Jatras: "Isolated Trump Flails Helplessly, Bows To Irrational Policies On Russia & Europe Imposed By Congress"

Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

President Donald Trump has signed the sanctions bill against Russia, North Korea, and Iran. With the near-unanimous, veto-proof margin by which the so-called «Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act» was passed by both the House and the Senate, Trump was in a lose-lose position.

In the signing statement issued by the White House, Trump and his advisers tried to put a brave face on what can only be seen as a humiliating defeat. Despite some cosmetic changes –

«– the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. 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. The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.


«Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary». [Emphasis added]

To suggest this absurd, dangerous, and unconstitutional law can be characterized as representing a desire «to see Russia take steps to improve relations» with the US is the opposite of the truth.

The conscious purpose of this law is to make sure that no steps to improve ties can be taken for decades to come. In that, it will be a success. The US Deep State has boxed Trump in, there’s nothing he or anyone else can do about it. Cold War 2 will almost certainly be a fact of life – for many, many years.

Unless we stumble into a Hot War between the US and Russia, which could be of considerably shorter duration...

Trump’s ubiquitous critics slammed his disparagement of the bill even as he signed it. «I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars», Trump jabbed. «That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress». True of course. But this is less defiance than helpless flailing at the air. Trump is alone. He knows it, and so does everyone else.

Not only is Congress almost totally united against his foreign policy campaign positions, almost everyone in his own administration is too. Personnel selections in foreign and national security policy are overwhelmingly from the neoconservative and Republican «Never Trump» camp informally led by former losing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Trump loyalists and people who might actually agree with his campaign positions are systematically blackballed. Those getting jobs in the administration are sometimes, to the extent humanly possible, even worse than the Obama appointees they are slowly supplanting. On Russia, anyway, it seems about the only Trumper in his administration is the president himself. Even his cutoff of CIA weapons to al-Qaeda linked jihadists cannot be secure as the «al-Assad has no role in the future governing of Syria» meme returns.

In the end, Moscow has accepted the reality that «US politics have been captured by the Russophobic forces that have been pushing Washington toward the path of confrontation». While pro forma Russia continues to hold out the principle that it still «stands ready to normalize bilateral relations with the United States and cooperate on major international issues... on the basis of equality, mutual respect and a balance of interests», they know the real score. The new law signed by Trump is tantamount to a «full-scale trade war», conceded Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. «The hope that our relations with the new American administration would improve is finished». Finished.

No one can take seriously the spin from Vice President Mike Pence that the US continues «to believe that if Russia will change its behavior, our relationship can change for the good and improve for the interests in both of our countries and the interest of peace and stability in this region and around the world». Putting aside the air of lecturing an unruly child, «behavior» has nothing to do with it. Moscow could hand Crimea back to Ukraine, escort Kiev’s troops into the Donbass on a red carpet, and hang Bashar al-Assad from a Damascus lamp post, but the sanctions would remain and be progressively tightened. Look how long it took to get rid of Jackson-Vanik far after its ostensible purpose was long since moot.

Note that the Vice President’s comments took place on a tour of Estonia, Montenegro, and Georgia, three countries (one really can’t call Montenegro a «nation») that are totally useless for defending America against Russia or anyone else but constitute part of a «C»-shaped loop around Russia’s western perimeter. Also note that Macedonia may soon also get pulled in, stepping up the pressure for Serbia’s and Bosnia-and-Herzegovina’s absorption. Even the mafia-ruled, terror-rife pseudo-state of Kosovo it getting come-hither looks.

The more the merrier! Tighten that noose! When all’s said and done, the Russophobic impulse controlling US policy is not about what the Russians have done but who they are: Russia delenda est. Hostility toward Russia is not a means to an end – it is the end.

Meanwhile, American prestige media post literally irrational headlines like «Russia's Military Drills Near NATO Border Raise Fears of Aggression». This refers to circumstances where (1) we pull in «allies» that are useless in defending us but are ideal forward offensive platforms, (2) we string our military bases around Russia, and (3) make a big show of provocative troop, air, and naval movements right on the Russians’ borders and on the edge of their territorial waters, but (4) they’re the provocative and «aggressive» ones for moving troops around on their own territory.

With this bill now signed into law, we presumably will see some Russian response, without the delay of the ill-founded delusion that restraint will be rewarded. But the fact is, when it comes to sanctions ping-pong, Russia is in an inherently weaker position. While western observers often overestimate the damage sanctions do to the Russian economy, there’s very little Russia can do to the US economy. The volume of bilateral trade is too low, the disparity in economic and financial power is just too great, the US role in the world financial system is too pervasive, as is our hold over our subservient satellites, who will likely suffer more damage than Russia.

