US Sanctions Bill: How Trump Administration Misread Russia

One of the Kremlin towers in Moscow.

 Washington continues to misread Moscow, Russian economist Ivan Danilov writes for RIA Novosti. Instead of “bending to the will” of US policymakers, the Russian leadership clearly signals to Washington that it perceives the White House’s assertiveness not as a sign of strength but as a sign of weakness.

Washington misreads Russia and makes flawed prognoses regarding Moscow’s potential reaction to this or that US move, Ivan Danilov, a Russian economist and author of the popular blog Crimson Alter, writes in his recent op-ed for RIA Novosti.

“Washington has a wrong idea on how the Russian society and the Russian political elite are organized,” Danilov noted.

“In sum, these illusions — to which Clinton supporters are mostly exposed, but which the Trump team also has — create a dangerous situation and provide the American leadership (regardless of its political affiliation) with the false belief that Russia could be pressured and forced to surrender or to make concessions,” he pointed out.

Danilov highlights that in response to Washington’s muscle-flexing the Russian political and financial elite have repeatedly signaled that “Russia is not afraid, that the elite is consolidated and will stand its ground till the end.”According to the economist, it appears that the Trump administration makes concessions to US hawks because it has deluded itself into believing that either Russian President Vladimir Putin or the Russian elite will finally “get scared” and “bend” to Washington’s will.

However, as a rule, the Kremlin’s reaction to the US’s assertive political gestures doesn’t meet the expectations of US policymakers: the economist referred to the latest US sanctions bill and the April escalation of the Syrian crisis.

The Russian leadership has demonstrated to Washington that it perceived the US president’s tough moves not as a sign of strength, but as a sign of weakness, Danilov highlighted.

He quoted Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s Facebook statement released in response to the US Tomahawk strike on the Syrian Arab Army’s Shayrat airfield on April 7.

“This military action is a clear indication of the US president’s extreme dependency on the opinion of the Washington establishment, the one that the new president strongly criticized in his inauguration speech. Soon after his victory, I noted that everything would depend on how soon Trump’s election promises would be broken by the existing power machine. It took only two and a half months,” Medvedev pointed out.

Syrian Air Forces resume flights from Shayrat Air Base
Syrian Air Forces resume flights from Shayrat Air Base

Following the adoption of a new package of anti-Russian sanctions by the White House the Russian prime minister “struck” again.

“The US establishment has fully outwitted Trump; the president is not happy about the new sanctions, yet he could not but sign the bill. The issue of new sanctions came about, primarily, as another way to knock Trump down a peg. New steps are to come, and they will ultimately aim to remove him from power. A non-systemic player has to be removed,” Medvedev wrote.

“The Trump administration has shown its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way. This changes the power balance in US political circles,” the Russian prime minister elaborated.Does it work? Yes, indeed, Danilov believes: the White House has recently admitted that it had no alternative but to suspend its covert CIA program in Syria aimed at arming and training so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels.

“The joint bluff of American hawks and the Trump administration ended up in a very humiliating defeat in Syria and the recognition that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad will stay in power,” the economist wrote.

Danilov believes that the new sanctions law will face the same fate.

“Being confronted once again with the demonstration of the determination of the Russian society and authorities not to make concessions, the Trump administration won’t implement the restrictions which depend on the executive power,” he assumed.

While it will be hard to lift restrictive measures implemented under Barack Obama against Russia, Moscow has already reconciled itself to the idea that sanctions could remain in place for decades to come, he remarked.

“Perhaps, it is necessary for Trump to find himself in embarrassing geopolitical situations… in order to start substantive negotiations with the Kremlin,” Danilov suggested.

Foreground, from left: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel at the news conference in Krasnodar
Foreground, from left: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel at the news conference in Krasnodar

Meanwhile, the US sanctions law has triggered a wave of criticism from Europe with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel ranting that the anti-Russia measures are “diametrically opposed to the interests of Germany and the EU.”

“The draft law makes clear that they’re pursuing economic interests and we think that’s not acceptable,” Gabriel said Friday in the northern German city of Wolfsburg.

“Aggressively combining foreign policy issues with American economic interests and saying: we want to drive Russian gas out of the European market so we can sell American gas there is definitely not something we can accept,” he emphasized, as cited by Reuters.

