Saturday, December 16, 2017

Trump ‘Playing for Russian Side’ Now, Moscow Commentator Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 16 – US President Donald Trump is doing everything he can to delay the implementation of Congressionally-mandated sanctions on Russia, Yury Makarenko says, and that means that “at this time,” he “is playing on the side of Russia” to the horror of the American establishment and Ukraine.

            Picking up on a CNN report yesterday, the Moscow commentator says that the Trump Administration has done everything it can to delay and even block the imposition of sanctions and is likely to continue to do so, something that reflects Trump’s conviction that Moscow can be a useful ally (

                Despite pressures from “the political elite” of the US, Makarenko continues, Trump has “technically frozen certain parts of the economic limitations approved already last summer” but has done so in ways that have deprived its opponents of the ability to orchestrate the rise of a new scandal about his approach to Russia.

            Under the American law passed by Congress on August 2 and reluctantly signed by Trump, the State Department was directed to impose sanctions on certain Russian companies and introduce a system of fines for foreign agents “not later than October 1.”  But the Trump Administration has ignored that deadline.

            Secretary of State Rex Tillerson disbanded the special office in his fiefdom responsible for sanctions, thus delaying things and “by the end of October,” the department “was able only to publish the names of certain Russian individuals on whom sanctions were to be imposed.” 

            That delayed things for a time, but the White House has pushed things back even further: It has now said it will come up with a sanctions list only on January 29, 2018.  But “what is interesting,” Makarenko says, is that the US Administration now promises only to come up with a list but not yet to impose sanctions on those found on it.

            “It is difficult to assert,” the Moscow commentator says, “that Trump is freezing the economic war only from the hope of a certain thaw in relations between Russia and the US. In the first instance, he is a businessman, and in this regard, millions of dollars of potential profits play the main role in the anti-Russian game” Trump has performed “for the public.”

            Nonetheless and in the face of all the Russophobes in Washington, Makarenko concludes, “the White House has consciously dragged out the introduction of the notorious sanctions and at this time is playing on Russia’s side.”

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