Perhaps the Europeans will begin to see that the people making policy in Washington are not really their friends, though that would require both courage and wisdom from the likes of Merkel, Macron, and May – not a good bet. So far, it’s just noise:

«European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned of potential collateral damage to Europe’s energy market, as the sanctions could inadvertently hit European companies involved with Russia’s energy-export pipelines. One such pipeline, the Nord Stream 2 [JGJ: The EU Commission didn’t worry about their policies’ «collateral damage» to South Stream, when the beneficiaries would have been southern Europe and the Balkans], which aims to carry natural gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, involves several European companies. ‘«America First» cannot mean that Europe’s interests come last,’ Juncker said, adding that the Commission would be ready to act ‘within a matter of days’ if their concerns were not addressed». 

The irony of course is that it’s not Trump’s «America First» that is responsible but exactly the opposite: the efforts of the US establishment – which the EU loves, and vice versa – to torpedo Trump! But if Trump’s unpopularity in Europe can be used as a means to rally opposition to the US sanctions, it may have some value. Hypocrisy has its uses.

As we move forward into an increasingly dangerous world perhaps Moscow will focus less on striking back against the US than on self-protection: breaking off reliance on the US dollar, refocusing their energy and other vital sectors toward Asia and Eurasian economic integration. If the Europeans are smart (big «if») they will think in that direction themselves.

If so, that would lead to another, supreme irony. An article of faith of western Russophobes is that Moscow’s top goal is to «decouple» the US from Europe. If that ends up happening, to whatever extent, Trump’s enemies may end up accomplishing it for them. Perhaps Trump isn’t the Russian plant – perhaps his domestic opponents are.


GUS100CORRINA Normalcy Bias Fri, 08/04/2017 - 20:50 Permalink

Jatras: "Isolated Trump Flails Helplessly, Bows To Irrational Policies On Russia & Europe Imposed By Congress"My response: I DISAGREE COMPLETELY!President TRUMP is not isolated. On his team are a 150+ Millions Americans who agree with him. Anyone see or attend the RALLY in West Virginia last night, 08/03/17??In West Virginia, Trump Hails Conservatism and a New G.O.P. GovernorPresident TRUMP is not isolated or irrational. I want to suggest that the Author 'James George Jatras' is the one who is irrational and isolated.

In reply to by Normalcy Bias

Slack Jack benb Fri, 08/04/2017 - 21:19 Permalink

Trump is not pathetically weak; he is just not on the side that you think he is on.

I have come to the conclusion that Trump is not at all what he seems. Trump is the enemy who pretends to be your friend.

I wrote the following before Trump happily agreed to sign the sanctions bill against Russia: I didn't post it immediately as I wasn't sure how true it was. I am still a little surprised at how correct it turned out to be.

The Orange Jew actually wants to enact sanctions against Russia.

However, he wants to do this while still pretending to represent those that voted for him.

That is why the House voted 419-3 for sanctions.

That is why the press screams that the sanctions deal is veto-proof.

All to give him a plausible excuse to sign the bill, to do what he wants, but not what his support base wants.

As many Trump supporters now suspect, Trump has actually been their enemy from the beginning.

If the Orange Jew is the real deal then he will veto this sanctions legislation.

But, Trump is not the real deal. So, he will sign it into law.

Trump is no different from Obama, Bush and Clinton.

For one thing, it appears that Obama, Bush, Clinton and Trump are all Jews.



In reply to by benb

Thom Paine moimeme (not verified) Fri, 08/04/2017 - 22:02 Permalink

You are full of shit and you know it.Trump vetoing the GOP-Dem Russia bill that he cannot stop would be just helping them get rid of him by adding more fuel to the faked Russia story. The MSM and Dem and Repubs would have fun for weeks dissing him on this, it would be a massive own goal.But you know this, anybody with half a brain cell knows this. You are just another anti Trump troll.

In reply to by moimeme (not verified)

BarkingCat Thom Paine Fri, 08/04/2017 - 22:22 Permalink

I will repeat this as many times as necessary so that dumbfucks like you can comprehend it finally. By signing the bill, Trump has given his approval of it. If he did not approve of it and he was a real man he would have vetoed it and forced Congress to override his veto. He could have taken it one step further and challenged the bill in the Supreme Court on the premise that it is unconstitutional due to violation of the separation of powers. A real man does what is right. He does not do what is easy and convenient.   In the end, history will remember this bill as something that Trump signed.He will own this bill and all the blame for it.This is how history works. Congress is forgotten and the president gets all the glory or all the blame.  

