Russia-US Relations: Dim Light Does Not Get Brighter

Authored by Alex Gorka via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The US administration backs the new sanctions on Russia. «The administration is fully supportive of those sanctions», said White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short at a press briefing on July 10.

The statement comes in the wake of US and Russian presidents’ meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Following the event, President Trump said he wanted to move forward «working constructively with Russia». Does he mean that introducing tougher sanctions is a way to promote «constructive» relationship?

«Could the White House be working against it? They well could be. Have they contacted us to work against it? No», said Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). The only worry on the part of the administration is that the bill does not include «certain national waivers that have always been consistently part of sanctions bills in the past». For the administration, a softer bill with a provision for sanctions waivers would be just the thing it wants. It finds the strengthened sanctions and other things to spoil the relations with Russia acceptable.

The legislation had sailed through the Senate to get stalled in the House. It is expected to be voted on till the Congressional recess in August. When in force, it would require a congressional review if President Donald Trump attempted to ease or end punitive actions on Russia. A foreign policy issue is supposed to be delegated to Congress to set an unusual precedent of constrained presidential authority. So, it’s the procedures, not the substance, that evokes the administration’s concern.

In late December, 2016, the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shut down the embassy compounds in Maryland and New York. Back then, Moscow abstained from taking a reciprocal action. President Putin even invited US diplomats and their families to a party in the Kremlin.

More than half a year has passed. The White House has not yet resolved the issue of the compounds. It keeps on hanging in the mid-air to become a serious irritant to affect the bilateral relations. This prompts Russia to consider retaliatory steps. On July 11, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he was «considering specific measures» in response, but did not elaborateAccording to him, it is «simply shameful for such a great country as the United States, a champion of international law, to leave the situation in such a state of suspended animation».

Moscow may well expel a number of American diplomats and seize some US diplomatic buildings to complicate the relationship President Trump says he wants to improve. Obviously, Russia’s patience has run out. After all, the seizure of the embassy property is an egregious violation of the Vienna Convention, it cannot go unanswered forever.

There is another irritant looming. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) filed legislation - the «Russia Arms Trade Limitation Act» - on July 7 to impose fresh sanctions on Russia for violations of the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The lawmaker submitted the proposal as an amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a must-pass annual bill that sets policy for the Defense Department.

The NDAA defense already has a provision saying that if Russia continued to violate the treaty within 15 months of the legislation’s enactment, the United States «would no longer be legally bound by the treaty as a matter of domestic law».

Actually, the bill envisages a unilateral withdrawal without a serious attempt to solve the differences and address Russia’s concerns. The US would make a move to almost certainly launch an arms race without even consulting the European NATO allies. After all, this is a European problem; the intermediate range missiles cannot strike the United States from the Old Continent.

Russia has denied violating the treaty while no explanations have been produced to explain Russia’s accusation that the US Mk-41 launcher installed in Europe as a part of ballistic missile defense is capable of firing long range cruise missiles in a clear breach of the agreement’s terms. Anyway, this is a separate issue to be discussed by experts; it should not negatively affect the whole range of issues on the Russia-US agenda. Disagreeing on the INF Treaty does not prevent the powers from cooperating on Syria and other problems.

The domestic political strife has dealt a heavy blow to the Russia-US relations. The lawmakers have no time for crucial tax and health reforms but they do find time for anti-Russia bills. Congress and media have taken on a hostile attitude towards Russia while the current administration has not taken any real step to improve the ties so far. On the contrary, the Treasury Department even tightened the sanctions on June 20.

Hopes are high for the upcoming meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon. But if the abovementioned bills become laws and the problems continue to pile up, there will hardly be a light to see at the end of the tunnel. This is the wrong environment for achieving progress during the talks on arms control, the fight against terrorism or crisis management to end the ongoing war in Syria.

One thing leads to another. It’s impossible to build mutually beneficial, business-like and pragmatic relations under the conditions of hostile attitude on the part of Congress and inability or unwillingness of the administration to do anything about it.


giovanni_f Troy Ounce Thu, 07/13/2017 - 04:46 Permalink

For the globalist elite there is no "foreign" policy. For a globalist, by definition, there is only "policy" because, you know, that is why he is a globalist, internationalist, interventionist, migration- and world-tax-apologist, world-climate-change-believer. As a matter of fact, the masters of the global agenda couldn't care less of what we, the so-called people, feel, need, want. All they have to to do is to win the local elections and keep the constituency in a constant state of consequence-less discussion over minor issues. And in a couple of years transnational and global institutions will have entirely taken over so that even the outcome of the elections won't matter any longer (which they don't anyway). For a short time, we thought that Donald Trump might be "the one" to throw a monkey wrench in the globalists works, ideally in cooperation with Russia. That's what he said numerous times and there was nobody else to vote for against Hillary, so it was ok to hope for the best (despite our collective experience with the validity of election campaign promises). Turns out the deep state is about to win this last battle.

