US House approves sanctions against Russia
The House of Representatives of the US Congress passed a bill to toughen unilateral US sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. A total of 419 lawmakers supported the bill, with only three votes against.
The document will be passed to the Senate, where it enjoys widespread support from both Democrats and Republicans.
"The bill we just passed with overwhelming bipartisan support is one of the most expansive sanctions packages in history,” speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement after the vote.
If approved by the parliament, the bill will be forwarded to US President Donald Trump. If the US president signs it into law, it would be possible to remove the sanctions only by adopting another legislation. The US administration won’t have the right to lift sanctions independently.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said last week that Trump would support a Russian sanctions bill.
The bill brings to the legislative level the anti-Russian sanctions, imposed by executive orders of former US President Barack Obama over the political crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s reunification with Crimea and against the Russian citizens, whom Washington suspected of cyberattacks on US political institutions(March 6 and December 18, 2014, April 1 2015, July 26 and December 29, 2016).
The director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, explained that Washington's tightening of its foreign policy is linked to the high degree of irresponsibility of the House of Representatives.
"They have long felt themselves to be Roman senators, ruling the destinies of nations. The position of the US as a single superpower corrupts the American ruling class. So, for example, attempts to impose on Europe supplies of expensive American gas instead of cheap Russian are manifestations of a pronounced imperial policy," the expert said.
According to him, Moscow considers the expansion of sanctions as a continuation of the hybrid war against Russia, led by the US elites, which are striving for absolute global domination. "Russia's mission, on the contrary, is to stop all applicants for world domination," the director of the Institute of Political Studies noted.
Sergei Markov expressed confidence that US President Donald Trump will support this bill. "He will have to agree on it, although this law affects his most severely. The president's refusal to support the tightening of sanctions would result for him in conflict with the establishment of the Republican Party, and Trump does not want to quarrel with the Congress," he said.
Speaking about a possible reaction from Moscow, the expert suggested that there will be no hard response, since this bill affects Russia only tangentially. "First of all, it strikes a blow against the US president and the European Union's business," the political scientist specified.
Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the sanctions are not only toughened and expanded, but also consolidated, so it will be very difficult to cancel them.
A senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Olenchenko, in turn, pointed out that, on the one hand, the tightening of sanctions is used as an argument in the domestic political struggle in the United States.
The expert said that, according to the US studies, a rupture of Russophobia is observed only in two cities - Washington and New York. "In general, the country's population even expresses sympathy for Russia. And if the relations between Moscow and Washington continue to develop normally, positive perception of Russia will grow in all the American cities," the senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences assured.
The second reason for the unanimity of congressmen on the issue of tightening sanctions, according to Olenchenko, is the fact that there are mostly people of steadily conservative views, and very strong libertarians in the US Congress. "When the composition of the Congress or some priorities change, it will all go back to the past," the expert said.
As for Trump, the political scientist pointed out that after meeting with Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, the US leader is determined to normalize the dialogue with Russia. "Nevertheless, it is obvious that the Russian-US dialogue is only a part of the US domestic and foreign policy. So, Trump has to maneuver a lot, as he could face the issue of impeachment. If the vote does not take place before August 10, the Congress will go on vacation, and this break would be optimal for both Americans, for us, and for the world community as a whole. Since October 1, the financial results will be summed up in the United States, which can be used as a lever for pressure on the Congress. So, everything depends on how skillful Trump will be," Vladimir Olenchenko concluded.