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17 Jun, 2017 11:40

'Germany – unlike Russia – is not sovereign, US largely controls its foreign policy'

'Germany – unlike Russia – is not sovereign, US largely controls its foreign policy'

Russia is one of the few states that has the luxury of being truly sovereign. Germany does not have that luxury, Jim Jatras, former US diplomat, told RT.

Germany and Austria called new anti-Russian sanctions approved by the US Senate on Thursday “unacceptable,” adding that they violate international law and designed to benefit the US oil and gas industry.

Germany threatened to retaliate against the US, if new sanctions against Russia end up harming German interests. 

On Friday German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Washington has nothing to do with Europe’s energy policy.

However the sanctions bill has yet to be approved by the House of Representatives, or the president.

RT:  Germany and Austria stand to lose out from these sanctions, which affect oil-and-gas pipeline deals with Russia. Does the US have the right to harm EU countries' interests, without consulting them?

Jim Jatras: Of course we [US] don’t have that right, but we have that power, and we’ve used it on other matters in the past. I think Angela Merkel has been a complete disaster for Germany and for Europe. So I am finally glad to have something I can agree with her about. This is a terrible piece of legislation, and its fundamental purpose is to tie President Trump hands here at home, contrary to what Secretary [Rex] Tillerson said, so that he does not have what is really his constitutional authority – to conduct foreign affairs. He doesn’t have the ability to reach out and come to some normalization of ties with Moscow, and it seems that some people in the Senate - actually 98 senators - are willing to violate all sorts of principals of international law and comity, and our relationship with our allies in order to achieve what? How does this benefit the US in any way? No way that I can see.

RT:  Could this escalate into a broader dispute between the US and the European Union?

JJ: That is an interesting thing that Mrs. Merkel said she’s going to ‘retaliate.’ It reminds me of what Mr. Putin said the other day – that Russia is one of the few states that has the luxury of being truly sovereign. Germany does not have that luxury. Remember how she folded like a house of cards when she found out that Barack Obama was tapping here cellphone. In fact, Germany is not a fully sovereign state that her foreign policy, her intelligence policy, their institutions are essentially controlled by their American counterparts and their financial sectors are extremely vulnerable to any retaliation from the Americans. What can she do to us, if she doesn’t like this bill? Not much that I see.

RT:  The anti-Russia sanctions were attached to a bill targeting Iran, over its ballistic missile program. So if Donald Trump decides to veto them, he will also be watering down sanctions against Iran. How do you expect President Trump will handle this?

JJ: I don’t know. First of all, there was a little horse trading in the Senate reportedly between the Iran supporters and the Russia-sanctions supporters to come up with something. Remember a lot of the Democrats want to protect Obama’s Iran deal and vice-versa. So I don’t know how that’s going to work. I would hope at least informally there would some outreach from the administration to the leadership in the House of Representatives, saying: “Look, can you just put this thing on ice for a while, let’s see if we can work something out that at least has broader waiver authority so the President still has his constitutional prerogatives.”  

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.