While Russia is withholding retaliatory sanctions against the US based on the expectation that President-elect Donald Trump will quickly reverse the sanctions and expulsions opposed by the outgoing administration, the Obama sanctions are likely to be a major subject of US policy debate for awhile after Obama’s departure.
Trump has been critical of Obama’s measures and appears inclined to reverse course, but Congressional Republicans seem inclined to go the opposite way, seeking to double-down on sanctions against Russia to appear even more anti-Russia that Obama is.
Trump’s transition team is worried Obama is trying to “box him in” with the sanctions, which isn’t the first time Obama has made a statement of policy directly contrary to Trump’s stated plans, and was seen trying to complicate the transition.
Congressional hawks may also be feeling boxed in, with their endless calls for anti-Russia measures now being echoed by Democrats, who want to follow up on Obama’s measures, and will end up faced with having to clash with the new Republican administration to keep their efforts at fanning the flames of a new Cold War going.
Some of this may ultimately rest on if President Obama makes good on talk of providing some evidence of Russian interference in the US election, although the absence of any such evidence has not stopped the months of hysteria surrounding the matter so far.
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