In reply to by Thom Paine

HopefulCynical Another region… Sun, 08/06/2017 - 03:10 Permalink

Attention, Correct The Record trolls, shilling on Soros' dime:Your presence here shows your desperation very plainly for what it is: naked fear. The sleeping giant has awakened, it is not going back to sleep, and very soon it will feast upon the bones of the globalists.We see you for who and what you are, and we're neither afraid nor impressed.

In reply to by Another region…

StarGate benb Sun, 08/06/2017 - 09:43 Permalink

Trump plays both sides, dark and light. He has to in order to be able to work in the swamp. You may have to be half alligator. It sometimes isn't clear if he has a long game and is waiting out the swamp critters or if he is bowing to swamp demands on some things to get his priorities thru:
strict immigration, crack down on drug traffic, decrease in biz regs to increase job production, increase in energy production. All in process.

He also stopped the NWO's TPP and Paris Discord.

We know he wants to get USA out of the war game, but he may be being threatened by Fed Reserve that they will crash economy if he blocks their war plans. Trump did stop the funding to the CIA's war in Syria, He did negotiate a cease fire with Putin in Syria.

Russia and China are not military threats but Iran and No Korea are.
It's all about strategy. You can't judge a game by one chess move (signing the latest sanction bill).

In reply to by benb

RedBaron616 GUS100CORRINA Fri, 08/04/2017 - 21:35 Permalink

Let me know when all those American manufacturing jobs return to the heartland. Let me know when Trump shuts down unnecessary wars instead of escalating them as in Syria. Let me know when ObamaCare is gone and replaced by NOTHING. Also, let me know when the Wall is built. This clown has done virtually nothing he promised. Thankfully, I voted Constitution Party. Knew he wasn't True Blue and wow, has he shown that.

In reply to by GUS100CORRINA

OverTheHedge arby63 Sat, 08/05/2017 - 00:44 Permalink

Will you still be saying that in the lead up to the next election?  "Maybe he needs more.than four years? Just a little more time, and you will see...."Judge a system by what it does, not what it says it does.I don't know what Trump is, but I think it is becoming more irrelevant by the day. The system is steam-rollering on irrespective of the peoples' choice, Trump' s choice, or anyone else, for that matter. Would a new batch of anti-establishment congressmen help? I would expect them to be bought / blackmailed into submission within minutes of being nominated, let alone elected. Democracy has died, as far as I can see. What happens next? Until people care, nothing, but the disenfranchised have a habit of getting rowdy once their lives get uncomfortable. If the inner city "young urban males" ever stop killing each other, and turn on their leaders, Venezuela will ensue. Just need a reason for it to happen, Normally this would happen because of outside (CIA) influence, but at some point it may happen organically. I wonder if Russia will be interested to help - set up an NGO or two?

In reply to by arby63

Iskiab OverTheHedge Sat, 08/05/2017 - 10:06 Permalink

Democracy hasn't died, it's just been on hold in the US since Roosevelt, which is the last time you guys had an honest president that wasn't assassinated. It'll just take some time for things to right itself and people to educate themselves and break the bullshit propaganda they were raised on and see the world for how it truly is. For example, most Americans still think they were and always have been a beacon of freedom, despite being one of the last countries in the world to abolish slavery.

Once the baby boomers pass away you'll see a huge shift. One of the biggest state controls is media, and they're the people who watch and believe all the crap you see on cable news tv. The younger generations don't watch tv and are more educated.

I'd expect a major shift in politics in 20 years, all the boomer politicians and voters will be dead, and their younger contemporaries will be gone too because of a dismal record. I think Trump is just the beginning of populist movements, but what you're seeing is a president isn't enough. All the senators and congressmen have to change too for any real change in a direction of the country.

Next election will be the first election where there are more millennial voters then boomers. That's when you'll start seeing change, but it won't be overnight. Right now democrat or republican doesn't matter much, your vote is almost meaningless. One is lower taxes and indentured servitude to interest payments, the other is more spending and indentured servitude to interest payments. Same effect, with policy platforms being noise that are contentious but have no real effect on how the country is run or your quality of life. Shit will have to change.

