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New sanctions: 'US won’t forgive Russia for foiling its plans in Syria, Ukraine’

New sanctions: 'US won’t forgive Russia for foiling its plans in Syria, Ukraine’
The latest US sanctions against Russia’s energy sector are absolutely a political matter, says journalist and political writer Dan Glazebrook. The US establishment went berserk about Russia disrupting its plans in Ukraine and Syria, he added.

The US government has stepped up sanctions on Russia's energy sector over Moscow's alleged interference in Ukraine. The latest measures, unveiled on Tuesday by the US Treasury, put extra restrictions on firms working with Russian oil companies. They focus specifically on deep water, Arctic, and shale projects.

The measures come at the same time as separate restrictions against Russia focus on social media. A US government department recently sent a letter to tech giants, warning of Russian meddling. The letter refers to alleged Russian support for US activists, campaigning against the North Dakota Pipeline.

RT:  So Russia is being accused of helping environmental activists in the US, meddling in American politics, and also interfering in Ukraine. What do you make of all these allegations?

Dan Glazebrook: It’s interesting. My response to allegations the Russian government is supporting Native American land rights, anti-fracking campaigns and so on is - even if that is true, so what? More than that - good for them. And I think the majority of decent US citizens would probably agree. But nothing is proven so far.

It’s like so many things that are absolutely standard practice for Western countries - like giving military aid to their allies or using their state TV channels as a form of soft power, which British ministers boast regularly about with the BBC World Service. But the minute Russia starts doing these things the West starts screaming blue murder. And it’s the same here; if this is the case they call it similar to this idea of astroturfing, it is supposedly kind of fake grassroots like there is kind of a big organization, company, or government putting stuff out, that is purporting to be the grassroots, or whatever. But this is absolutely standard practice in the corporate world and the geopolitical world in the West, and has been for some time. If indeed the Russian government is belatedly catching on to these standard Western practices, by helping to fund publicity for Native American land rights or environmental campaigns, I certainly don’t have a problem with that.

RT:  If we go back to the sanctions against Russia's energy sector, which is a key part of the country's economy, is this economic matter, or is it a political matter?

DG: It is absolutely political. Especially since the Syrian government victory in Aleppo at the end of last year, the neocon and liberal interventionist establishment have gone absolutely berserk about Russia. They were already berserk to a certain extent over the foiling of their plans in Ukraine and the Russian involvement in Syria, but with the Syrian government victory in Aleppo that really spelled the end, the utter defeat of the regime change policy of the West in Syria. And they have gone berserk, and they have not and will not forgive Russia for that. So this all emanates from that. This is punishment for Russia for refusing to allow the West to just continue with this regime juggernaut through Syria and on to Iran. That is what we’re seeing – all this clampdown over ‘Russian involvement' in social media, sanctions in the oil industry…

RT: European countries, specifically Germany, have repeatedly voiced concerns about anti-Russia sanctions, which could harm their interests. Why are those warnings being ignored by Washington?

DG: There is another aspect to this, which is actually that the US campaign or what I would call economic warfare against Russia, is also aimed at Europe as well. It’s aimed at Europe as well – at damaging the relationship between Russia and Europe. Certainly the events in Ukraine, the whipping up of the coup in Ukraine some years back by the US and Britain in particular, and then campaigning hard and effectively intimidating the EU into putting sanctions on Russia over Ukraine - this is an attempt to jeopardize German-Russian and EU-Russian relations. The US knows that any kind of Russian– European rapprochement could be a challenge and a threat to its ongoing hegemony and global domination. Europe understands that as well, and has been in some halfhearted ways trying to put up a little bit of resistance sometimes to the anti-Russian campaign here… There are aspects of this around the Iran deal, as well. That was a primarily European negotiated deal that resulted in primarily European companies companies looking to invest in Iran, and so on. Now Trump is throwing all of that into disarray …

RT:  It's been three years since the sanctions war started. Yet Russian economic growth revived this year, it's now at around 2.5 percent. So has the US achieved anything by going down this path?

DG: I think that growth would have probably been a little higher without the sanctions… If we want to be very optimistic and look on the positive side, there is even some evidence that sanctions on Iran have encouraged technological development, because it’s encouraged self-reliance and the ending of reliance on imports in various aspects of the technology sector in Iran. Possibly, the same sort of effects are happening and have happened in Russia. But I think the major part of that economic war that’s been waged against Russia is not so much the sanctions, but the oil price, which was manipulated by the Saudis, US and British proxies – manipulated by them some years back. The primary victims of that have been Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. No coincidence that these are the three major regional powers - and in Russia’s case, potentially a world power - that are in the crosshairs of US and British imperialism. So this has been a major kind of underreported and often neglected part of the war against Russia…