The Trickle Down is Salute Magazine‘s weekly column by Political Writer Amanda Godula. The Trickle Down is a weekly look into what’s need-to-know, fresh takes on trends, and the inevitable controversies from the political arena. Let’s dig in and see what’s happening this week.
U.S. gets tough on North Korea, but Russia won’t get sanctions.
On a five day trip through Asia, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the Trump Administration will issue the harsher sanctions on North Korea. While in Tokyo, Pence spoke at a news conference beside Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, pushing to denuclearize North Korea.
“I’m announcing that the United States of America will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever – and we will continue to isolate North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs once and for all.”
Although VP Pence offered no specifics to the “toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions”, America is putting its foot down to adversarial countries.
…Except Russia. There’s no sanctions for Russian interference of the 2016 presidential election.
In true bipartisan nature, both the Senate and the House overwhelmingly voted to impose sanctions on Russia in 2017, with only five dissenters total. The President signed the sanctions bill, beginning the clock to introduce those sanctions by Monday, January 29, 2018. Both the Russian government and entities doing business with the Russian government (as well as other close ties to it) were to be sanctioned.
But, the White House now says sanctions aren’t needed. The legislation without enforcement is enough.
“Sanctions on specific entities or individuals will not need to be imposed because the legislation is, in fact, serving as a deterrent,” State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
The one time Congress (in near entirety) agreed on legislation, the President will not enforce it. Legislation is enough of a deterrent. That’s what adversarial governments like Russia and North Korea fear: legislation.
If legislation were deterrent enough, the Trump administration should pass legislation stating it would impose sanctions on North Korea without the follow through of the sanctions. It’s enough of a deterrent!
Regardless if North Korea deserves these sanctions, not imposing them on Russia shows a weakness in America’s international political strength. Hack our elections? That’s OK. Call the president a “dotard”? Those are fighting words – retaliation will happen!
“The one thing we know for sure already is the Russians did attempt to meddle in our election. And not only should there be a price to pay in terms of sanctions, but also we need to put safeguards in place right now for the elections for this year,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said on CNN, calling the decision to not implement sanctions “perplexing”.
The precedent being set is Russia gets a pass for egregious crimes, while all others get actual legislative wrath.
Reuters reported that CIA Director Mike Pompeo suspects Russia will target the 2018 Congressional races. And, why wouldn’t it? There are no repercussions for interfering with American elections; just legislation guised as doing something.
Here’s a reminder: This Trump-Russia stuff is not normal.
Give North Korea all the sanctions needed, but Russia should not get a pass.