in the reasoning in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia: “Strangely absent from Chief Justice Marshall’s opinion is an explicit discussion of a related (but different) jurisdictional claim that one of the Cherokee’s lawyers had made. The first paragraph of art. 3 says the ‘judicial power of the United States’ also shall extend to cases ‘arising under… Treaties.’ The Cherokees had argued that their case ‘arises under a treaty.’ Consequently paragraph one, they said, extended the federal judicial power to the case; paragraph two provides original jurisdiction in the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Marshall did not describe the flaw, if any, in this jurisdictional logic.” Stephen Breyer, The Cherokee Indians and the Supreme Court, 87 The Georgia Historical Quarterly, No. 3/4 (Fall/Winter 2003), 408, 416.

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News Update from SD Congressional Candidate Steven Schwartzberg

Dear David and Rick,

Sorry to have been out of touch for a week.  A lot has happened in the campaign and here are some links that SDers may find of interest.  Please feel free to share:

A newsletter on “Immigration and Trump’s ‘America First’ Idolatry” (http://conta.cc/2GFISdw)
A newsletter “From the Captured Economy to a Freedom Budget”
In solidarity,
Steve
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From the Captured Economy to a Freedom Budget

For more information about this campaign in the Illinois 5th District, which has been endorsed by the Illinois Berniecrats: schwartzbergforcongress.com
From the Captured Economy to a Freedom Budget
The contrast between two books on economic reform that I have just finished reading is striking. The first, addressing the “captured” economy as it stands at present, offers hope in a return to a more liberal and less corrupt capitalism. The second, focusing on a program of reform advanced by leaders of the Socialist Party in the 1960s—a Freedom Budget—offers a much more profound hope of changing not merely the American economy but even the ways we relate to one another as human beings. I believe we can learn from both books and should adopt policies that draw on both approaches.
Seeking to reduce the extent to which our economy has been captured by the financial sector is a first step toward the reform of the American economy—a first step toward making that economy serve the common good instead of the 1%. Ultimately, our sights should be set on the realization of the full promise of American democracy. This will require winning the support of the American people for the strategy behind the Freedom Budget.
In The Captured Economy, two economists, Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles (one a libertarian and the other a liberal), work together to clarify some of the ways in which the government putting its thumb on the scales to favor the rich has contributed both to increasing inequality and to slow economic growth: “This favoritism obviously exacerbates inequality, but its side effect is to reduce the competition and dynamism upon which economic growth depends. Accordingly, we now have the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. If we can scale back regressive redistribution [basically governmental policies that amount to Robin Hood in reverse], we can enjoy more growth and a more equal society.” As an example of a change in the rules of the game benefitting the rich and harming the economy, Lindsey and Teles note that one of the consequences of the change in the tax code since Eisenhower has been to incentivize companies to bid competitively for CEO and administrative talent—to increase their salaries far beyond those of the ordinary worker (and far beyond any value added that they could actually provide). This is, in my opinion, one reason why we should restore Eisenhower era tax rates and tax income from capital gains at the same rate as income earned by work.
The data Lindsey and Teles present on the excessive growth of the financial sector is dramatic. Between 1980 and 2006, the financial sector’s share of GDP rose from 4.9 percent to 8.3 percent. By 2004, the top 25 hedge fund managers earned more than all the CEOs of the S&P 500 combined. Financial executives and professionals constitute 14 percent of the top 1 percent of earners and 18 percent of the top 0.1 percent. Beyond inadequacies in governmental regulation and oversight, the financial sector has grown as governmental bailouts have artificially reduced the risks of excessive leverage. If the government had bailed out Main Street as well as Wall Street, the damage would have been less severe, but there would still have been distortions that worked to the advantage of those relying excessively on short term debt. This is particularly true as compensation practices in the financial sector involve return on equity as a major factor in determining executive compensation, providing executives with a personal incentive to lever as much as possible. As Lindsey and Teles argue:
“In short, financial firms’ extreme reliance on debt makes them a house of cards that any stiff breeze can topple…. But there is no necessary reason why loans, by banks or anybody else, have to be funded by short-term liabilities. Institutions funded purely by equity, or funded by equity to a considerably greater extent than banks are today, are perfectly capable of making loans…. A bank with much more equity financing than is the norm today, say equal to 30 percent of assets, would still face liquidity risk as its short-term liquid liabilities would usually far exceed its liquid assets. Yet its insolvency risk would be much lower than that of a typical bank today because its relatively large equity cushion would allow it to weather a sizeable downturn in the value of its assets.”  This is a direction in which American policy should move. It will mean shrinking the size of the financial sector, which will be painful for those within it, but this will benefit the real economy by making crashes like the Great Recession less likely and by moving people into more productive careers.
In their history, A Freedom Budget for All Americans, Paul Le Blanc and Michael Yates, tell the story of the great civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph’s call for a national commitment to abolish poverty in America within ten years with specific investments in public education, in housing, in health care, and in job creation—guaranteeing a job for everyone who wanted work through a budget designed by Leon Keyserling, who had been the chairman of Harry Truman’s Council of Economic Advisors.
A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, Max Shachtman, Michael Harrington, and Tom Kahn—all of them but King leaders of the Socialist Party—were the moving forces behind the strategy behind the Freedom Budget. Le Blanc and Yates summarize that strategy as follows:
“The Jim Crow system, politically vulnerable as it was, and standing in clear violation of the intentions of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, was the obvious first target for a movement dedicated to the elimination of racism in the United States. The nonviolent but unrelenting assault on one of the pillars of institutional racism, in an extended campaign employing moral, religious, and democratic rhetoric so central to the culture and history of the United States, would be able to mobilize considerable popular support.”
“This strategy would intensify the personal racism of some individuals, bringing it out into the open and consequently making it easier to address and deal with than if it remained submerged. For others, all of this would cause them to examine and move away from aspects of their own personal racism, and in many cases to commit themselves to the popular struggle to overcome the racism that had been so central to American society for so many years.”
“The consciousness and momentum of this crusade against the Jim Crow system could stand as a preliminary stage for confronting the other aspects of institutional racism, which would require a more fundamental social and economic transformation.”
“This transformation could only be realized effectively by attacking racism’s underlying economic roots, which in turn could only be done effectively by developing a broader program for economic justice: decent jobs, housing, education, and health care for all, as a matter of right. Though such a program would be initiated by blacks, it would be powerfully relevant to a majority of whites. The resulting interracial coalition for economic justice would have the dual function of eliminating the roots of institutional racism and creating an atmosphere of idealism and common struggle that would help to further push back various forms of individual racism. If there was abundance and a decent life for every person, then the fearful competition for scarce resources, an essential breeding ground and one of the material bases of racism, would be eliminated, and this would strengthen the sense of interracial solidarity generated through the shared struggle for a better life for all people.”
That was the strategy behind the Freedom Budget in the 1960s and it remains the strategy behind calls for a Freedom Budget for the 21st century; calls the Democratic Party must embrace.
In the late 1970s, I had the great good fortune—as a political activist in high school with the Social Democrats, USA—to get to know both Bayard Rustin, the group’s national chairman, and Tom Kahn, another amazing orator who was particularly influential with the organization’s youth group. The vision of social democracy, or democratic socialism, that they offered has shaped my life. My first book was described in Foreign Affairs in 2005 as the work of “A passionate pro-labor Social Democrat.” As Tom Kahn once suggested, in conveying Max Shachtman’s view, it’s all about realizing the promise of democracy:
“Freedom and democracy—they were not abstractions; they were real and could therefore be destroyed. Communist totalitarianism was not merely a political force, an ideological aberration that could be smashed in debate; it was a monstrous physical force. Democracy was not merely the icing on the socialist cake. It was the cake—or there was no socialism worth fighting for. And if socialism was worth fighting for here, it was worth fighting for everywhere: socialism was nothing if it was not profoundly internationalist.”
This faith in the universal promise of social democracy remains, together with my religious faith, at the foundation of my view of the world and my reasons for running for Congress in the Illinois 5th District. For those who are interested, I addressed what I see as the connection between religion and politics in a speech on “America and the Kingdom” that I gave to the 144-year-old Chicago Literary Club in October 2017 that is available here: http://www.schwartzbergforcongress.com/news-letters/
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News from our Congressional Candidate Steven Schwartzberg

