“By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together.” – President Donald Trump
He signed H.R. 3364, the ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act’…an act that he called “seriously flawed” as he felt it put American companies at a disadvantage and hurt the interests of our European allies…but he did so for the sake of “national unity.” He signed it even though he believed it to be “unconstitutional” as it infringed upon his right as president to set policy in regards to foreign affairs. Was it the right thing to do…no. Was it the only thing he could do as all things ‘Russia’ continue to hover over everything he does, everything he says, and everything he dares think…yes…for unfortunately the votes were there to override his veto if need be…and he knew it.
And he is President Donald J. Trump…the man who won the presidency against a woman who truly belongs not just in jail but in federal prison for life…or worse.
And so just two days ago President Trump signed the very act that imposes new sanctions on North Korea, Iran, and Russia, laying to rest his hoped for true ‘reset’ with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Sold out by both the Republican held House and Senate…this act passed in the House 419-3 and in the Senate 98-2…and did so in a misplaced and misguided kumbaya show of bi-partisanship with RINO sellouts and Republican obstructionists joining with Democrats to overrule Trump’s rightful opposition to the act’s provisions that place limits on his executive power…limits that include the imposing of a 30-day review period to give Congress a chance to vote down any of his proposed changes to Russian sanctions before they can be implemented.
Basically this act severely limits President Trump’s ability to negotiate sanctions without congressional approval no matter that the Constitution calls for the president and the president alone to be the setter of foreign policy…specifically this act undermines President Trump’s ability to unilaterally lift sanctions against Russia when and if he deems it the time to do so.
And with a number of ‘supposed’ constitutional law ‘experts’ claiming that Congress has a right to “assert its own constitutional powers”…as in to serve as a “check” on the executive branch…what this, in reality, is sadly but yet another case of the Constitution be damned…and this time those ‘supposedly’ on our side joined into damn the very document that is the law of our land.
In response to this act, President Trump issued a signed statement to let it be known that he could selectively enforce or ignore parts of bills or acts passed by Congress…which is his legal right to do and has been done in the past by both Presidents George W. Bush and Obama.
Saying that “My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress in these various provisions and will implement them in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations,” Trump showed all who really is the boss.
And while to some degree sanctions are both needed and justified against North Korea and Iran…the sanctions placed upon Russia were nothing but payback by the Democrats and the Republican sellouts for self-perceived election tampering that never happened… and to think otherwise is more than a bit naive.
But why naive…because these new sanctions expand on already in place so-called “measures” taken by none other than Barack HUSSEIN Obama in the waning days of his presidency…“measures” to “punish” his chosen scapegoat…the Russians…for he blamed them for not getting his third term in office.
And sellouts do abound…and who should be especially ashamed of himself for selling our president out as he cheered the act being signed…none other than Speaker of the House Paul Ryan who said of the new sanctions placed on North Korea, Iran, and Russia, “Today, the United States sent a powerful message to our adversaries that they will be held accountable for their actions,” completely ignoring the fact that for the most part sanctions simply do not work… at least not always work in our favor that is…for most times those punished are the innocent people of said countries sanctioned and not their governments as intended.
And when all is said and done, the only message this sanctions act sends is that the enemy…both foreign and domestic…’trumped’ Trump and they did not have to lift a finger to do it…our Congress did it for them.
Now let’s briefly break this act down by each country sanctioned especially as to why it is being sanctioned. Starting with North Korea, who we have had sanctions on since the Korean War, previous sanctions have proven only to hurt the North Korean people themselves as the delusional man-child Kim Jong-un thumbs his nose at them as he continues launching his missiles, testing his bombs, and defying all who demand he stop.
For North Korea these new sanctions add just another layer to the already in place financial sanctions, and impose a few new sanctions that target “entities” that give North Korea access to much needed military materials… materials like certain metals and rocket and jet fuels…all in an attempt to reign in the man-child’s quest for nuclear weapons and to do so by cutting off his access to cash needed to bring his plans to fruition. And this is critical as just last week U.S. intelligence revised previous estimates to say that Pyongyang could develop the capability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the continental U.S. within a year and that some believe that their newest ICBM test could already put a number of major U.S. cities at serious risk of an attack.
Also in this act is language regarding the prohibiting of ships owned by North Korea or by countries that refuse to comply with U.N. resolutions against them from operating in American waters or docking at U.S. ports, and there is language stating that goods produced in North Korea through forced labor would be prohibited from entering the U.S.
