The publication this week of the so-called “Kremlin List” by the US Treasury Department is an outrageous provocation. The listing of 210 prominent Russian individuals for future sanctions, including senior members of government, is severely tempting for a robust response from Moscow.
On reflection, however, the American Russian roster can be seen as “absurd”, as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin pointed out.
But rather than reacting to it, Russia is probably best advised to laugh it off with derision and contempt.
For a start, not even the Trump administration seems convinced by the Treasury report’s merit. The report was drawn up in a half-baked fashion to comply with a law enacted by the Congress six months ago. That law was implemented on the back of bombastic accusations that Russia had meddled in the US presidential elections in 2016.
This week President Trump declined to order further imposition of sanctions on the Russian political and business leaders listed by the Treasury.
So, one may ask, what is the point of the list? It seems that Trump does not believe it warrants action. And various American pundits openly blasted it as “puzzling” and “a mess-up”.
The hasty, half-baked nature of the Treasury report is evidenced by its laughable dearth of research. As even the American media widely reported, the people targeted evidently had their names simply copied and pasted from a Russia Forbes’ rich list, or from a Kremlin government phone directory.
Such a move by Washington is of course contemptible and insulting. It is yet another reckless blow issued by Washington against the restoration of bilateral relations between the US and Russia.
But it would seem futile to reciprocate with this American foolishness. Engaging with such idiocy is like dancing with a drunken half-wit. Such an affair is bound to end up in a demeaning tangle.
As Putin also noted – and this point is key – the underlying problem is not so much between the US and Russia. It is largely a problem of internal American political conflict.
The Treasury’s “Kremlin List” stems from a law that is itself based on a false premise, namely that Russia interfered in the American presidential elections.
This week the head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, reiterated the overblown claim in an interview with British state broadcaster, the BBC, and he doubled down with a warning that Moscow was setting its sights on the US mid-term elections scheduled for later this year.
Anyone with a critical brain can see that this whole “Russiagate” scandal is running on empty. This is leading to an abysmal contradiction between large sections of the US political class, and the Trump White House, as well as the wider public, who dismiss the Russia collusion claims as “fake news”. On this point, Trump is correct. It is a fake contrivance.
However, the political factions opposed to Trump – Democrats, intelligence apparatus, major “liberal” media – just won’t let their Russian charade go, so desperate are they to thwart Trump.
Thus, the Congress and media are pushing laws and a public debate that has no basis in reality. It is illusory. That’s no doubt why Trump refused to slap on more sanctions due to the Treasury list of 210 senior Russian figures. That speaks of the fatal contradiction at the heart of the American political establishment. It is heading into a dead-end.
Ironically, this week sees the whole “Russiagate" ruse spectacularly coming apart with Republican Congressmen and Trump threatening to release a top-secret memo purporting to show that the real scandal of the 2016 elections was the FBI colluding with the Obama administration to sabotage Trump’s campaign.
In this situation of Washington’s self-inflicted chaos, Russia’s best ploy at this stage is to not fuel the latest US-led antagonism by engaging in futile recriminations.
Admittedly, it is very tempting to do so. Especially, given the cloying hypocrisy of Washington accusing Moscow of interfering in US politics, when the Americans are brazenly doing this very thing in Russian politics ahead of the country’s presidential elections next month.
Nevertheless, the American behavior is so absurd and irrational, it is prudent to calmly ignore it.
Russia must continue with its global plans for Eurasian economic integration and paving the way for a multipolar world order in which Washington’s influence is rightly diminished according to its historic economic decline.
Washington should be left to wallow in its own fetid internal feuding and thereby consume itself.
The real problem is America’s inherent demise as a world power. Provocations and slurs against Russia, and others, is how the American political class is trying to distract from its own moribund state.
Why give Washington a hand out of the grave it is digging for itself by playing its stupid games?