Brussels Opposes New US Sanctions on Russia
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
House and Senate members are poised to impose tough new illegal sanctions on Russia for phony reasons.
They’re aimed at preventing improved bilateral relations, Trump held hostage to their deplorable agenda.
On Sunday, new White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said “(t)he original piece of legislation was poorly written, but we were able to work with the House and Senate, and the administration is happy with the ability to do that and make those changes that were necessary, and we support where the legislation is now.”
New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Trump will decide on the measure “shortly. He hasn’t made the decision yet to sign that bill one way or the other,” adding:
“Go with what Sarah is saying as I am new to the information…It’s my second or third day on the job.”
Trump has no practical choice. Both houses will pass sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea overwhelmingly – maybe by unanimous voice votes, making the measure veto-proof.
A symbolic veto would isolate Trump more than already, providing more red meat for opponents wanting him impeached and removed from office.
He may genuinely want improved relations with Russia, impossible to achieve with virtually everyone in Washington wanting adversarial ones toughened – a deplorable situation, not a thing Trump can do about it.
Russia is targeted for its sovereign independence, its opposition to America’s imperial agenda, its abhorrence of war, its advocacy for peace and stability, its real war on terror in Syria unlike Washington’s phony one, supporting cutthroat killers it claims to oppose.
Brussels opposes new sanctions targeting Russia’s energy sector, notably anything hampering construction of its Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.
When completed, it’ll transport natural gas to European countries, vital for their energy needs.
According to the Financial Times, “Brussels is preparing to retaliate against the US if Washington pushes ahead with far-reaching new sanctions on Russia that hit European companies.”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker “called for an urgent review of how Brussels should respond if Europe’s energy companies or other businesses are targeted by sanctions under discussion in the US Congress.”
A memo seen by the FT said Brussels “should stand ready to act within days (if US sanctions against Russia are) adopted without EU concerns being taken into account.”
Brussels and Berlin want US assurance that whatever is imposed on Russia won’t hurt EU interests.
Options include “using European law to prevent the US measures from being ‘recognized or enforceable’ in Europe, and preparing ‘WTO-compliant retaliatory measures.’ “
New US sanctions “could impact a potentially large number of European companies doing legitimate business under EU measures with Russian entities in the railways, financial, shipping or mining sectors, among others” – notably “European economic and energy security interests.”
Enactment of new sanctions in their current form would deteriorate Russia/US relations further – already more hostile toward Moscow than any previous time in the post-Cold War period.
EU countries could change the deplorable state of things by acting in their own best interests, no longer taking orders from Washington, ending decades of subservience.
Not so far, post-WW II. Given concerns in Brussels and Berlin over new US sanctions on Russia, now is the time to break ranks and go their own way.
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