On Sunday, Nikki Haley announced that the United States would be imposing new sanctions on Iran and Russia for their support of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. The announcement comes after the United States conducted a missile strike on specific targets in response to the chemical weapons attack against civilians in the town of Douma.
Just before the missile strike, President Donald Trump issued a blistering rebuke to Russia for propping up the Syrian government. “What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?” he said.
Nikki Haley Announces New Sanctions On Putin
In an appearance on “Face The Nation,” the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. told Margaret Brennan that the United States would be implementing even further sanctions on Monday. “Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn’t already, and they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use,” she said.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration unveiled a new round of sanctions against members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. The president took these measures in response to the Kremlin’s “malign activity around the globe.”
The sanctions target seven wealthy Russian businessmen, twelve companies, and 17 Russian officials. The measures prohibit U.S. companies from doing business with any of these Russian entities. Those who violate the sanctions are subject to having their assets frozen. Naturally, these recent developments are likely to put a strain on the relationship between the United States and Russia.
What Does This Mean For U.S./Russia Relations?
Since President Trump took office, the left has attempted to convince the American public that President Trump colluded with the Russians as some sort of quid pro quo agreement. Apparently, the agreement was that Putin would help Trump get elected, and in return, Trump would take actions that make life harder for Moscow. This theory only makes sense if you’re on the left.
The reality is that while Trump and Putin have both praised each other, their interests are at cross purposes. Russia is interested in supporting the Assad regime, helping Iran, and expanding their influence in the region. President Trump does not want to become too involved in the Syrian civil war but also is reluctant to relinquish American influence in the area. Additionally, his administration is not willing to tolerate egregious human rights violations on the part of Assad’s government.
Trump is right, Russia has not done their part to ensure peace in the area — they have only been looking out for their own interests. This is no surprise; it’s how Putin has always operated. However, the Russian president no longer has an American leader that he can manipulate as easily as Bush or Obama.
Both Trump and Putin are known for being stubborn, and there is no sign that Trump intends to back down as other presidents have. This naturally puts him at odds with Moscow. Until the U.S. and Russia can come to an agreement regarding Syria and other matters, the relationship between the two nations will continue to be tense.
UPDATE: The White House has announced that the president has not committed to these sanctions. In a press conference, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said:
“We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future.”
Later, whilst on Air Force One, she said:
“the president has been clear that he’s going to be tough on Russia, but at the same time he’d still like to have a good relationship with them.”
While this does not rule out the likelihood of further sanction being imposed, it does point to a more restrained attitude towards dealing with Putin.
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