Although President’s Putin and Trump seem to have worked out some of the kinks in the US and Russian relationship, there are those in Congress who would prefer that the congressional voice in the two countries’ policy become much stronger.
Therefore, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo recently introduced legislation that was designed to add sanctions to Russia and other countries that have policies in place that run counter to what the US thinks the world community should be.
Why is Russia Being Singled Out?
In the complex world of Asian relations, Trump has shown interest in promoting Russia and Saudi Arabia as two American friends that hold promise in terms of business development. The policy shift is understandable. Barack Obama had a lot of personal power concentrated in China and Iran. In fact, it is said that a political network revolution occurred while Barack was moving into the White House that handed him the answer to the Al Qaeda leader’s location. So while in office, he continued to develop the relationship with Shiite Muslims throughout Asia.
The problem was, whereas Obama had NSC letters sent to Shiite Muslims that were American and had supported old regimes in the past, he also had an already created network of Shiite Muslims from Asia that was ready to join his way of doing business throughout Asia. Essentially, Obama’s push into Asia as a new Shiite friend was well choreographed and supported. The only people that were harmed were those who already had ties there.
In contrast, when Trump was working with Putin and Russia, it was more a work in progress that started out working through issues that the US was not actually actively interested in discussing. There was no program that suggested there was a historic opportunity in getting close to Russia while they were invading other countries. In fact, there is evidence that shows that their meetings and relationship were closely monitored.
So the singling out of Russia at this time has to do with Congress wanting to exercise more control over the sanctions and policy process that the Presidency has increasingly turned into a one-man show. The thought is that whether Obama uses a constituency of external business leaders that are not Congress or Trump uses private meetings with political leaders that are not Congress, they fail to get the viewpoint of the average citizen completely taken into account.
Mike Crapo introduced the legislation in the Senate. It passed by an almost unanimous vote. The House bill is slightly different but has had the same level of success so far.
Is Congress Trying to Meddle?
The short answer is no. Nothing will really change when it comes to the President being involved in policy decision-making that drives relationships between us and our partners. At the same time, some oversight from elected officials is a right that most Americans would like to see distributed.
It isn’t easy to manage all relationships on a continent that is physically the planet’s largest. At the same time, when you include those who directly represent the largest companies and worker’s groups in the world, you create more legitimacy for the administration that is in power.