Foreign Policy

Putin Hits Back After Trump Promises to Sign Sanctions

The U.S.-Russia relationship may seem even more strained, but in reality little has changed since 2000.

Political Editors · Aug. 1, 2017

Over the weekend, Donald Trump announced, as expected, that he would sign Congress’ overwhelmingly bipartisan bill imposing sweeping new sanctions on Russia. With the Senate voting 98-2 and the House 419-3 in support of the bill, apparently there are only a handful of Russia supporters left in congress. Not only does the bill erect new sanctions against Russia, it also limits Trump’s ability to suspend those sanctions without first consulting Congress.

Predictably, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded in kind by kicking out 755 U.S. embassy staff in Moscow. This reduces the number to 455, effectively matching the number of Russian staffing in its embassy in Washington, DC. A little tit for tat, similar to those Cold War days of continuously tense U.S.-Russia relations. As Jim Geraghty of National Review notes, “The irony was that up until recently, the Democrats were seen as the more Russia-friendly party — ‘The 1980’s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back! The Cold War’s been over for 20 years!’ — and now both parties are fairly hostile to Russia — if not for the election, than for aggression in Ukraine, taking over Crimea, shooting down airlines, etcetera.”

Will Trump’s signing of the sanctions bill finally end the Demo/MSM propaganda machine‘s reliance on the fake news Trump/Putin collusion conspiracy? Don’t hold your breath. It may temper it for a time, but leftists are deeply committed to their favorite media-manufactured “scandal.” It’s a good bet that so long as Robert Mueller’s investigation continues, the Leftmedia and Democrats will milk it for all it’s worth. Why would they stop? So far, it has proved to be fairly effective in distracting Republicans and much of the nation, and it has allowed Democrats for the most part to avoid having to directly counter Trump’s agenda with one of their own. The only (and pathetic) message Democrats have presented to the American public is their laughably named “Better Deal.” No, obstruction is the name of their game.

So where does this latest development leave U.S.-Russia relations? In reality, not much worse than they have been for over a decade. The reason being that one common denominator hasn’t changed — Putin. He has aggressively pressed his position on the world scene ever since he first rose to power in 2000. His ambitions haven’t changed. It has been well-established that his desire is to essentially resurrect the glory days of the old Soviet Union. In light of this, the relationship between Washington and Moscow will continue to be one of adversarial coldness intermixed with some mutually beneficial agreements.

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