Similarly, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker dropped the hint that Brussels stands ready to “defend our economic interests vis-à-vis the United States.”

For its part, the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated that Beijing is against any unilateral sanctions imposed by any country, including those recently enacted by the US, which imposed tough restrictive measures against Russia, Iran and North Korea.

“If this goes on, then it’s the US, not Russia, which will soon find itself in full political isolation,” Danilov concluded.

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9 Responses to "US Sanctions Bill: How Trump Administration Misread Russia"

  1. Andrew_Bukanov(Russia)  August 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    No humor…. It is hard to deal with total losers and insane idiots in Washington. Their remedy is the pill or Colt.

    • Dr. Abu-Bakr Susta  August 10, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      Andrew: If the mothers of Washington’s insane idiots (or “useful idiots”) had taken “The Pill,” then we would not need to deal with this ‘stuff’… ‘Trump the Chump’ is the money-laundering beneficiary & creation of YOUR Kosher Nostra… So, it really IS all Russia’s fault — just not the fault of Putin & Russian govt. 😉

  2. Cold Wind  August 8, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Since the US Congress is a ‘captured entity’, completely subservient to AIPAC, and thereby to Israel, Trump actually surrendered his Executive powers to a hostile foreign government. This is the source of the humiliation of the American people.

    • Toby  August 8, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      Think of the deals Hilda made with mossad to set up hubby with the Jewess Monica for sextortion. They put the plan to attack 7 countries in 5 years at the top of the Pentagon while we all watched the President Bill infidelity show. They promised her the Presidency and have failed twice. Bush and Obama were easily co-opted by the NEO TRAITORS, but Trump can’t keep his mouth shut so they rather destroy his presidency and get an AIPAC tool in place…like Pence.

  3. wjabbe  August 8, 2017 at 10:27 am

    What the fools in the U.S. can’t seem to get through their thick skulls is that economic warfare, which is basically what sanctions are, can be fought both or many ways. The U.S. is absolutely vulnerable and anyone with a functioning brain can see it. The U.S. is operating on borrowed and printed money. It is technically bankrupt now this very instant of time. It could not pay its bills without confiscating the wealth of every personal bank account in the country and even that likely would not do the job. All these countries have to do is organize against the dollar and all pandemonium will break loose. The stock market will crash and banks will close and 1929 will look like a cake walk. Some people never learn anything from history especially the idiots who think they can spend their way out of bankruptcy in the U.S. Our government ship of fools only learn lessons the hard way but all the rest of us will do the suffering.

  4. wjabbe  August 8, 2017 at 10:25 am

    What the fools in the U.S. can’t seem to get through their thick skulls is that economic warfare, which is basically what sanctions are, can be fought both or many ways. The U.S. is absolutely vulnerable and anyone with a functioning brain can see it. The U.S. is operating on borrowed and printed money. It is technically bankrupt now this very instant of time. It could not pay its bills without confiscating the wealth of every personal bank account in the country and even that likely would not do the job. All these countries have to do is organize against the dollar and all pandemonium will break loose. The stock market will crash and banks will close and 1929 will look like a cake walk. Some people never learn anything from history especially the idiots who think they can spend their way out of bankruptcy in the U.S. Our government of fools only learn lessons the hard way but all the rest of us will do the suffering.

    • Harry Haller  August 9, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      The crash of the dollar and the establishment of the NWO e’currency is by design. we are simply watching theater.

  5. nawlins  August 8, 2017 at 7:23 am

    One has to be immersed in that swamp to truly get the feel of how insane it all is, and not just DC. Every major corporation (especially defense and oil) behaves the same way. A newbie is at first puzzled, then horrified at the environment he finds himself in. That st, if he is human. The reptilian types take to it like a duck to water. They thrive and prosper in this hellish environment. By now every government office, corporation, judicial body, and every place that has a mote of power is dominated by these…. creatures. I can see why some VT writers think they actually ARE reptiles, but no, they are just hominids at the top of their “food chain”. They consider themselves alpha predators, who deserve to have us peons subservient to them. As for humans, well we are considered a mutation, and a weak one at that, who should be erased before we spoil their perfect predator environment. Sound like anyone you know?

    • Jim Mooney  August 10, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      But they are ruled by the reptile brain, whose only triggers are sex and aggression. I’ve often thought that sensitive people might actually see these reptile-minded people as reptiles.

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