President Trump is right, relations with Russia are “at an all-time & very dangerous low,” and the US political-media establishment is making them worse.
By Stephen F. Cohen
Pointless and recklessly irresponsible new sanctions recently adopted almost unanimously by Congress against Russia are, as Cohen has long argued, evidence that the new Cold War is more dangerous than was its 40-year predecessor. Still worse, the sanctions, inspired more by unverified “Russiagate” allegations against Trump than by anything Moscow has actually done recently, further prevent him from seeking cooperation instead of conflict with the Kremlin, as previous presidents did and indeed as President Trump has tried to do. In themselves, sanctions are expressions of petulant attitudes, not real policy-making, and Moscow will cope with these as it has with many previous ones. After all, Russia has been under one kind of US sanction or another periodically for one hundred years, ever since Washington refused to recognize the new Soviet government in 1917 for 15 years, and without interruption since the Jackson-Vanick sanctions of the 1970s, followed by those of the Magnitsky Act, the ones leveled by former President Obama, and now these new ones. But today’s US-Russian relations really are, as President Trump has tweeted, “at an all-time & very dangerous low.” Consider, says Cohen, the following combination of factors, which are without precedent: