Washington, DC. The US Sentate recently passed an even tougher set of sanctions against Russia that even has US allied Europe up in arms over the damage caused them. Just what is in these sanctions that push us one stop closer to WWIII ?

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would fortify existing sanctions on Russia and add new restrictions. If the bill becomes law, it would mark the most significant step taken by Congress on Russia policy in recent history. Though not perfect, the bill would substantially strengthen the West’s negotiating position vis-à-vis Russia on the conflict in Ukraine and send a strong message to Moscow that efforts to undermine US elections carry costly consequences, that is the American-Atlantist perspective, to be polite..

While the legislation has bipartisan support in the Senate, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled on June 13 that the Trump administration will oppose it. The White House’s opposition could give House Republicans cold feet about voting on the bill.

Before it becomes reality, it is worth examining the contents of the bill and explaining what it would mean for US policy toward Russia. The bill locks in existing US sanctions against Russia and gives Congress a check on the president’s ability to lift sanctions.

Ukraine’s lobby who helped write the laws, underscore the basic element of the bill is that it codifies existing US sanctions against Russia—including three executive orders tied to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, one tied explicitly to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and two tied to malicious cyber activities.

Without the “Trump clause” as Pavlo Klimkin calls it, President Donald Trump could terminate US sanctions against Russia with the stroke of a pen. By codifying the executive orders, the bill constrains the executive branch’s ability to remove any of the sanctions currently in place.

The bill spells out what Trump must do in order to remove sanctions: submit a report to Congress explaining the rationale, including what the United States expects to receive in return. Within thirty days of the submission of such a report (sixty if it is submitted during summer), Congress alone can approve or reject the president’s decision to remove sanctions.

The reactions so far from Europe are not good for Congress. Attempts to regulate Nord Stream 2 have the EU ready to collapse on itself as members start to look for ways to reverse sanctions that are not helping anybody but a handfull of oligarchs in Kiev and a lot of very corrupt members of Congress in Washington, on the open take from the Poroshenko regime.

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