I’m a bit late on posting about Trump signing off on the new reprisal sanctions but didn’t want to let it go unremarked. Mostly because I’d like to extend my congratulations to Hillary Clinton, her Ukrainian donors, and the Deep State for managing to get what they wanted even after losing the presidential election. That is some truly masterful game playing. Well done on punishing our enemies, US Government. Enemies such as, er, the EU.
Of course Trump had no choice but to sign this into law. The majority was veto-proof and the optics of a GOP Congress over-riding the veto of a GOP President would have been too much even for him to bear. Some people have said that Trump could have put this up for judicial review on the separation-of-powers grounds and maybe blocked it, but going to the mat for Putin is hardly the best thing for him to be doing right now. Instead, he’ll have to be content with not getting us sucked further into the Syrian Civil War and letting the Russians win.
I don’t know where we go with Russia from here, truth be told. It should be completely obvious to Putin that since he’s going to be opposed by the US Government regardless of what he does or doesn’t do, he might as well continue the adversarial relationship he’s had with it for the last ten years or so. Putin will secure Russia’s place in the Middle East as the ally of the the Shi-ites (Iran, Iraq’s central government, and its proxies in Syria and Hezbollah). He can keep providing aid to North Korea and keep the US busy there by not supporting UN resolutions against the regime over nuclear weapons development. Any ability Trump may have had to bargain and to dissuade Russia from harmful activities or support us on useful ones is gone.
Even better for Putin, he can continue his expansionist policies against Eastern Europe because the US is going to be so preoccupied that there’s absolutely no way the electorate will have any interest in pursuing a military showdown with him.
All of this, why? Ostensibly because John Podesta fell for a phishing attack and some Russian bots tweeted hurtful stories about Hillary. Honest to God, there’s no other reason. This is insane.
If you’re not paying attention, we’re right on the precipice of North Korea fitting a nuclear warhead to an ICBM and proving that they can strike us anywhere at any time. We are now committed to resolving this problem one way or another. Iran is preparing to see the final defeat of the Islamic State and its own dominance of the Middle East. China is asserting control of the South China Sea. India and Pakistan move closer to burning each other with nuclear fire every day. Europe is weak and utterly useless. Shit’s fucked, yo.
This is exactly the wrong time for us to worsen relations with a large, powerful country with international interests and tremendous influence in several of those real and potential problems. I don’t care what you think of Trump, Russia, or how angry you still are over the outcome of the 2016 election. This is a mistake. A horrible mistake that is going to have real consequences and decades from now, we still won’t understand why the fuck we did it.
Reducing tensions with Russia and toning down the adversarial relationship in favor of a new approach was a reason I voted for Trump. At the end of the day, it’s the GOP Congress I blame for cutting him off at the knees and endangering our security in the long run.
But hey, at least somebody’s going to profit big-time from selling jet fighters and missiles to all of the countries threatened and destabilized by our downright evil foreign policy and all of the useful work it creates for defense lobbyists and consultants, am I right? We can be happy for them, if nothing else.