Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday that the United States would soon lift Cold War-era trade sanctions on Russia, in an example of how hostile Washington has been more than two decades later, although it was unclear whether the move has support in Congress.
Following Russia’s inclusion into the World Trade Organization, Clinton said the US should now normalize trade relations with Russia so that American businesses can benefit from trade with one of the world’s leading economies.
The sanctions have origins in a 1974 law known as Jackson-Vanik and are waived each year, but the fact that they’re still around shows how confrontational Washington still is long after the end of the Cold War. Legislation, once on the books, almost never goes away, especially when it can be used as leverage over other states.
Mitt Romney, and many Republicans in Congress, are pushing back against normalized trade relations with Russia – unless Congress passes legislation that punishes Russian officials accused of human rights abuses, as if that were Congress’s responsibility.
The urge to discipline misbehaving Russian officials in order to further America’s geopolitical hegemony is ill-served by discordant rhetoric and economic warfare.
As Clinton said, “We are grateful for this and other opportunities to work more closely with Russia on areas of common concern that will deliver benefits to the people of both our nations.” Instead, the US has chosen bellicosity, nearly two decades after the end of the Cold War.