On Tuesday I posted about a spellbinding and ludicrous bill, S.722, which effectively, and bilaterally, broadens and deepens sanctions against Russia (and Iran) while simultaneously preventing the President from lifting or easing said sanctions without congressional approval.
Everyone logically expected a forthcoming veto. But surprise was in the stars.
“President Donald J Trump read early drafts of the bill and negotiated regarding critical elements of it,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “He has now reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it.”
“It’s impossible to endlessly tolerate this kind of insolence towards our country,” Vladimir Putin said Thursday, referring to the sanctions. “This practice is unacceptable – it destroys international relations and international law.”
The bill includes the second round of sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. On 30 December, then-president Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the country and seized two Russian diplomatic compounds.
Trump has repeatedly expressed a desire to improve diplomatic relations with Russia – a position made awkward by the ongoing investigations into possible collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin during the election.
But the lopsided votes in the House and Senate forced his hand – with both bodies having more than enough votes to override a veto.
The sanctions have been criticized by France, Germany and the European Union over concerns that they could affect European businesses, including a gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany.
Essentially the bill forces Trump’s hand into making him, 1) sign a bill which appears to rebuff much of the agenda that is implicated in this Administration’s M.O. and global view, while 2) completely tying his hands through a surreptitious ploy of a self-imposed limitation embedded in the bill which neutralizes any ideas he might entertain to legislatively weaken said sanctions.
It’s a lose-lose for President Trump.
He is cornered and triangulated into signing this distasteful legislation, for the Russia narrative is so perfidious and ubiquitous that refusal to sign the bill (which incidentally passed by astronomical majorities in Congress and the Senate) might imply a nefarious Russia-loving agenda on the part of our President who has been painted into such a corner of Russian commiseration by Democrats and Republicans and the MSM. His other choice is to sign the bill, thus minimizing the suspicious intrigue cultivated and planted by the purveyors of the Russia narrative.
And this is what Trump has done.
I theorize that the Russia-collusion narrative, which was planted during the Presidential campaign last year, was enacted with the simple intention of weakening President Trump’s Russia-friendly stance and thus extinguishing any chance for that country’s deepening alliance with the United States. And in fact, it leverages fallacious suspicions about Trump’s relationship with Russia to such an exaggerated degree, that the initial shots of Cold War II appear triggered by our current POTUS, albeit superficially.
You know, Cold War II, the one that “Trump started.”