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“Hidden opposition to Trump”: why in the US Congress want to introduce new sanctions against Russia


In the US Congress they call for the introduction of new sanctions against Russia. Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, and Congressman Michael McCall, insist on introducing a new package of restrictions against Moscow because of the situation around the poisoning of ex-GRU officer Sergei Skripal. Meanwhile, the senate is proposing to supplement the defense budget bill with anti-Russian sanctions clauses for “interfering” with elections. At the same time, the West has still not provided any evidence of Russia's involvement in the incident in Salisbury and interference in the US electoral process. According to experts, such initiatives by parliamentarians hinder the restoration of dialogue between Washington and Moscow. According to analysts, the improvement of Russian-American relations will be a success of Donald Trump, increasing his chances of re-election in 2020, and some members of Congress are trying to prevent this.

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Eliot Engel, and Republican Congressman Michael McCall called on US President Donald Trump to introduce new sanctions against Russia. This was reported on the website of the committee in a letter dated July 29. Parliamentarians blamed Trump for not having introduced the United States into a second package of restrictions because of the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury, as American law allegedly required.

“We are deeply concerned that the use of chemical weapons against persons residing in the United Kingdom has not yet been imposed on Russia against the sanctions provided for by US law,” Engel and McCall said. “As you know, as a result of the attack in March 2018, a former GRU officer, Sergey Skripal, his daughter and a police officer were injured, and a British citizen was tragically killed. We urge you to immediately impose additional sanctions imposed by law on Russia to hold her accountable for such blatant actions. ”

Forgotten old

Congressmen in their appeal to Trump clarified that in November 2018, the US State Department promised to introduce a new package of sanctions because of the Scripals case. The first package was introduced in August 2018 and provided for restrictions, mainly related to the sale of weapons and dual-use products.

Since the United States accused Russia of using chemical weapons in the UK, according to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control Act and the prohibition of its military use in 1991, the next, tougher wave of sanctions should be introduced.

As noted in a specially prepared reference of the research service of the United States Congress, these restrictive measures include: a significant reduction or suspension of diplomatic relations, a ban on US banks from issuing loans to the Russian side, with the exception of loans intended for the purchase of food, restriction of air links and a ban on export to Russia industrial goods.

Congressmen Engel and McCall note that these sanctions should have been imposed three months after the announcement. However, they never entered into force.

It is worth noting that the United States introduced a new restrictive measure in connection with the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury. In December 2018, the United States introduced Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov to the expanded sanctions list of the Ministry of Finance (they appear in the documents of the Ministry of Finance as Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga) In the West, men are considered participants in the assassination of Sergey and Yulia Skripale. Now Petrov and Boshirov will not be able to do business in the United States.

  • Eliot Engel
  • Reuters
  • © Joshua Roberts

As Vladimir Bruter, an expert at the International Institute for Humanitarian and Political Studies, noted in a conversation with RT, the White House is not ready to take serious restrictive measures against Russia because of the Scripals case.

“Trump believes that if he introduces another large-scale sanctions against Russia, it will weaken the already sluggish negotiation processes. He is not interested in it, - declared Bruter. - He is interested to look like a man who constantly exerts pressure on Russia, but at the same time tries to agree with her from a position of strength. Obviously, the more sanctions are imposed, the less likely there will be at least some negotiations. ”

According to the expert, Trump has previously demonstrated that, if necessary, he is ready to ignore the position of the congress. For example, nothing prevented him from vetoing the law imposing an embargo on the supply of American weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Require amplification

They want to strengthen the sanctions pressure on Russia not only in the lower house of the congress, but also in the upper one. On July 29, Republican Senator Marco Rubio and his Democratic Party colleague Chris van Hollen appealed to the relevant committees of the Senate and House of Representatives with the proposal to prescribe in the new law on the US defense budget expansion of anti-Russian sanctions.

Lawmakers propose to impose sanctions against the energy, banking and defense sectors of the Russian economy. They were spelled out in the previously proposed DETER (Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines - “On the Protection of Elections by Establishing Red Lines”) proposed by Rubio and van Hollen. The document provided for new anti-Russian restrictive measures in the event that Moscow’s “interference” with the US elections was revealed in the future.

I’m a lawyer in the final bill. We can stop Putin from attacking our elections.

- Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) July 29, 2019

According to Rubio and van Hollen, although the House of Representatives version of the defense budget bill already contains an amendment by congressmen Brad Sherman and Maxine Waters, which imposes sanctions against Russian public debt if they intervene in elections, it is clearly not enough.

"In this regard, we urge the negotiators (on budgetary allocations for national defense. - RT ) to amend and supplement the Sherman - Waters amendment with some points from the DETER law," the senators said in a statement.

In particular, the senators propose the following: “Link sanctions against sovereign debt to the conclusions of the director of national intelligence on interference in the elections. To provide for additional sanctions in relation to the energy, banking and defense sectors of the Russian economy, linking them with the findings of the Director of National Intelligence on interference in the elections. Provide for sanctions against oligarchs and high-ranking politicians recognized by the National Intelligence Director as involved in the election. ”

According to Vladimir Vasiliev, Chief Researcher at the Institute of the USA and Canada, RAS, senators and congressmen are engaged in “hidden opposition to Trump.” The expert believes that the anti-Russian sanction initiatives of the congress are directed against reaching any agreements with Russia and are aimed at preventing the president from achieving significant achievements before the 2020 elections.

“Oddly enough, many Republican senators believe that Trump will lose the elections of 2020 better than he will be elected for a second term. Among them is Marco Rubio, who was Trump's rival in the 2016 presidential election and failed miserably, ”Vasiliev explained in a conversation with RT.

In addition, according to the expert, Rubio is trying to strengthen his position as the leading hawk of the Republican Party.

Vladimir Bruter agrees with this point of view, believing that the senator, playing on the fears associated with the "Russian threat", seeks to "get political capital."

  • Senator Marco Rubio
  • Reuters
  • © Joshua Roberts

"The limit is almost exhausted"

Currently, the US Congress is still a few bills to counter Russia through sanctions. In particular, it is proposed to introduce restrictions against the "Nord Stream - 2", a separate law to restrict entry into the United States to persons accused of "interfering" in the American elections, as well as approve restrictive measures against 24 FSB officers in response to the arrest of 24 Ukrainian sailors in the Kerch Strait .

Among the documents under consideration by both chambers of Congress can also be found a bill calling for pressure on the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, including the Republic of Cyprus, so that they close their ports to ships of the Russian Navy.

In other documents, it is proposed to punish Moscow in connection with its actions in Syria, in Ukraine and in cyberspace, impose sanctions for “violation” of human rights in Abkhazia and South Ossetia “occupied by Russia”, and even imprison people for more than ten years doping, or to impose fines of $ 250 thousand on them, according to the bill with the saying name “Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act”.

According to Vladimir Vasiliev, the willingness of American lawmakers to invent new reasons for anti-Russian sanctions is caused by the “absolutely short-sighted” position. For the sake of short-term, often personal political interests, attempts to play on the “anti-Russian hysteria” that began after Trump was elected, the national interests of the United States are betrayed.

“The sanctions that are prescribed by the senators contribute to the fact that Russia is increasingly moving closer to China. And this rapprochement can go far and ultimately hit US interests. Sanctions also restrict the freedom of maneuver in foreign policy for Donald Trump, "- said Vasilyev.

According to Vladimir Brutera, Trump himself “promises more sanctions than he is ready to introduce them,” but during the election campaign and for him the adoption of some restrictive measures may become a likely option. However, there are not so many options.

“The most serious sanctions that can be imposed are against the national debt, but then there will be risks not only for Russia, but also for the entire world trade. Personal sanctions will not surprise anyone. Intermediate option - sanctions against firms that participate in the Nord Stream - 2. But to a large extent these are Western firms, ”the expert notes.

According to him, the previous sanctions did not demonstrate the main thing - the ability to somehow influence Russian policy through economic methods. Moreover, they are destroying the levers of influence on our country, since "Russia's ties with the Western economy and the monetary system are decreasing." For example, there is a temptation to go into foreign trade calculations from the dollar.

  • RIA News
  • © Alexey Sukhorukov

“The limit on the imposition of sanctions is not that exhausted, but very limited. If in Washington they persist in this and introduce new restrictive measures, this will lead further to the distance of Russia from the United States, which is unprofitable for the United States, ”concluded Vladimir Bruter.

Source: russiart

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