‘US-Russia relations at all-time & dangerous low. Thank Congress’ – Trump
On Wednesday, the US president put his signature to legislation imposing additional sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, and limiting his own ability to ease those restrictions without approval from Congress.
Trump said he had greenlit the unwanted act “for the sake of national unity,” despite the legislation being “seriously flawed” and having “clearly unconstitutional provisions.”
Earlier, both chambers of the US Congress voted with veto-proof majorities to approve the bill, seeking to punish Russia over a host of issues, including its support for the Syrian government, alleged backing for the rebels in Ukraine, as well as Crimea’s accession to Russia.
The sanctions target a wide array of entities and individuals – including Russia’s energy sector, banks, weapons manufacturers as well as those whom the US has accused of interfering in the presidential election through hacking and otherwise.
Following the signing, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Washington’s move has signaled the beginning of a fully-fledged economic war on Russia.
The news on sanctions has shattered “hopes for improving our relations with the new US administration,” Medvedev tweeted, adding that the Trump Team “has shown its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way.”
The US sanctions won’t be left without answer from Moscow and other capitals affected by the restrictions, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s press secretary, said on Thursday.
“We generally consider such sanction policy short-sighted, illegal and having no prospects,” Peskov said. “The countries which have faced such lawlessness intend to defend, and will defend, their interests and everybody should perceive this without equivocation,” he stressed.
Critics of the newly imposed Russian sanctions believe Trump shouldn not have bowed to Congress and should have refused to sign the bill.
Trump should have actually “fought” the sanctions instead of just lamenting that the law is “flawed” and “unconstitutional,” Lew Rockwell, chairman of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, told RT.
Trump “should have said, as he signed the bill, that he does not intend to enforce it because he believes it is unconstitutional,” Rockwell said. That it was what George W. Bush and Barack Obama did while occupying the president’s office when they fundamentally disagreed with bills passed by Congress, Rockwell pointed out.
“The Congress cannot actually make Trump do things,” the expert said, adding, that “what Trump should have done [about this law] is just to ignore it.”
Rockwell said the new sanctions “are evil” in a range of ways and that such policy could eventually even lead to a large-scale military confrontation.
He also believes that Trump should avoid the role of another “war president” and instead he should “stop harassing China, stop harassing Russia, not go after North Korea and forget Cuba.”
Rockwell believes that Trump “has to go to the American people and tell them what’s at stake: war and peace.”