Dear David and Rick,

Please circulate these two links.  The first is to a video interview I did with Hard Lens Media last week (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2Rbj203tf0&feature=youtu.be).  The second is to a speech I gave on Monday on what I call the unconstitutionality of the Supreme Court’s decision in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia in 1831—the decision that paved the way for the Trail of Tears and Death—a decision that must be understood and repudiated if we are to move toward respect for the rule of law in our relations with the native peoples.  The text of my speech is available for download as the second item under the newsletters and speeches tab on my webpage (http://www.schwartzbergforcongress.com/news-letters/).
I hope to have another newsletter on the Freedom Budget out tomorrow…
In solidarity,
Steve
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U.S. Senator Ben Cardin Releases Report Detailing Two Decades of Putin’s Attacks on Democracy, Calling for Policy Changes to Counter Kremlin Threat Ahead of 2018, 2020 Elections

January 10, 2018

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin Releases Report Detailing Two Decades of Putin’s Attacks on Democracy, Calling for Policy Changes to Counter Kremlin Threat Ahead of 2018, 2020 Elections

U.S. Remains Vulnerable to Russian Interference without Unequivocal Presidential Leadership, Learning Lessons from European Democracies 

Top Foreign Relations Committee Democrat Makes Series of Recommendations to Counter Putin’s Asymmetric Arsenal, Bolster Defenses Ahead of Future U.S., European, Elections

 

WASHINGTON – A Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff report released Wednesday and commissioned by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the Committee’s ranking member, details Russian president Vladimir Putin’s nearly two decades-long assault on democratic institutions, universal values, and the rule of law across Europe and in his own country. The report comes one year after Senator Cardin introduced the Counteracting Russian Hostilities Act of 2017, which served as the basis for the sanctions package signed into law last August, and makes a series of recommendations to adequately bolster U.S. and European defenses and counter the growing Kremlin threat to democratic institutions.

