US Battles Russia for Heart of the EU

07/30/201777 Comments

In a nearly unanimous vote on Tuesday, the House passed a bill that imposes new sanctions on Moscow and forces Trump to seek congressional approval before easing any restrictions on Russia. The bill, part of a larger sanctions regimen that would also impose new restrictions and punitive measures on Iran and North Korea, was also passed by the Senate in another nearly unanimous vote (98-2) on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration has already signaled the President’s willingness to sign the bill (the same one that they were just badmouthing), turning an “L” into a “W” by mere say so.

The reaction to the bill from Russia is precisely as one would expect: fiery rhetoric about retaliation and counter-measures.

But what about this statement? “In a remarkable moment of candor, the US draft law reveals what this is really about: the sale of American liquefied gas and the displacement of Russian natural gas supplies from the European market. The aim of the sanctions is to secure jobs in the natural gas and oil industry in the USA. Political sanctions should not be associated with economic interests.”

Is this (admittedly accurate) description of the legislation and its contents the work of an angry Russian diplomat? A Russian military officer or businessman?

Nope. Try again. It’s part of a joint statement from German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern. And the two aren’t alone in holding this sentiment. A number of high-ranking European officials have sounded off about this bill, recognizing as they do that, whatever else might be going on here, the widening rift between Russia and the US is a dagger pointed at the heart of Europe…

Explore the new US sanctions on Russia through the European lens in this week’s edition of The Corbett Report Subscriber newsletter.

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