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3 Feb, 2017 00:33

Trump gently ‘testing waters’ with sanctions relief amid anti-Russia sentiment – Ron Paul

The slight easing of sanctions on Russia’s FSB is a step in the right direction and President Trump can’t be any “bolder” at the moment, while awaiting reaction from the US political establishment, Ron Paul, the veteran US politician, has said.

Further easing or the outright lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia over alleged meddling in American elections won’t be easy for the new US President, since anti-Russian sentiment is very strong within the US political class, the former US Senator told RT.

The order to ease some restrictions on the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) is a step in the right direction and a feeler of sorts.

“I think he wants to reduce the sanctions and I think he’s going to get a lot of heat for it,” Paul told RT. “A lot of people believe in all the rhetoric and the discourse about ‘The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming, we got to punish them.’ So he has to deal with this more gently. So he puts on this example of trying to reduce sanctions, and he doesn’t remove them, but I think he sort of testing the waters.”

Hopefully, the possible opposition against the decision won’t be too strong and Trump would be able to be consistent with his campaign promises to seek common ground with Moscow. It’s still too early, however, to predict whether the US President will be able to “get bold and remove all the sanctions,” according to Paul.

“I think that’s very good, very significant and hopefully he doesn’t get too much pressure therefore he backs down and goes in the other direction,” Paul said. “This is one thing that shouldn’t be a surprise because he talked about better relations with Russia, and that is very good.”

The decision to impose sanctions over quite weak allegations of “Russian hackers” meddling with the elections was very politicized in its root. A part of the US political establishment, which is eager to “drift” back to Cold War times, “convinced” Obama that it was a serious matter – but Trump does not seem to believe that, according to Paul. All in all, intelligence activity, if even there was any, is such a common thing that it shouldn’t have resulted in sanctions.

“To me that was so superficial and should have been dismissed. Just generally speaking governments are spying on each other all the time. For me it was no big deal either way,” Paul said. “But I don’t think the politicians and the political people, the party people might try to make fun of it… People know that all governments spy on everybody, you spy on your friends and everything else. I find it rather disgusting.”

READ MORE: ‘Hard to expect a better start’: Russian lawmakers & economists optimistic after Putin-Trump call

While the decision to ease anti-Russian sanctions is a good thing, the big picture of past two weeks is quite worrisome, as the new administration has already shown a “consistent policy of picking fights.”

“He looks for battle with China but not with Russia. He wants to get in long battle with Iran. It’s back and forth,” Paul said. “I just can’t understand why if something is good for one country, why it can’t be good for everybody. And I don’t think any country should go out looking for enemies.”