Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014

S. 2277 - A bill to prevent further Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia, and for other purposes. Congressional Bill of the 113th Congress (2013-2014).

To prevent further Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia, and for other purposes. (S.2277: 1)
Estonia is presumably one of these other sovereign states in Europe. I understand (or rather wish) that the US would prevent further aggression towards Estonia and other sovereign states not only neighbouring Russia but that have had the bad luck of being in the vicinity of Russia. In my mind it is very possible that when my own sovereign state does fall victim to Russian invasion, my small country will be a mere roadway to other countries.
Sec. 101. Strengthening United States assistance and force posture in Europe and Eurasia. (S.2277: 2)
Since this is my first ever reading a US government bill, I meet a lot of terms for the first time. "Force posture" is one that immediately jumps at me, since it's a bodily metaphor. It is defined as "a broad definition of "force posture," meaning current force capabilities, where the forces are and how they're postured, military actions taken (whether in exercises or in conflict), infrastructure (including the science and technology base that feeds research, development, testing and engineering, civilian and military personnel, industrial base and economic wherewithal to bring capabilities to fruition quickly) and declaratory policy about all of the above." (here)
The term "domestic financial institution" means a financial institution that is a United States person. (S.2277: 3)
Haha. In US legalese, a financial institution is a person. Presumably such a definition is necessary because actual people with common sense need to be introduced or reminded of that bizarre notion.
IN GENERAL. - Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense, with concurrence by the Secretary of State, shall develop and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a strategic framework for United States security assistance and cooperation in Europe and Eurasia. (S.2277: 5-6)
Now here I have a misunderstanding. I'm not sure how relevant this is, but the Estonian news story that linked me to this bill says: "USA president peab 30 päeva jooksul täpsustama kava ning kinnitama projekti maksumuse." (The US president has to specify the cost of the project and ratify that cast within 30 days.) The actual document suggests that after the bill has been accepted by the Committee on Foreign Relations, then there will be up to half a year to "develop and submit" "a strategic framework". The bill goes on to specify how this "strategic framework" consists of: (A) an evaluation of the threat; (B) an identification of the primary objectives, priorities and desired end-states; (C) a methodology for assessing the effectiveness of US security assistance; and (D) criteria for bi- and multilateral partnerships in such regions. With such officialese, I'm not surprised not many people read these bills. What I get out of it here is that it after the bill is enacted it will take up to half a year to figure out (A) whether to give sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia security assistance, (B) why; (C) how to evaluate the assistance and (D) what to get out of it. I'm just guessing, of course.
Immediate Halt to Current and Planned Redeployments From Europe. - The President [...] shall immediately halt, for a 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, all current and planned redeployments of combat forces from Europe, other than redeployments of forces for which replacement forces are already in place or are planned to be in place, with the intent to maintain force numbers at current levels for the 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act. (S.2277: 7)
This I find interesting. Halting redeployment for this period of reevaluation is a rational decision. It also may mean that contrary to the sovereign states' wish for more US forces in the region, the new "strategic framework" may mean something completely different, such as complete dedeployment (not sure if that's even a word).
(2) strengthen NATO's capabilities to deter and, as needed, to rapidly and appropriately respond, including through the use of military force as necessary, to security crises, including any crisis in Europe and Eurasia created by efforts of any state to undermine the territorial, economic, or political sovereignty or integrity of any NATO member-state; (S.2277: 8-9)
It is notable that this is only the second point in a list of duties that US Permanent Representative to NATO has. The list also includes: (1) to reaffirm US's comitment to the NATO Alliance; (3) to call all other NATO member-states to, basically, contribute to defence spending requirements; and (4) encourage member-states towards energy independence.
  • (a) Plan. -
    • (1) In general. - Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a plan, including a cost estimate, for substantially increasing United States and NATO support for the armed forces of the Republics of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, and other NATO member-states as determined by the President, including substantially increasing -
      • (A) the complement of forward-based NATO forces in those states, through appropriate bilateral agreements; and
      • (B) security assistance, including the provision of defense articles, services, and training by the United States and NATO in those states.
    • (2) Implementation. - Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall begin implementation of the plan required under paragraph (1).
