Phony Pretexts for US Sanctions
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
All unilaterally imposed US sanctions are illegal – virtually always imposed on sovereign independent states America doesn’t control, ones it’s hostile toward for bogus reasons.
On Tuesday, bipartisan House members overwhelmingly approved new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. Senate action awaits, a vote so far not scheduled.
In mid-June, an earlier version of the legislation passed overwhelmingly by a 97 – 2 vote.
The House and Senate measure has three components:
The Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act, largely for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. They’re solely for defense, not offense, deterrents against feared US aggression.
The Russia Sanctions Review Act of 2017 – because of its nonexistent US election meddling and nonexistent aggression in Ukraine or anywhere else.
Russia is a world peace and stability champion, America a serial aggressor.
Congress should impose sanctions on the only country waging endless wars on nations threatening no one, more sanctions on NATO, Israel and their rogue partners in high crimes.
Iranian sanctions are for its legitimate ballistic missile program, along with nonexistent support for terrorists and human rights abusers.
Congress wrongfully claims the above nations undermine US interests and foster violence worldwide. They oppose America’s imperial agenda, its endless wars of aggression, its global state-sponsored terrorism, violence and other high crimes.
Washington imposes sanctions for political and economic reasons, not legitimate ones.
Sanctioning Russia’s energy industry is all about wanting greater access to European markets for US natural gas producers, punishing nations and companies investing in Russian energy projects – notably Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline scheduled for completion in 2019.
A critical European Commission statement said “(w)e are concerned the measures discussed in the US Congress could have unintended consequences, not only when it comes to Transatlantic/G7 unity, but also on EU economic and energy security interests.”
A joint statement by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said “(w)e can’t accept the threat of illegal and extraterritorial sanctions against European companies.”
“Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America.” Talk is meaningless without follow-up action.
Europe shamefully is subservient to US interests at the expense of its own. Is this time different? Unlikely, but it remains to be seen.
US sanctions on Russia are all about longstanding hostility toward Moscow, undermining Trump’s efforts to improve relations, along with “selling American liquefied natural gas (as well as) ending the supply of Russian natural gas to the European market,” said Gabriel and Kern.
ExxonMobil, GE, Boeing, Citigroup, Ford, Procter & Gamble, Caterpillar, other US corporate giants and European ones oppose new Russian sanctions, saying imposition will harm their interests.
The legislation prohibits investing more than $5 million annually in Nord Stream 2 and other Russian pipeline projects. It bans aiding them technologically or by other means.
Amended legislation lets US businesses work with Russian ones not targeted by sanctions on certain energy projects outside Russia.
The measure is certain to get overwhelming Senate approval. White House press secretary Sarah Sander issued a statement saying:
“While the President supports tough sanctions on North Korea, Iran and Russia, the White House is reviewing the House legislation and awaits a final legislative package for the President’s desk.”
Earlier she indicated Trump will sign the measure despite reservations. He has little choice. Overwhelming House and Senate passage negates his veto power. Exercising it symbolically would be more red meat for opponents to pursue impeachment.
Sanctions legislation on Russia, Iran and North Korea heads toward enactment, a triumph for US imperial interests, an indictment of the nation’s deplorable agenda – humanity’s greatest scourge at home and abroad.
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