After publicly warning President-elect Donald Trump against making any deals with Russia or going forward with his planned normalization of ties, President Obama today made an agreement with EU officials aimed at locking in US hostility toward Russia into Trump’s term.
The deal committed the US to continuing sanctions against Russia until the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine is seen to be “upheld.” In reality US officials make statements condemning the “continued fighting” in Eastern Ukraine far more often than any serious fighting happens there.
Obama also insisted that the US was committed to “stand up” to Russia in the name of “democratic values,” and pushed the European Union to continue their own anti-Russia sanctions, which while expected to be extended next month are also likely to be the last such extension according to most analysts.
NATO officials from the EU have been making daily statements since the US election chastising Trump for talking about improving relations with Russia during the campaign, and insisting that he has to uphold America’s “commitment to NATO” by continuing hostility.
Obama’s agreement today is far from locking the US permanently into that position, but NATO officials are also claiming they’ve been privately assured by Trump that he’s committed to the “enduring importance” of NATO, which in the view of pretty much everyone else in NATO means talking up war with Russia.