Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Obama's moment of truth: Clown or tough man?

It appears that Mr. Obama is facing a moment of truth: he will either have to impose new sanctions against Russia, or he will look like a clown. The West said that the new package of sanctions could be approved at the EU summit on June 26-27. However, Obama's sponsors unexpectedly protested against such a development of events. 

The U.S. authorities continue to stubbornly insist on the need to impose industry sanctions against Russia. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Moscow was showing no desire to stop "the flow of arms" to "separatists" from across the border. Kerry urged Putin to publicly ask the east of Ukraine to "lay down their arms." U.S. President Barack Obama said in turn that Putin's words must be accompanied by action, and that the United States was still ready to impose additional sanctions, in coordination with U.S. allies and partners. The purpose of new sanctions is "to further isolate the Russians and put pressure on them so that they take action to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine," White House spokesman Josh Ernest said.

Thus, the Obama administration sees Russia as the main culprit of the destabilization of the situation in Ukraine, while the Russian President says that it is the Americans that committed the coup and does not consider the Russian Federation a side of the Ukrainian conflict. In addition, Vladimir Putin made it clear in Vienna, that peace talks do not imply any action to make the protesters in the south-east of Ukraine lay down their arms. The difference in the assessment of the situation and ways of its stabilization virtually eliminates optimism in terms of an opportunity to lift sanctions, if it was not for a few circumstances.

First and foremost, it goes about opinions and actions in Europe. The Americans do not need the consent of the EU to impose sanctions against Russia. They will fine all European companies, should they be exposed of cooperation with sanctioned Russian companies. This was done against French bank BNP Paribas, which was fined $8 billion (!) for participation in trade of Sudanese oil. If European leaders succumb to this blackmail, then the political future of Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande becomes very problematic, taking into consideration the fact that many people and businesses in France and Germany are opposed to sanctions against Russia. After a while, the sanctions will inevitably harm the economies of Germany and France, and many people will lose their jobs.

Secondly, representatives of American business interfered in the matter. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (Obama's sponsors in the last presidential election) stated that potential sanctions against Russian energy, defense and financial sectors could harm U.S. businesses and workers. Two of America's leading business lobbies prepare to publicly oppose President Barack Obama about the prospects for new sanctions against Russia. Prior to that, they quietly voiced their objections to the White House, Bloomberg said.

Noteworthy, the Americans have an example of negative sanctions: an embargo on the supplies of grain to the Soviet Union, which the U.S. government announced in 1980 in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The embargo did not reduce grain imports to the USSR. On the contrary, during the 1980s, grain imports  increased more than twice. Moscow was buying grain from Argentina, Canada, Spain, Australia - the countries that did not support the U.S. position. When Ronald Reagan replaced Carter as president, he quickly lifted the embargo in April 1981.

There will always be alternative suppliers or customers for Russia. There is China, Israel, India, Argentina, Iran and EU countries, such as Hungary, Finland, Italy (Italian Prime Minister Mario Renzo is an ardent supporter of the South Stream).  One can always trade through third countries through swap supplies.

"It seems to me that these sanctions will be mainly on paper, - Konstantin Kalachev, the head of the Political expert group told Pravda.Ru. - European countries look at their own profit in the first place. Geopolitical interests of the United States or NATO are secondary. Even members of the bloc, when it comes to possible losses in relations with Russia, tend to show quite a reasonable position. I think that a lot will depend on what Germany will have to say on the matter, as Germany is the leader of the European community."

As for Barack Obama, his career of a politician, after the introduction of sanctions against Russia, may end with a failure, regardless of whether the sanctions are introduced or not. If no - another red line has been drawn in vain, if yes - it will cost the U.S. economy a lot, the relations with Europe will be harmed.  

The House of Representatives intends to sue Obama for abuse of executive power. This was announced by Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner. According to him, the President adopted a series of political decisions in violation of U.S. law and without the consent of the Congress.

Probably, it particularly goes about the decision to exchange U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl for five leaders of Taliban movement. As it became known, all exchanged Talibs belonged to political and military elite of the Islamic movement. Republicans held hearings at the Congress, and it was concluded that the action may pose a serious threat to U.S. security.

Boehner excluded Obama's impeachment, but as they say, it is not over yet. It is worth noting that, according to a survey conducted by NBC and The Wall Street Journal, 57 percent of Americans dislike Obama's foreign policy, which is a record high for the time of his presidency. Fifty-four percent of respondents believe that the current head of the White House is unable to stand at the helm of the country.

Why is Obama such a "bad" president? 

"When we talk about Obama's admonition, I always say that Obama is not a staunch radical. If we were dealing with the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, everything would have been absolutely different and much tougher. His domestic American policy and rating is the most important thing. If the position of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other departments coincides with the opinion of most of the American society, then it will all be taken seriously. If this is an opinion of certain businessmen, then it's another story. Personal competition between Obama and Putin exists - this is male vs. male competition for the sympathy of world public opinion," political scientist Konstantin Kalachev told Pravda.Ru.

Lyuba Lulko


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