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Trump Now Owns Russia Sanctions — And Their Disastrous Fallout

Owning this sanctions bill is the geopolitical blunder of the decade

Any hope that people like me had of President Trump being an astute foreign policy player ended when he owned the new sanctions bill. Trump not only said he would sign it, but that he approved of it and the minor changes made at his request.

So, in effect, this bill was always something he sought. And now, he owns it.

Even if one is generous and says Trump didn’t want this but is bowing to reality because of his “Russia-gate” troubles, he is doing so because that is also his mess.

From the moment he took office he needed to be on the offensive against his political adversaries in Congress, not fighting pushovers like John Acosta at CNN.

He knew the infamous Dossier against him was garbage.

And he should have immediately eschewed the political fallout and put the story to bed. He fell into the trap of thinking he could play their game and outwit them.

Trump faced extremely long odds and decided to play anyway.

But, the best way to win a game you can’t win is to not play. You change the rules of engagement.

So, instead of playing the media war of words, he should have been bold, had his Attorney General open investigations immediately into Comey, Lynch and the rest of them. He should have stood by his people, like Mike Flynn.

But, all of that is immaterial. The past six months prove The Saker right, Trump is not a leader, he’s an appeaser.

Ever since he got into the White House, Trump has been acting like your prototypical appeaser (it makes me wonder if his father was an alcoholic). How a guy like him ever made in business is a mystery to me, but what is now clear is that the Neocons totally submitted him and that they will now turn him into political roadkill. [emphasis mine]

He said this in the wake of the Al-Shairat bombing in April. I called it the worst geopolitical blunder of the decade. I was wrong.

Owning this sanctions bill is the geopolitical blunder of the decade. He could have signed this under protest. He could have vetoed it saying it’s counter-productive.

But, no. He played to the rubes in flyover country who believe John McCain is a hero and not a traitor.

He chose the path to own it. And by doing so again betrays his campaign promises of better relations with Russia. He wasn’t elected to keep his word and put up a weak-willed, “I’ll try.” And then whine that it’s too hard.

He was elected to be game-changer.

This is simply another Kissinger-inspired move to drive a wedge between Russian and Iran. Because at his core Donald Trump is flawed. He believes in punishment and he believes in protectionism. These two traits make him close to indistinguishable from the people he’s supposed to be fighting.

The near-term fallout from this is minimal. Russia expelled a bunch of foreign agents masquerading as diplomats. The real fallout comes from relations with the EU.

The only good to come of this is driving the EU towards lifting sanctions against Russia. Merkel needed a reason to lift sanctions. 83% of Germans hate Trump’s new law. It’s good politics for her.

However, the EU can ill afford to look like the stronger entity in the war for global capital flows. Their banks can’t afford it, neither can their labor markets.

As a mercantilist, Trump believes in protectionism at home and a weak currency abroad. He’s got the weak currency with a Congress united against him. The sanctions are classic protectionism.

The markets are bracing for more turmoil.

The EU’s next moves will determine the course of the 21st century.

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