With Obama vacating the White House in just over three weeks, the outgoing president is seemingly eager to make relations between the US and Russia as untenable as possible in his last days on the job (or as the Russian foreign ministry put it, "after him the deluge" comparing Obama to a certain French monarch) and ignoring today's warning that Russia would immediately respond to any sanctions by the White House, Obama is expected to announce a series of "retaliatory" measure against Russia for "meddling in the US election" as soon as Thursday, CNN reports .
As we detailed previously, the delay in sanctions against Russia had resulted from Obama's inability to take unilateral actions under current laws. While Obama previously signed an executive order that would allow him to freeze the US assets of people overseas who have engaged in cyber acts, it only applies to actions that have threatened U.S. national security or financial stability. Further, per a "senior administration official," use of the existing law would require (1) actual election infrastructure to be designated as 'critical infrastructure' and (2) the administration to prove that such infrastructure was actually "harmed," conditions which the National Security Council say have not been met.
Additionally, earlier reports of Obama sanctions resulting in a warning by the Russian Foreign Ministry which on Wednesday said that any action by the US would lead to a prompt Russian retaliation.
Frankly, we are tired of the lies about the "Russian hackers", which continues to flow into the United States from the very top. The Obama administration has launched six months ago, this misinformation in an attempt to play up the desired for himself a candidate in the November presidential election, and not achieving the desired, looking for an excuse for their own failure, and with a vengeance is played on Russian-American relations.
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It only remains to add that if Washington really takes new hostile steps, it will get the answer. This also applies to any action against Russian diplomatic missions in the United States, which immediately ricocheted on US diplomats in Russia. Perhaps the Obama administration is quite indifferent to what will happen to the bilateral relations, but the story is unlikely to forgive her behavior on the principle of "after us the deluge."
Fast forward just a few hours when CNN reported that the "Obama administration is preparing to announce, as soon as Thursday, a series of retaliation measures against Russia for meddling in the US election" even though the US has yet to demonstrate any evidence of Russian intervention, in effect making any action endorsed by Obama yet another unprovoked strike against a sovereign nation. Perhaps the only difference from the Iraq invasion is that this time the US is not "positive" Russia is also guilty of holding weapons of mass cyberdestruction.
Obama has been under pressure from some Democrats to issue a response to Russia over the hacking before he cedes the White House to Donald Trump in January. Critics fear that Trump, who has expressed a desire for warmer relations with the Kremlin, will take no action against Russia. which seemingly is unacceptable when engaging yet another fact-free narrative fabricated by the CIA.
The actions expected to be unveiled by Obama include expanded sanctions and diplomatic measures, the officials said, in what the administration deems a proportional response to a Russian operation that went beyond cyber hacking activities common among nations.
The problem, as the WaPo noted last night, is that if the administration relies on the original 2015 executive order which will be invoked to launch this diplomatic "retaliation", it will also have to demonstrate some proof that the individuals or entities it names were involved in the scheme, and until now, the White House has provided no documentation to back up its official October assessment that the Russian government was attempting to “interfere” in the U.S. election besides just repeating the allegation over and over and over, as if that somehow makes it true.
Ultimately, any action Obama launches will likely be undone by Trump in less than a month, which is why the only question is how material Obama's action would be, and what if any, the Russian retaliation will be shortly thereafter.