The new US sanctions signed by Donald Trump will affect all many sides, including the US and Trump, explains American businessman Paul Goncharoff. We have left the era of even trying to trust and there is a demonization and intolerance out there, he added.
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a new sanctions bill targeting Russia, which had been passed by the majority of the Congress. However, the president branded the restrictions ‘flawed’ and signaled that he was reluctant to adopt them.
Moscow says the new sanctions derail any possible progress in the already poor relations between the US and Russia. The new sanctions are regarded by some in Europe as an intrusion into internal affairs.
RT: Trump himself called this bill “significantly flawed.” If that is the case, why did he sign it?
Paul Goncharoff: It is an internal American affair. I am sure he had his reasons. He had his hands tied probably: you’re dead if you do, you’re dead if you don’t…
RT: Some are saying he was catering to the American public and that they wanted to see him sign these sanctions. What’s your take on that?
PG: If that is the case, it is a very sad state of affairs of what is America. It sort of underlines intolerance and lack of desire to get at what the truth is in fact.
RT: What about the reaction of some of the European leaders? There’s been anger, frustration, some even discussing the preparation of counter sanctions against America. Why is Europe so unhappy with these anti-Russia sanctions?
PG: It is again: America is the band leader. It is – do it our way, or take the highway. And the world is much more multi-faceted than just the view out of the Beltway. There are needs, desires and perception of the future that Europeans have that differ from that of America.
RT: Some say that this is technically, internationally illegal to use sanctions as a political tool to further the US energy industry. Is that accurate?
PG: That has been said. If one takes a look at the WTO (World Trade Organization) and some of the principals that are embodied in the WTO – what we’ve seen since 2014 is really counter to the spirit of free trade, which I don’t think we’ve ever really seen.
RT:The Nord Stream-2 pipeline was supposed to be pumping up Russian gas into Europe within the next year or two. Austria, Italy, France and some other countries have invested billions into the project. The US in effect is saying: “Don’t buy Russian gas, but American LPG gas instead.” Is that correct?
PG: That is one interpretation. The other again is the perception of the Ukraine situation. But if you look historically, all the times the valves have been turned on and off has been by Ukraine, and it’s essentially been holding Europe hostage for higher rates for throughput of gas. So directly pumping gas from Russia to Germany, or to Europe makes much more sense, because it is business – it is not politics.
RT: Who do you think these sanctions will hurt the most: Russia, Europe, China, Iran, or Trump himself?
PG: All of the above and more. We have left the era of even trying to trust. There is a demonization out there, intolerance.
RT: Many say Trump is under attack from all sides. Is this how it is going to be for the next three years at least?
PG: I hope not, but I think that’s what the case is. He was voted in to be someone different, not to be Republican or Democrat – to be an American; to safeguard American interests, not necessarily our interest in the Persian Gulf, or in Iceland, or whatever – in the USA. Well, his hands have been tied.