In reply to by OverTheHedge

HopefulCynical Iskiab Sun, 08/06/2017 - 03:02 Permalink

Democracy hasn't died, it's just been on hold in the US since Roosevelt, which is the last time you guys had an honest president that wasn't assassinated.Derp alert!For example, most Americans still think they were and always have been a beacon of freedom, despite being one of the last countries in the world to abolish slavery.Slavery exists today. all over Africa and the Middle East. There are open air slave markets in Libya, made possible because the party of Roosevelt whacked Qaddafi.Thanks for playing.

In reply to by Iskiab

Lynn Trainor RedBaron616 Sat, 08/05/2017 - 08:31 Permalink

It's perfectly obvious why Trump hasn't been able to do everything he promised.  He's been thwarted by Benedict Arnoilds in his own party, Obama's Deep State and vicious Dems out for blood every single step.  Yet he has still managed to accomplish a lot, just look at the number of Obama's regulations he's tossed out.  Triump doesn't have a lazy bone in his body, I don't know when he sleeps.  Trump's probably our last chance.

In reply to by RedBaron616

Lordflin Normalcy Bias Fri, 08/04/2017 - 21:20 Permalink

Russia is the most natural US ally on the planet. Anyone who can read a map can see that.

We can no longer abide these creatures living along side us... our so called elite betters and the savages they are attempting to overpower us with. It is time my friends to stand as men, else we choose servitude and eventual banishment from our homes.

I was reading a statement from Maxine Waters... after they impeach Trump they will impeach Pence next as she doesn't like him either... Hubris? Lunacy? Vertically challenged IQ? Just bad breeding? All of the above? My God, where do these animals come from... that I have lived to see such an age...

In reply to by Normalcy Bias

Lordflin Lynn Trainor Sat, 08/05/2017 - 09:30 Permalink

Understood... but you missed the point of my post. I was not expressing an opinion regarding the merits of either Pence or Trump, and if this is what you thought then you are clearly in the Maxine Waters camp. Not meant to be insulting but instructive, and you might want to consider before posting another response.

In reply to by Lynn Trainor

geno-econ Lordflin Sat, 08/05/2017 - 10:44 Permalink

Looked at a map.  Land mass of Russia much larger than that of U.S , EU, China or Canada individually, but GDP much smaller.  However Nuclear arsenal, so far never used, is equal to U.S.  In fact population of Russia has actually shrunk due to loss of old satallite countries as well as land mass losses.  Bottom line is Russia is in a defensive position while all that land mass is a an attractive natural resources takeover target by the West.  Interestingly, U.S. is actually trying to displace Russia's largest nat. gas customer (EU ) with gas from ME and U.S. even though Russia;s is the cheapest----this represents commercial aggression against Russia which does not sit well with Germany, especially due to new sanctions  So who is the aggressor and why ? Incidentally, Russia is no longer Communist while China is. Somehow it gets back to old cold war fears fueled by Neocons desire to maintain a mighty military,  However, a new dynamic when our debt ridden financial system falters, will be to force Russia and China together---then it will be gamsover for American world dominance and a redrawing of maps showing a continental divide with America vulnerable after the temporary shale oil extraction boom. Israel will likewise be isolated or perhaps be forced to become part of Europe, Russia or the U.S.---not the other way around.

In reply to by Lordflin

Lordflin geno-econ Sat, 08/05/2017 - 11:11 Permalink

Russia and China are natural adversaries for so many reasons... from geography to culture to historical relationships. Forcing Russia to look East, as we are doing, will go down as one of the greatest strategic errors of all time. Or would be an error if those who were driving this were not actually seeking our destruction.Aside from our ties to Europe... another mistake... we are not in competition with Russia (other than LNG of course, but that is a minor issue in the balance of things, and one that could be worked out between allies operating in good faith). Between ourselves and Russia, were Russia our ally, both Europe and China would be held in check.The advantages of such an alliance are legend... geography, of course... but culture, science. China and Europe are our natural competition, and Europe will only be held at bay so long as we can pummel them with dollars... leverage that is rapidly eroding.

In reply to by geno-econ

geno-econ Lordflin Sat, 08/05/2017 - 11:46 Permalink

Agree with most, but nat gas market along with attempt to deny Russia  Crimea port a big deal.  Many have already perished in Syria (400,000) and Ukraine (10,000 )with $ trillions spent on behalf of SA and others to displace Russia with alternate pipelines. While this U.S. effort is floundering, the New China Silk Road will force many nations to cooperate, including Iran, Russia, Germany, France and force other smaller nations to rethink allegiancies, trading patterns as well as credit and currency trustworthyness. 

