U.S. list heralds new Cold War
The Trump administration’s recently released list of some 200 Russians who could be targeted with sanctions is a sign of bad faith, said Fyodor Lukyanov. At first blush, the document “looks either like a slapdash effort or an attempt at trolling,” because the 96 oligarchs included were simply copied from Forbes’ list of richest Russians. Instead of “targeted pressure” on close cronies of President Vladimir Putin, as the U.S. Congress envisioned when it passed the sanctions law, this list makes a target of pretty much every influential Russian and Russian government agency. There’s an ominous reason why President Trump is painting with such a broad brush: All of Russia is now the enemy. Under President Obama, the original goal of sanctions was to nudge Russia toward what the U.S. considers correct behavior—to penalize some Russians so that others would change their ways or perhaps even topple their government. But Trump doesn’t believe in meddling like that. He doesn’t want to change Russia; he wants to beat it. Trump has launched “a new Cold War” by naming Russia as an adversary in his National Defense Strategy, and you win wars by inflicting maximum damage on your foe. Any Russian businessman can be hit with sanctions, whether he supports Putin or not.