In reply to by Troy Ounce

BorisTheBlade Thu, 07/13/2017 - 02:20 Permalink

It is, alas, unreasonable to expect any material improvement in relations between the US and Russia. Iron Curtain it is not, but whatever analogue is being erected, the initiative comes from the other side this time around. The Wall is being built and people on both sides will end up paying for it.

World Cash Day Thu, 07/13/2017 - 02:31 Permalink

This Russian lawyer is your last chance Trump - expose everyone behind her machinations and you may still be able to stick to your stated goals.Failure to do so in the next 6 months will confirm you are nothing but a stupid swamp creature you claim to detest.Natalia Veselnitskaya is the string to pull on to unravel everything the CGI scum have been up to Trump.Don't Fail Us Now.DFUN.

dogismycopilot Thu, 07/13/2017 - 02:54 Permalink

The sanctions against Russia are never going away because Russia will never give up Crimea. The good news for Russia is the sanctions have alerted all Russian people that no matter how many Gap shirts, BMWs, or Starbucks coffees they buy, that the west intends to strangle Russia - and Russia is now becoming self sufficient in pretty much everything. President Trump could save the world from nuclear war, but I don't think he is.I really thought President Trump was smarter, but it seems the globalist have tied him up with this Russia canard - according to Roger Stone the rumor is that Mueller intends to drag out this 'special investigation' out for TWO FUCKING YEARS just in time for 2018 mid terms.President Trump's house is burning down and he has no fucking idea. 

Fireman dogismycopilot Thu, 07/13/2017 - 05:18 Permalink

Germany IS going away, however and after that the entire NATO gang will be meaningle$$. USSA and not Russia will be isolated before this is over. Never forget the life's blood for German industry flows from the East, USSA has zilch to "contribute" apart from war, debt and jewish guilt.The sound of flushing as the IOU petroscrip Saudi Mercan toilet paper dollah is ejected from the Ponzi sewer "economy" of war without end....on credit.

In reply to by dogismycopilot

WTFUD Fireman Thu, 07/13/2017 - 08:52 Permalink

That you're not being listened to is a big Tell. Nobody wants to face REALITY that US politics is one pile of Dog Shit, a day-to-day Circus. Without even the support of his own Party ( both Houses he's supposed to CONTROL ) Trump's a LAME DUCK.

Deep State's fighting tooth and nail to hang onto Power, keep the EU in check, away from Russia & China . . . and all the while Russia & China are signing contract after contract with the EU who know where their future bread will be buttered.

Even the Russophobic Merkel has her hands tied by German Business who are heavily invested in Russian Energy Infrastructure.

In reply to by Fireman

Wild E Coyote Thu, 07/13/2017 - 02:45 Permalink

Sanctions are ways to make money.
This method has a long history.
For example, you say, sanction Indonesia and ban sales of F16 spare parts.
Then use third country to get special permission to sell to Indonesia the spare parts at high costs.
Value of anything goes higher when it is forbidden,
However, this time Russian sanctions are made without clause for national waivers.
This basically mean this administration is being boxed in without ability to negotiate.
The US is being stripped of all ability to do business.
Trump seriously look weak and unable to fight the swamp.

Yen Cross Thu, 07/13/2017 - 03:00 Permalink

 I think we need to pull back the sheets, and read, the real book! US ~Ruso relations are better than ever!  All my friends are gone --- they died<

foxenburg Thu, 07/13/2017 - 04:04 Permalink

According to him (Lavrov), it is "simply shameful for such a great country as the United States, a champion of international law""Champion of international law?" The man obviously has a mischievous sense of humour.

Fireman Thu, 07/13/2017 - 05:09 Permalink

If USSANS still don't understand why they are doomed they just need to expose themselves to a lying, rabid, frothing at the snout Pentacon piece of garbage who imagines I$I$ is Russian and USSA is the one saving those unfortunate Syrians. This punk is so filled with hatred and so twisted from his Pentacon Genocide Inc. programming that he cannot contain nor disguise his psychopathy as he spews venom and bile all over a flabbergasted Tucker Carlson, a man seldom lost for words but also obviously contaminated with that hubris of USSAN magnaminity that will have you believe that everything USSAN is good and everything Russian is evil.God help USSA as long as scum like this retarded mutt is dictating genocidal policy.Get the summer of rage going already and cure this cancer before we are all dead!

just the tip Thu, 07/13/2017 - 05:47 Permalink

looking through my side of the prism, russia has no choice.  trump is an outlier and russia knows it.  in a couple of years, maybe six, but i doubt it, trump will be gone, and hillary, john mccain, and lindsay graham can form the tri-council executive branch of gov't that will give us the nuclear holocaust they want.  russia has no choice but to face the inevitable.  so do what's left of the thinking  american public. and no lindsay, russia is not the enemy.  you are the fucking enemy. 

Sandmann Thu, 07/13/2017 - 05:56 Permalink

Having an agreement with the US is like building a house of balsa gust of wind and it is history. The US is rather like the last Chancellor of a sovereign Germany who signed Non-Aggression Pacts with Poland and USSR before invading them