While a White House aide indulges in profane tantrums, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have finally found something they can agree on — sanctioning Russia. And Iran and North Korea.
Sanctioning people and countries is big these days. It looks like you’re doing something firm, even though sanctions and sanctions upon sanctions haven’t really accomplished anything.
Is Russia still in Crimea? Is Iran still pursuing nuclear weapons? North Korea too? Frankly, if anyone from those places is dumb enough after all these years to still have money or holdings in the U.S., they probably deserve to have them seized.
The bipartisan bill, now enroute to the president’s desk, is dramatic evidence too of the absence of trust in Washington, that a Republican Congress should band with Democrats to ensure a GOP president can’t give something away to Russia.
The measure also creates a tempting opportunity for Trump to ignite another political firestorm just for kicks. He has 10 days to decide. His new communications director, Anthony “You **********” Scaramucci, told CNN Trump might just veto one of the year’s few bipartisan bills because it’s not tough enough. He could also claim it infringes on executive powers by requiring him to seek legislative approval for any later sanction relief.
To some, this would prove Trump is a Putin puppet, even though numerous other sanctions remain in place and Trump has been slow to return two Russian compounds seized in the dying days of the Obama regime.
Also, a Trump veto would be pointless. Here are the veto-proof sanction vote totals in the House 419-3 and Senate 98-2.
“While the President supports tough sanctions on North Korea, Iran and Russia,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “the White House is reviewing the House legislation and awaits a final legislative package for the President’s desk.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin promised retaliation and Friday his government moved to expel some Americans.
“We are behaving in a very restrained and patient way,” he said at a Moscow news conference, “but at some moment we will need to respond. It’s impossible to endlessly tolerate this kind of insolence towards our country. This practice is unacceptable – it destroys international relations and international law.”
As opposed to, say, invading Georgia, annexing Crimea, propping the Syrian regime.
While sanctions make empty news in the West, there are no signs of positive effects elsewhere. Iran claimed Thursday it launched its first earth satellite and North Korea appears ready to test another ICBM.
A new Defense Intelligence Agency report earlier this week revised early estimates to predict the rogue communist regime could have nuclear-armed ICBMs by next year.
U.S. intelligence reports have less than stellar recent records assessing nuclear weapon programs of other countries. See Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. North Korean missiles appear to have the range. Its engineers are now testing miniaturization of a nuclear bomb and a capsule to protect it through supersonic reentry into the atmosphere.
That would put Japan, Guam, Hawaii, Alaska and the West Coast within range. Suggesting sanctions would be replaced by a more forceful and deadly response.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming about leakers and a peeved president.