It didn’t take long for Donald Trump to react to Dmitry Medvedev’s trolling on Facebook last night. As Allahpundit predicted, Trump responded — by attacking Congress for the sanctions bill that Trump signed yesterday. Trump blamed Capitol Hill for pushing relations with Russia to “an all-time & very dangerous low,” which seems more than a little ahistorical, if not hyperbolic:
Er … what? Perhaps President Trump missed this, but between 1945 and 1990, Russia (then the Soviet Union) and the US conducted a Cold War that nearly turned hot on a couple of occasions. In 1962, we just narrowly avoided a nuclear war after Moscow put nuclear weapons in Cuba, a response to the US encirclement strategy in Europe. For two weeks, a naval blockade almost acted a tripwire to World War III. You could look it up.
That’s not to say that relations are good now, though. The sanctions bill has angered Moscow enough to declare that the US and Russia are in a “full-fledged economic war,” as Medvedev put it. The Russian Foreign Ministry took a more professional tone in warning of “countermeasures” in this new tussle:
The Russian Foreign Ministry put out a more measured response to the sanctions, saying they reserve “the right to other countermeasures.”
The statement on the ministry’s website added: “It is high time the American fans of sanctions, which have plunged the United States into Russophobic hysteria, got rid of their illusions and realized that no threats or attempts to exert pressure will compel Russia to change its course or sacrifice its national interests.”
So yes, relations with Russia are obviously getting worse, but the placing of blame in this case is rather curious. Have relations suffered because of the sanctions bill? Os it it because (a) Russia committed hostile acts when attempting to influence our election, (b) Russian troops occupy eastern Ukraine, (c) Russia has engaged in provocations aimed at the Baltic states, (d) Russia lied to us about chemical weapons in Syria, or (e) all of the above? If we’re playing “chicken or the egg” with this and the sanctions are the chicken, then I’ll go with (e) as the egg and the chicken as the consequence.
And if the sanctions bill was this bad, why did Trump sign it? Doesn’t he bear any responsibility for that decision? Rather than attack Congress, perhaps Trump ought to focus his attention on why Congress felt compelled to rebuke Russia in the first place — and then brush up on history before hitting the ‘send’ button on Twitter.