Putin’s Asymmetrical Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security,” finds that President Trump’s refusal to publicly acknowledge the threat posed by the Russian government has hampered efforts to mobilize our government, strengthen our institutions, and work with our European allies to counter Putin’s interference in democracies abroad.

Never before in American history has so clear a threat to national security been so clearly ignored by a U.S. president, and without a strong U.S. response, institutions and elections here and throughout Europe will remain vulnerable to the Kremlin’s aggressive and sophisticated malign influence operations.

“As the extent of Russia’s obvious meddling in the 2016 U.S. election continues to be investigated, it is imperative that the American people better understand the true scope and scale of Putin’s pattern of undermining democracy in Russia and across Europe. That is why I commissioned this report shortly after the 2016 election,” Senator Cardin said. “This threat existed long before President Trump took office, and unless he takes action now, it will continue long after his administration.  While President Trump stands practically idle, Mr. Putin continues to refine his asymmetric arsenal and look for future opportunities to disrupt governance and erode support for the democratic and international institutions that the United States and Europe have built over the last 70 years.

“President Trump must be clear-eyed about the Russian threat, take action to strengthen our government’s response and our institutions, and – as have other president’s in times of crisis – mobilize our country and work with an international coalition to counter the threat and assert our values,” Cardin continued.

Across eight chapters and several appendices, the report meticulously details the tools the Russian government has repeatedly deployed from its asymmetric arsenal, and how the Kremlin has learned and perfected its techniques attacking democracy both internally and abroad. Such tools – drawn largely from a Soviet-era playbook, but updated with new technologies – include military incursions, cyberattacks, disinformation, support for fringe political groups, and the weaponization of energy resources, organized crime and corruption.

Putin first developed his techniques at home, against his own people. In Russia, he repressed independent civil society, journalists, and the political opposition, while manipulating cultural and religious institutions, the media, and fueling a corrupt kleptocracy to bolster his regime and increase his net worth. Putin’s increasing aggression abroad is directly related to his need to maintain power at home. As he looks to maintain power in Russia, he is likely to step up his attacks on democracies around the world.

Some European countries have shored up their democracies with a strategic, whole-of-government approach: publicly warning Moscow of consequences if it meddles; mobilizing various sectors of society to neutralize and push back against Kremlin disinformation; and confronting Russian efforts to use corruption as a tool of influence. It is time for the United States to take similar actions.

The report includes more than 30 recommendations for the U.S. and its allies.  Key recommendations include:

  • First, Mr. Trump must demonstrate presidential leadership by declaring it is U.S. policy to deter all forms of Russian hybrid threats and begin to mobilize our government in defense. He should establish a high-level inter-agency fusion cell, modeled on the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), to coordinate all elements of U.S. policy and programming in response to the Kremlin’s malign influence operations.
  • Second, the U.S. government should provide assistance, in concert with allies in Europe, to build democratic institutions within those European and Eurasian states most vulnerable to Russian government interference. As part of this effort, the President should convene an annual global summit on hybrid threats, modeled on the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL or the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) summits. To reinforce these efforts, members in the U.S. Congress have a clear responsibility to show U.S. leadership on values by making democracy and human rights a central part of their agendas. They should conduct committee hearings and use other platforms and opportunities to publicly advance these issues.
  • Third, the United States and our allies should expose and freeze Kremlin-linked dirty money.  The U.S. Treasury Department should make public any intelligence related to Mr. Putin’s personal corruption and wealth stored abroad, and take steps with our European allies to cut off Mr. Putin and his inner circle from the international financial system.
  • Fourth, the U.S. government should designate countries that employ malign influence operations to assault democracies as State Hybrid Threat Actors and subject them to a preemptive, escalatory sanctions regime that would be applied whenever the state uses asymmetric weapons like cyberattacks to interfere with a democratic election or disrupt a country’s critical infrastructure. The U.S. government should also produce yearly public reports that detail the Russian government’s malign influence operations in the U.S. and around the world.
  • Fifth, the U.S. government and NATO should lead a coalition of countries committed to mutual defense against cyberattacks, to include the establishment of rapid reaction teams to defend allies under attack. The U.S. government should also call a special meeting of the NATO heads of state to review the extent of Russian government-sponsored cyberattacks among member states and develop formal guidelines on how the Alliance will consider such attacks in the context of NATO’s Article 5 collective defense provision.
  • Finally, U.S. and European governments should mandate that social media companies make public the sources of funding for political advertisements, along the same lines as TV channels and print media. Social media companies should conduct comprehensive audits on how their platforms may have been used by Kremlin-linked entities to influence elections occurring over the past several years, and should establish civil society advisory councils to provide input and warnings about emerging disinformation trends and government suppression. In addition, they should work with philanthropies, governments, and civil society to promote media literacy and reduce the presence of disinformation on their platforms.

The full report and some accompanying summary documents can be found at the following links:

###

Press Contact

Sean Bartlett, 202.224.4651, Sean_Bartlett@foreign.senate.gov

 


    helloworld


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