Wednesday, July 05, 2017

US Russia policy this week

Democratic Sen. Ricchard Blumenthal was on Morning Joe today pushing to enact more sanctions on Russia, specifically to pass the sanctions bill that the Senate recently approved 98-2, Senator Renews Calls For Russia Sanctions:

Prior to this week's G-20 Summit on Thursday, By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Glenn Thrush report for the New York Times, (Aides’ Biggest Worry on Trump’s Europe Trip: A Meeting With Putin 07/05/2017):

The biggest concern, people who have spoken recently with members of his team said, is that Mr. Trump, in trying to forge a rapport, appears to be unwittingly siding with Mr. Putin. Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Putin has expressed disdain for the news media, and he asserted in a recent interview that secretive elements within the United States government were working against the president’s agenda. Two people close to Mr. Trump said they expected the men to bond over their disdain for “fake news.”

“You don’t want to come out of there saying, ‘We’re friends, and the enemy is the deep state and the media,’” said Michael A. McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia. “If it were somebody else other than Trump, you could imagine a tough conversation about Ukraine and election meddling, but that’s probably too optimistic. Politics does constrain, I think, the parameters of the possible for any kind of major breakthrough.”
This CNN documentary narrated by Fareed Zakaria from this year provides a safely mainstream Establishment look at Vladimir Putin's career, The Power of Putin:

Alyona Minkovski writes about the upcoming personal meeting of Trump and Vladimir Putin in 5 Things You Need to Know About Trump and Putin's First Date Daily Banter 07/05/2017:

Russia will always see NATO as a threat to its sphere of influence, and despite Trump’s waffling on Article 5 during his last trip overseas or his anti-NATO remarks during the election, he is stopping in Warsaw on his way to the G20, and the American diplomatic and military establishment have all reaffirmed the US commitment to the organization. While the US sees North Korea as an illegitimate global actor, Russia has both strategic and economic interests in engaging the hermit kingdom with which it shares a border. Many Russians don’t see the annexation of Crimea as an incursion into Ukraine’s sovereign territory, and Russia has military interests to protect in Syria, like a naval base in Tartus. ...

While all eyes are on the Russian and American relationship, China and Russia are growing increasingly closer. Trade has reportedly increased by 30% just this year between the two countries, and plans for a new "Silk Road" that comes through Russia are in the works. North Korea’s ballistic missile launch happened to coincide with Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, where the Chinese and Russian leaders took the opportunity to chide both Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, warning them to “refrain from provocative actions and warlike remarks”. If the US continues to take a strong position against Russia on the global front, a Russian and Chinese alliance could comeback to bite us down the road.

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