In regards to “Death to America” Iran, the new sanctions act requires our government to create yet another strategy for countering Iranian threats in the region in addition to imposing sanctions on any “entity” that helps Iran develop its ballistic missile program along with anyone who does business with them. And the act also blocks access to Iranian property in the U.S., calls for another arms embargo, and imposes specific sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force…their tentacle of the Revolutionary Guard that carries out efforts to support terrorist acts.
And it is interesting to note that while previous sanctions placed upon Iran…sanctions like cutting off their access to global markets and investments as well as freezing $56 billion in assets…did have somewhat of an impact and has shown some results because Iran, who still remains a small enough country to isolate to some degree, actually wants both economic and political ties with the rest of the world…especially oil ties no matter that oil prices are plummeting even in light of increased demand.
But the bottom line in regards to these new sanctions placed upon both North Korea and Iran is that there really is nothing terribly new in them except for a bit of ‘belt tightening’ so to speak on what is already in place.
Now as for the what President Trump called the “shoring up of existing sanctions on Russia”…sanctions we have had in place against Russia since their 2014 invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea…sanctions which Putin has already responded to with his ordering the U.S. Embassy to reduce its staff by 755 people by September 1st (which is almost half of our diplomatic and technical personnel and would bring our presence in Russia to 455 persons…the same number they now have in the U.S.); with his ordering the closing down of the embassy’s recreational retreat on the outskirts of Moscow as well as the closing of warehouse facilities; and with his allowing for the seizing of U.S. diplomatic properties.
Simply, this new sanctions act in regards to Russia…besides playing tit-for-tat…does nothing but codify sanctions already in place under existing Executive Orders that relate to blocking property owned by people who contributed to Russia’s move on Ukraine; that punish Russia for their actual military aggression in Ukraine and Syria; and slap them on the wrist for what’s being called “malicious cyber-enabled activities,” human rights abuses, and “corruption” in Russia… “corruption” in Moscow.
Corruption in Russia…I wonder if Russia will sanction the U.S. for ‘corruption’ within our own country…especially within Washington D.C…just saying.
But specifically in regards to blocking Russian property, some European leaders are already worried that parts of the sanctions that do target Russia’s energy sector would harm the businesses already involved in piping Russian natural gas into Europe. In fact, Germany’s foreign minister said his country would not accept U.S. sanctions against Russia being applied to European companies… and know it is his right to do so.
And if some European leaders are worried about this one provision other European leaders…and leaders of non-European countries…could well be worried about other provisions or about this entire new sanctions act itself.
And a fact that must be accepted as truth no matter naysayers to the contrary is that sanctions take years to have the full effect…if they even work at all…meaning when first enacted sanctions are just a warning to those countries sanctioned to either stop what they are doing or else face the consequences. And in the case of North Korea, those consequences have further ramifications than just having to deal with U.S. sanctions.
How so…in a word, China. Remember, more than 90% of North Korea’s trade is with China, including its importing of food and energy. And with North Korea using Chinese banks to fund whatever transactions it has with the rest of the world, and with recent rounds of U.S. sanctions targeting those very Chinese banks and companies, that translates into whatever is minimally hurting China maximally hurts North Korea…more hardships they can ill-afford.
And in the case of Russia…who, yesterday saw Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev saying that the U.S. establishment had “outwitted” President Trump and the U.S. and has “declared a full-fledged economic war” with Russia….has us placing, even more, sanctions on Russia for something they did not do. But know that no economic sanctions we place on Russia can make worse their own well-known economic shortcomings…as in their unsuccessful quest for economic power that monetary stability (which they do not have) would afford one…and they continue that quest no matter what it costs them on the world’s political stage…a stage where they continue to try to become super power #1 while trying to shove us down to #2.
So, with North Korea being sanctioned by us since the Korea War and yet still existing to be a real and tangible threat to the world’s safety; with Iran still remaining the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism; and with Vladimir Putin laser focused on rebuilding the once great Russian Empire…and succeeding to some degree; it can be seen that while sanctions in time might slow down for a while a country’s nefarious goals, they simply do not work in the all-important long haul for what are sanctions but unilateral deals made with oneself.
And here I think President Trump’s words say it all. “As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress”…and you know what…I think he can if Congress would only get out of his way to do what he does best…make deals. I cannot say it any plainer than that…can you.