Wednesday, August 15

Six US senators propose legislation to sanction Russia out of existence

"Tales of the New Cold War: One Hundred Years of Sanctioning Russia and what is to be done?" August 14 discussion between Dr Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus New York University and Princeton University and John Batchelor of the John Batchelor Show. Podcast Part 1 of 2. Podcast Part 2.   

Dr Cohen starts off with an overview of the history of U.S. sanctions against Russia. But soon the conversation turns to what Russia could do to retaliate against sanctions recently proposed by six American senators. Batchelor also brings out the ramifications of the Russia sanctions for many countries.

See the articles at CNBC and Intellinews for discussion of specifically how the proposed sanctions will affect Russia. As to the ostensible rationale for the sanctions -- from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's website, August 2:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John McCain (R-AZ) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018, comprehensive legislation that will increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s continued interference in our elections, malign influence in Syria, aggression in Crimea, and other activities.
“The current sanctions regime has failed to deter Russia from meddling in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections,” said Senator Graham.
“Our goal is to change the status quo and impose crushing sanctions and other measures against Putin’s Russia until he ceases and desists meddling in the US electoral process, halts cyber-attacks on US infrastructure, removes Russia from Ukraine, and ceases efforts to create chaos in Syria.
The sanctions and other measures contained in this bill are the most hard-hitting ever imposed – and a direct result of Putin’s continued desire to undermine American democracy.
As to the actual rationale, I think it's to use legislation to formalize the claim that Russia is as much making war on the United States. In this way it would be a clear impeachable offense if President Trump went through with a state visit to Russia. I'd say the 'Get Russia' crowd on both sides of the Atlantic has strong reasons to want to prevent such a visit.   

As to sanctions, they've increasingly been used by the U.S. to force governments into accepting American parameters for negotiation. It's not brainwashing but it's close enough that people sense an attempt to force their minds into a certain way of thinking. No surprise, then, that they're uncooperative when it comes to adhering to agreements that come out such negotiations.

Working against this abuse of sanctions is simply the cumulative effect. The rest of the world is watching the American sanctions pile up, and recoiling. From an Express report yesterday:
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the White House-backed sanctions which sparked the [Turkish lira's] dramatic collapse were shattering America’s reputation around the world.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Mr Çavuşoğlu said: “The era of bullying must end. If the US wants to continue being a reputable country, it cannot do so with these impositions. We are against the US or any country imposing sanctions.”
Mr Lavrov described the US sanctions against Turkey as "unlawful and illegitimate" and said they could not last for long.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry has sided with Turkey in its dispute with the US by attacking Washington's sanctions.
A spokesman said: "Pakistan, in principle, is opposed to the imposition of unilateral sanctions against any country.
"The solution to any and all issues should lie in dialogue, mutual understanding and goodwill."

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