  • (b) Report. - Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 180 days thereafter, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report detailing the specific efforts being undertaken and planned to be undertaken by the United States Government to implement the plan required by subsection (a).
(S.2277: 9-10)
All this seems pretty straight forward, although the vague "security assistance" leaves open whether the US will station troops here.
The President shall direct the United States Permanent Representative to NATO to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to seek consideration by NATO of the wisdom and efficacy of permanently basing NATO forces on a rotational basis in the Republics of Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and other NATO member-states as determined by the President. (S.2277: 11)
Oh, so the Permanent Representative is just going to "seek wisdom" whether to base NATO forces to these republics.
(4) to condemn the continuing and long-standing pattern and practice by the Government of the Russian Federation of physical and economic aggression toward various countries in Europe and Eurasia; (S.2277: 15)
Yeah, a lot of good condemning aggression does. Everyone condemned Russia when it invaded Georgia in 2008. More condemn when it invaded Ukraine in 2014. It's nice to know that the US will probably condemn Russia's actions when it invades Estonia in 2020. This upcoming security assitance will last until 2017, so it won't matter much by that time, but at least the US will condemn Russia's slow but steady Imperial growth. That'll be nice.
(9) to condemn the unjustified activities of agents of the Russian Federation in eastern Ukraine seeking to foment civil unrest and disturbance; (S.2277: 17)
This is also nice to keep in mind. For example, when (not if but exactly when or even when again) Russian agents will forment "civil unrest and disturbance" it'd be nice if the US and international media kept in mind that Russia does have a pattern of using this tactic. In 2007 april riots in Tallinn, this bit got kinda lost in the international media. One russian was killed, while looting a store, by another russian and of course the international media jumped to the conclusion that russians are discriminated in Estonia. Playing the victim is what they do. They did that in Tallinn in 2007, they did it in Georgia in 2008, in Ukraine this year and will most likely do it again anywhere with a large population of russians (Eastern Estonia, the Narva region, for example) any time they will see an opportunity. Ukraine this year was just a good opportunity.
the continued participation of the Russian Federation in the Group of Eight (G-8) states and its receipt of assistance from the World Bank Group should be conditioned on the Government of the Russian Federation respecting the territorial integrity of its neighbors and accepting and adhering to the norms and standards of free, democratic societies; (S.2277: 17-18)
I actually thought Russia was already excluded from the G-8. Oh well, so much for consequences. The part about the Russian government respecting and accepting it's neighbours reminded me of Juri Lotman's characterization of his own nation: "After the fall of Constantinople, the ruler of Moscow becomes the sole independent ruler in the Orthodox world - not considering Georgia, which from the standpoint of Moscow seems more like a fairytale kingdom than a geographical and political fact. According to a medieval ideology wherein only the true believers are attributed the right to existence, all other peoples seemed non-existent; in these terms Moscow becomes the ruler of the whole world." (from Lotman's "Moscow as the Third Rome")
[...] the President shall impose the sanctions [...] to [...] any official or agent of the Government of the Russian Federation, and any close associate or family member of an official of the Government of the Russian Federation, that the President determines is responsible for, participating in, complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing [...] violations of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine beginning in February 2014; (S.2277: 19-20)
This part is actually interesting for my thesis: can there be nonverbal forms of ordering, controlling or directing such actions and how would one prove them without verbal records or reports?
  • (1) In general. - The Secretary of State shall increase efforts, directly or through nongovernmental organizations, to -
    • (A) improve democratic governance, transparency, accountability, rule of law, and anti-corruption efforts in countries of the former Soviet Union;
    • (B) strengthen democratic institutions and political and civil society organizations in countries of the former Soviet Union;
(S.2277: 57)
Hmm. In a perfect world this option would be used to drive the corrupt mayor of Tallinn out of office. This could very well be done on the pretext of the previous section in the bill: "Crimea annexation nonrecognition". Estonians were greatly annoyed by the mayor Edgar Savisaar recognizing the annexation of Crimea by Russia as "legitimate". His connections with Russia are well known, but he and members of his party didn't show up to a vote of no-confidence and it failed due to lack of quorum (this).
near-term increases in Russian-language broadcasting in other priority countries including Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia; (S.2277: 60)
Personally I doubt if this will have any significant effect. The russian minorities in the Baltic states are "hooked" on Russian television, media and propaganda in general. As little as I have communicated with local russians, they seem to think that America is intending to nuke them. I was born after the cold war was over, but it does feel like it's back.


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