In reply to by Lordflin

geno-econ Lordflin Sat, 08/05/2017 - 14:36 Permalink

Yes , our natural liquified natural gas market is domestic, Latin America and Japan.  Possibly Europe only if prices go up dramatically due to short supply which is the dream Trump scenario.  Also future Med LNG coming onstream  would exclude possibility of  US as supplier.  Best outcome, as you suggest, is to have some grown up sharing of markets based on comparative advantage rather than cold war/Neocon politics. 

In reply to by Lordflin

StarGate Lordflin Sun, 08/06/2017 - 09:58 Permalink

Russia supported USA in the revolutionary war and supported the Union in the Civil War. Russia advocated to Lincoln to free the slaves after Russia freed the serfs.

Russia never wanted to be communist; it was invaded and taken over the same way that Poland and Hungary were. If you visited Russia in the iron curtain days you would find only 5% of the people were in the communist party; all the rest were the new serfs to communism (95%) and hungered for a world like America.

When communist Soviet fell they did not reform as communists but as Christians. People need to turn off CNN and read some history.

In reply to by Lordflin

HowdyDoody Normalcy Bias Sat, 08/05/2017 - 10:56 Permalink

"It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States.RUFKM?"It seems like they are trying to. There is nothing Russia can do, other than totally surrender its sovreignty to the (((Bolsheviks))) yet again. In reality, it is down to the US. What is it going to do? Try to bankrupt Russia as it tried with the USSR? Good luck with that. Maybe try to provoke Russia into starting a war? All the attempts so far have failed, so good luck with that. The next war will be fought on US soil (as well as elsewhere).This is what the US is dealing with:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-BS9eFDtr0&t=1m17s 

In reply to by Normalcy Bias

American Snipper Fri, 08/04/2017 - 20:41 Permalink

Trump was stupid to not try to veto it to show he was against it. The deep state dems & RINOs are completely fucking us, why the fuck is America putting shitfucks like McStain and the Gobbler, and Piglosi, and Gruper Lips Waters, and plugs Fuck You Schumer in office term, after term, after fucking term?"????

Gonzogal American Snipper Fri, 08/04/2017 - 21:41 Permalink

"Trump was stupid to not try to veto it to show he was against it"He DID show he is against it via the "Signing Statement" that he attached to it, the majority of which is not published in articles such as this one even though it it public.  It is evident that it was written by constitutional lawyers and shows that Trump can take this to the Supreme Court and has basically threatened to do so if the Congress tries to impede his foreign policy.  In signing it he also took away from Congress the excuse they wanted to impeach him and can really continue to make HIS foreign policy as protected under law.Have a look for yourself...here is the link to the full text: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/text-of-statement-trump-made-while-sig…

In reply to by American Snipper

benb RedBaron616 Fri, 08/04/2017 - 21:49 Permalink

RB there is monumental internal sabotage going on in the executive right now. Trump already got rid of the TPP, the Paris Accord and the phony carbon tax  to fund world government and enrich lying thieves like Al Gore and Obama and a lot more. We have a seditious, treasonous Congress especially the Rat Ridden Senate. I'm not saying I agree with everything he does but he ain't NWO.  Trump needs our support or what is left of the republic is gone.

In reply to by RedBaron616

factorypreset benb Sat, 08/05/2017 - 10:41 Permalink

Blah blah blah . More cheese with your whine? When liberals whined that obama wasn't able to get anything done because Congress sabotaged him all the supposed "conservatives" here on ZH chalked it up to Obama being merely incompetent.  Now that the shoe is on the other fault many  conservatives here (who are no better than the snowflakes they deride) are doing the same fucking thing and are unwilling to apply any critical thought to the situation  ALL of this is theatre.  The fucks on the left complaining about Russian collusion and the fucks on the right saying it's a witch hunt. Doesn't matter - it's all show to distract Joe public from a shitty economy and an empire on its last legs.  

In reply to by benb

benb factorypreset Sat, 08/05/2017 - 15:51 Permalink

You must have clicked on the wrong comment option FP. Little know-it-nothing fucks like you who haven't the knowledge to tie your political shoes belong in the 'Kiddie' forum.11 weeks! About 6 years ago we had a whole pile of schmucks like you who believed the gov. story of 9-11. They were so dumb they had to be worked over hard.[I'm getting sick the hoards of ignoramuses that have begun to show up here. The nauseating thing is the arrogance of guys like this moron.]

In reply to by factorypreset

khnum Fri, 08/04/2017 - 20:43 Permalink

Just watched a you tube video of a Russian training exercise lots of brand new shiny ships,and tanks and missiles not the 50's and 60's kit were told they have at all they looked pretty damn good too...have fun America