Is American democracy worthy of protection if the White House seriously believes Russia may damage it?
The issue is neither new or rhetorical, as April 15 witnessed US President Joe Biden sign a decree on new sanctions against Russia for its "destabilizing" actions, which include activities by the Russian government and special services against the sovereignty and interests of the United States; efforts to undermine free and fair democratic elections, cyber attacks, etc. A traditional list
The new sanctions lists include individuals and entities. The US Treasury Department clarified that among those slapped with sanctions are 16 individuals and 16 organizations supposedly associated with Russia's alleged interference in the American elections. The Inforos website is among them. Well, that being so, American democracy must be defended more than ever!
Besides, Washington expels ten employees of the Russian Embassy. The United States also restricts its companies from bluntly purchasing Russian debt holdings issued by the Central Bank, the National Welfare Fund, or the Russian Ministry of Finance.
At the same time, an official statement by the White House says that the United States does not deem it necessary to keep cultivating relations with Russia along a negative pathway, but will retaliate against Moscow's actions regarded as hostile or threatening America's national security. Let's be honest, the statement is convoluted and inherently inconsistent, especially if we proceed from Washington's real action. On the one hand, the United States does not seek fractured relations with Russia, but on the other hand, it immediately imposes new sanctions and expels diplomats. This is what actually means moving along a negative pathway, which may bring the Biden administration to a dead-end in relations with Moscow.
The United States stands for predictability of Russia's performance, while themselves acting contrary to reason, making the Kremlin doubt the White House decision-makers' adequacy. In light of recent US administration moves, it stands to reason that the Russian side will do some serious thinking before delivering an adequate response to Washington and before Vladimir Putin meets with Biden at all.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has particularly said there is no alternative here to the principle of reciprocity. According to him, the new restrictions by no means promote preparations for a Washington-proposed meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden. "Whether these things hinder [the proposal] or not, that will be a decision for the presidents. There was a proposal from the president of the United States, and then it will be a subject for a decision by the president of Russia."
In turn, Russian Foreign Ministry official representative Maria Zakharova said the US sanctions policy against Russia "does not serve the interests of the people of the two leading nuclear powers that bear historical responsibility for the fate of the world," with actions by the Joe Biden administration indicating no interest in getting Russian-American relations back on track.
It should be noted that in response to the new sanctions, US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, where he was made make a relevant representation. And Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky expressed confidence that "there will be an adequate and timely response to all new imposed restrictions." At the same time, he stressed that the "new sanctions imposed by Washington just a few days after the telephone conversation held by the Presidents of Russia and the United States initiated by the US side, in fact, lower the constructive value of the conversation."
Even after the introduction of new sanctions against our country, Washington, be it noted, keeps pretending it is not a big deal, with the Biden administration even calling the upcoming meeting with Putin "vital". Thus, Assistant to the US President for National Security Affairs Jake Sullivan told CNN that Biden is sure a stable and predictable relationship can be established with Russia and the two countries are able to collaborate on a number of issues.
However, Biden believes that without an in-person meeting with Putin, relations between the two countries may become even worse, Sullivan said. In proof of his statement, he added the following: "The two countries held summits even when US ex-President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an 'Evil Empire'. President Biden does not consider the situation to be at its worst point, but he does believe that the situation is very complicated. There is a risk of a downward spiral degradation should the two leaders fail to meet and discuss the existing complications."
It begs the question: if Washington is so interested in Biden's meeting with Putin, why does it impose new sanctions on Russia and expel Russian diplomats? Does the American side really think Moscow will be blown away by these moves? If this is the case, Washington is utterly wrong. Today is not a unipolar world era, when the United States is free to act purely at its own discretion, without regard to other world community members. The situation has changed dramatically, the world has become multipolar, and Washington can no longer dictate its terms to Russia. Moscow is ready to speak with Washington as equals only. Too bad that the White House still hasn't figured this out...