US sanctions on Russia - Dichotomy in the foreign policy - EXCLUSIVE | Eurasia Diary -

23 August, Friday

US sanctions on Russia - Dichotomy in the foreign policy - EXCLUSIVE

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Political approaches to US sanctions on Russia and Iran obviously showed the rising tensions between Republicans and Democrats in US foreign policy. Nowadays, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders underlined that “sanctions against Russia and Iran are risky for US foreign policy”, although Democrats in the US House of Representatives introduced a new version of a Russia and Iran sanctions bill, hoping to send a message to President Donald Trump to maintain a strong line against Moscow. 
Commenting the meeting with Vladimir Putin in G20 Summit, Trump states on his twitter account that “...We negotiated a ceasefire in parts of Syria which will save lives. Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia”.
Within the Summit “handshake” was also in the core of the meeting between the heads of US and Russia. In comparison with other presidents, Trump’s handshaking with Putin was “soft” and gently. 
White House’s policy toward Russia under Trump administration
Professor at the Department of International Relations at Central European University, Erin Kristin Jenne states in her response to Eurasia Diary’s questions that there has been a lot of continuity between the Obama and Trump administrations.  
“For example, the Trump administration has continued Obama's policies of countering the Islamic State in Iraq and avoiding an open military confrontation in Syria. Likewise, neither Congress nor members of the Trump administration have moved to lift sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, despite Trump's stated interest in doing so. Finally, investigations by the intelligence community and Congress into links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government are likely to persist throughout Trump's presidency, constraining his ability to put a new face on US foreign policy.”
Diplomatic tensions between US and Russia
Paul Robinson, Professor on Public and International affairs at Ottawa University says that there is little practical difference between the two administrations. 
“One gets the impression that Trump would like to reduce tensions with Russia, but I see no sign that other Republicans have the same desire. In this sense, there is a divide between the White House and other Republicans, particularly those in Congress.”
He also mentions that Trump has said some positive things about Putin following their meeting, but so far he has continued the policy of the Obama administration by maintaining and indeed strengthening sanctions against Russia. Some of Trump’s officials, notably Nikki Haley, have also spoken very harshly about Russia.
Effectiveness of the sanctions
Both experts underline that despite the China’s support to Russia, sanctions of the Western countries had negative impacts on Russian economy. Professor Erin K. Jenne considers that Western sanctions have clearly hurt Russian businesses (particularly banks and the energy sector), the currency and the economy as a whole. 
“Russia's determination to end western sanctions is a major reason why Moscow attempted to alter the outcome of the US elections in 2016.”
According to Mr. Paul Robinson, although it is observed some influence on the economy of Russian Federation, there is no any change on the policy of official Kremlin. 
“Sanctions have had a negative effect on the Russian economy, helping drive it into recession in 2015-2017. It is also possible that they may have acted as a constraint on Russia’s policy vis-à-vis Ukraine. But overall, they cannot be said to have succeeded in achieving their declared policy goals. The Russian economy is now beginning to grow again, while Russia has not altered its policy towards Ukraine in the manner that Western states desire.”
NATO’s expansion around Russia, US military bases and military exercises near China underestimate any political compromise in the global context.
Farid Hasanov

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