By Dan Steinbock
While Washington seeks to extend sanctions against Russia, the Trump administration deals with Robert Mueller’s investigation on President Trump and his alleged ties with Russians.
The greatest self-inflicted witch hunt
The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson had warned the Congress to avoid passing legislations that would undermine the “constructive dialogue” maintained by the US with regards to Russia. However, the Senate overwhelmingly voted for the Congress to block Trump’s effort of scaling back sanctions on Russia. The majority of the Senate also voted to retaliate against Russia for its intervention in the 2016 US presidential election by strengthening those sanctions.
Following the event, Trump tweeted that he was the subject of the “single greatest witch hunt in American political history,” which is allegedly being led by “some very bad and conflicted people.” Trump’s rant on Twitter results from his frustrations over several accounts. The White House is under scrutiny for possibly obstructing justice, and Trump’s aides are desperately deflecting questions on the Trump-Russia probe. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence has hired a lawyer to aid him during investigations.
An old practice of the state
Trump’s win has long-term global consequences. In a bid to allow the Trump administration to repair US-Russia ties, Republicans held off from backing tougher financial penalties against Russia. James Comey, the former director of FBI, was dismissed by the Department of Justice. Comey’s termination followed days after his request for additional resources in the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election. Weeks later, Robert Mueller, another former director of FBI, was appointed as special counsel to investigate the Trump-Russia probe.
Both Comey and Mueller are known for being pliable political operatives. Ex-FBI Coleen Rowley recently stated, “Mueller was chosen as special counsel not because he has integrity but because he will do what the powerful want him to do.” Rowley was responsible for exposing the pre-9/11 failures of the FBI to the then-FBI Director Mueller. However, there is little doubt about the political outcome of Mueller’s investigation, as he is more likely, unwilling to handle Russia-related issues with silk gloves. Mueller seems to go after President Trump himself, as he is investigating Trump’s inner circle, for crimes that are financial in nature. According to the critics, discrediting the messenger to distract attention from the message, is an old practice by the “deep state.”
A strained relationship
After the Cold War, Russia and the US had maintained a warm relationship with each other until the US shocked Russia by creating an economic nightmare. Former Russian satellites, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and other Baltic states eventually joined the NATO. The then-President George Bush wanted to renew US-Russia relations. However, such an intention proved to be impossible due to the 9/11 incident, US incursions into Afghanistan, withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and invasion of Iraq. NATO’s interest in Ukraine and Georgia and the US attempt to gain access to Central Asia’s oil caused Russia to deem these efforts as intrusions.
By 2010, the United States and Russia had agreed to withdraw their nuclear arsenals. While President Obama also attempted to renew relations with Russia, rising tensions in Crimea buried their attempt. During his campaigns, Trump spoke to improve US-Russia ties. In the hopes of lifting economic sanctions against Russia, Trump began to have phone conferences with Vladimir Putin in January 2017.
However, Trump’s security adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign. What ensued was Russia’s inflammation at the resignation which signalled a downward spiral for US-Russia relations. Months later, Tillerson claimed that US-Russia relations were at a new low point with the appointment of a special counsel. Due to the investigation, some of Trump’s initiatives, which require legislation, may now be subjected to constraints. However, actions that require executive permissions or both, may be easier to implement.
A doctrine to conquer
The impeachment of President Trump rests upon the Wolfowitz Doctrine, a highly controversial policy blueprint, developed by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Paul Wolfowitz. Wolfowitz is the prophet of the Bush neoconservatives. In 1989, Soviet Union President Gorbachev and the US President Bush announced the end of the Cold War. In exchange for ironclad guarantees, NATO promised not to expand eastward.
However, US’ neoconservatives began to push Eastern countries into the US orbit. The effort was inspired by the Wolfowitz Doctrine, which states the US as the only global hegemon operating in unipolarity. It states that the US will not tolerate the “re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere.” The doctrine has legitimised wars in the Middle East and undermined several attempts to improve US-Russia ties.
What happens in Washington
Trump, unlike his precursors, is fighting back by creating a “war room” within the White House. The war room is used to combat leaks, disclosures and the Trump-Russia investigation. The war room may also shed light on the Clintons’ gross abuse of public funds, and the several mysterious deaths of Democrats, who were willing to testify against such abuses. It is important to note that historically, the appointments of special counsels has often been accompanied by collateral damages. The events in Washington have the capability of affecting the world.
Dr. Dan Steinbock is the founder of the Difference Group and has served as the research director at the India, China, and America Institute (USA).
Featured Image Credits: Washington Examiner
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