Putin understands only force

Yet no sooner had the Senate to implement the agreement reached between Republicans and Democrats agreed to punish Russia and limit the impact of trump’s relaxation of sanctions, as his administration tries to put it into question. Recall that in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, a daring cyber attack and interference with the course of American elections, and the ongoing aggression in Syria, the senators have prepared amendments to the bill on sanctions against Iran, which retains and greatly expands sanctions against the Russian government and at the same time exclude the possibility of the administration for cancellation or mitigation of the imposed restrictions. On this “Day,” wrote details in yesterday’s article entitled “Congress goes through leverage”. What is the meaning of the agreement in the U.S. Senate over imposing new sanctions against Russia?”.

U.S. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson, in particular, said at a hearing of the foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate: “what we would like the flexibility to remove the tension, when we feel that our efforts are not able to provide closer cooperation with Russia in counter-terrorism efforts and the settlement of the Syrian civil war.” Tillerson added that the US and Russia “there are some new channels that are open where we start talking, and I wouldn’t want to close it”.

The Chairman of the foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Senate Bob Corker rejected the negative comments Tillerson concerning the agreement on the sanctions, told reporters: “I would not criticize the bill, which details not learned”. According to him, the agreement came after the 22 hours, because the administration has not “acquainted with the final details.”

Corker, who is a trump, in addition to Tillerson, was considered for the position of head of the State Department, also provided that trump in the end will sign an agreement on sanctions against Russia, if this document will fall on his Desk.

Meanwhile, the House of representatives had not yet committed themselves to support the bilateral agreement of the Senate. Chairman of the Committee on foreign Affairs in the House of representatives ed Royce on the hearing of the Committee stated that it “is working to try to ensure bipartisan support” proposals aimed at punishing the Putin government after Russian cyber-attacks to distort the elections in 2016. Royce stressed that sanctions against Russia already exist, but added that “we are considering ways of message the additional message”.

Much sharper criticized the statement, Tillerson, the press Secretary of the Democratic opposition group American Bridge Sabrina Singh. “Looks so that the administration that claims to put America’s interests first, doing the opposite. And opposition to bilateral sanctions, unfortunately, is only the latest example of this administration for which the priority of Russian interests at the expense of our country,” she said in comments to Politico.

“Only through an increase in prices for the aggression Putin will be more flexible”

Hanna hopko, Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on foreign Affairs:

— Over 3.5 years of Russian aggression against Ukraine, no progress on the implementation of the commitments — the daily shelling continues in the East, in the Crimea, the increasing pressure on activists, dissidents. Time for the West to draw conclusions: the sanctions against the Putin regime as a tool of pressure (not strategy) should be strengthened. Only through an increase in prices for the aggression Putin will become more flexible. Otherwise it will be an imitation of the desire to fulfill what we saw all the years since the invasion of Russian troops on our territory, daily human sacrifices. All attempts by the US to negotiate with Russia on Syria ended in tragedy in Aleppo. Therefore, Tillerson, like all of the current administration, trump must learn the lessons of the previous administration to achieve progress in the peaceful settlement of the conflict, not appeasement lead to new victims and new conflicts. Putin only understands force. From success in Ukraine depends on the success in Syria, because the victory in the Ukraine for Putin’s overarching ambitions.

“Tillerson’t in a position where he can dictate to two Senate committees.”

Lilia Shevtsova, Russian political analyst, Moscow:

— Let’s first define a General background of the discussion on sanctions and the relations of the White House with the Kremlin. This conversation is happening in a situation where America would be without the concept of foreign policy as a systematic set of actions to achieve certain goals. After coming to the White House trump, American politics has become a set of convulsive action, some of which contradict others or completely denying the previous one. It is a policy “flip-flop”, as the Americans say. In short, the politics of “non – denial denial” or “there and back” as you want. Can you find other metaphors to define the throwing of the White House. In this situation it is pointless to expect consistent actions of Washington against Russia.

However, the administration, including Secretary of state, has a stable desire for the “normalization” of relations with Russia. But it is unclear what may be the normalization, and what concessions the Kremlin is ready to go trump and Tillerson. And without concessions to Putin — what is normalization? But even concessions to the Kremlin do not mean anything.

The consensus of both parties on the issue of a new package of sanctions against Russia, even against the “corrupt Russian officials”, but not sectors, of course, reduces the maneuverability of the White House in its attempts to dialogue with Moscow. Moreover, the new package will not allow the Trump easy to abandon sanctions and make it more “solid” sectoral package of sanctions. In the current situation, when any step in the direction of Moscow can delegitimate presidency trump, he hardly dare to lock this package.

So that there is a situation that narrows the possibilities Tillerson in deals with Moscow on Syria and Ukraine. But at the same time the Senate consensus on sanctions may be the excuses of the inability of the state Department to seek the removal of tension in relations with Russia.

In any case, Tillerson’t in a position where he can dictate to two Senate committees — it will not spoil relations with Congress. By the way, the package of sanctions against Russia (and Iran) is not blocking the dialogue between Washington and Moscow on the “deconfliction” in the areas of fighting in Syria.

So what we have in the end. Us Congress throws a new bridle on the White House, by limiting his maneuver in relations with Russia, and warns Europe against easing the sanctions regime against Russia. But note that the picture is still more vague. We need to take into account the fact that a number of businesses and lobbying forces in America and in Europe have found an indirect path for doing business with Russia. However, these “loopholes” do not allow Russia to return to the former favourable international economic situation. And it is a long time.

“Congress will put pressure on trump, because I do not trust the President in his relations with Russia”

Adrian Karatnycky
, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States, managing partner of Myrmidon Group LLC, Washington:

— Each administration is seeking maximum flexibility in carrying out its foreign policy. Tillerson clearly asks the Congress to give him and Trump’s ability to maneuver. The problem is that Congress strongly suspects Russian views of trump and wants to limit its scope to the strict policy. In addition, the growing discontent of the Russian cyber-attacks and interference in American elections has created Yastrebino environment. In my opinion, the Congress will put pressure on trump, because he doesn’t trust President on its relations with Russia. That’s why majority leader McConnell supported the new hard binding legislation.

The discussion in Congress takes place during the visit of President Poroshenko in Washington. His visit will help to clarify the President’s views trump on Russia and Ukraine. The strength of the Ukrainian President as a diplomat, the ability to maneuver in Washington, and the timing of his visit can help promote Ukraine’s interests in Congress and the White house.

“I don’t see those channels that are threatened by Congress of new legislation”

Steven Pifer
, senior fellow of the Brookings Institute, former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Washington:

For the United States it’s time to restore some of the channels of communication with the Russians, for example, the negotiations on strategic stability and military dialogue that would help to avoid mistakes, because the U.S. / NATO and Russian military units are quite close to each other. This is not a concession to Moscow. I don’t see the channels facing the Congress the adoption of new legislation on sanctions against Russia.

I can understand why the Secretary of state Tillerson prefers not to legitimize the sanctions into law. If the sanctions are based only on the orders of the President, the administration has the flexibility to increase or decrease them in response to the situation. On the other hand, the sanctions of the Congress is often very difficult to cancel, even if the goals of sanctions were achieved. Let’s see how long it was that Congress repealed the provisions of the Amendment of Jackson-Vanik for Ukraine (2006) and Russia (2012), although both countries have fulfilled his position in the middle of 1990-ies. So I usually prefer that the sanctions were based on Executive orders. However, this time I support the actions of Congress, because the President trump could ease sanctions against Russia without having to first implement the Minsk agreements, or in other words is not moved to resolve the conflict with Ukraine at the Donbass.