Neocons Want Trump Acting Tougher on Russia
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Bipartisan neocons infesting Washington want Russia marginalized, weakened, contained and isolated.
They’re recklessly heading things toward possible nuclear war, unthinkable madness if launched.
Endless Russia bashing persists, things invented to vilify the country and its leadership. US imperialism works this way, a diabolical plot for world conquest, colonization and dominance no matter the human cost.
In a letter to Trump, top-ranking Senate Armed Services Committee members John McCain and Ben Cardin claimed congressional sanctions imposed last summer on Russia haven’t been implemented – the so-called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATS).
Enacted on August 2, Trump issued a statement saying “(w)hile I favor tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior by Iran, North Korea, and Russia, this legislation is significantly flawed.”
“In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions.”
“My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress in these various provisions and will implement them in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations” – indicating he may not enforce certain provisions, notably with regard to Russia.
A second statement said “(t)he bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate.”
“By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together.”
On August 2, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said newly enacted US sanctions on his country breached the nuclear deal, indicating an appropriate reaction from his government.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry called unilateral US sanctions “outrageous leverage to (serve) its own interests.”
Russia responded to the legislation by ordering Washington to reduce its embassy and consular staff to 455 personnel – equaling Russian diplomatic staff in America.
A US retreat and storage facility in Moscow were ordered closed, Putin saying he personally ordered the action in response to unacceptable US behavior toward his country – including end of August closure, seizure and searches of Russian diplomatic facilities in San Francisco, Washington and New York.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry attributed new congressional sanctions to “Russophobic hysteria,” reserving the right to respond appropriately.
Prime Minister Medvedev said Trump was displeased with the legislation but signed it anyway. Apparently he hasn’t implemented its provisions on Russia, at least not to the satisfaction of neocons McCain and Cardin.
In a letter to Trump, they said “it is imperative that your Administration implement the law to its fullest extent to uphold and protect American interests.”
“Congress’ swift and united action, and your signature, sent a strong message to our allies and adversaries alike, and particularly to those such as Russia, who have sought to undermine our democracy.”
The latter comment referred to nonexistent Russian US election hacking. No US democracy exists.
On Friday, the White House released a memo, directing the State Department, Treasury and Director of National Intelligence to decide on implementing congressional sanctions on Russia.
McCain and Cardin want administration agencies to brief them on what they’re doing. Part of what they’re up to is an attempt to curtail Russian arms exports to benefit US defense firms, their letter saying:
“As the Russian Federation is the second largest arms exporter in the world, arms purchases remain an area of vigilant oversight.”
“The administration should also take full advantage of a provision of the law that allows it to urge countries to significantly decrease Russian arms purchases to avoid sanctions.”
There you have it. Congressional sanctions aim to harm Russia economically, benefitting corporate America, notably its arms and munitions manufacturers, along with its energy industry, hoping to increase US natural gas exports to European countries at the expense of Gazprom.
The legislation prevents Trump from lifting sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea without congressional permission- for sure not forthcoming.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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