Unacceptable White House Demands on Russia
by Stephen Lendman
Though still too early to draw definitive conclusions, Trump's White House is beginning to look like Obama never left or the return of Bush/Cheney. Not a pretty picture!
Hoped for improved US/Russia relations were dashed on the rocks of Michael Flynn's sacking, surrendering to deep state forces running America, Trump looking like disturbing continuity, not responsible change. It was wishful thinking believing otherwise.
In Security Council remarks, White House envoy Nikki Haley replicated neocon Samantha Power's anti-Russia's rhetoric, accusing Moscow of "occupation and military intervention" in Ukraine, disgracefully misrepresenting hard facts.
She lied calling Crimea "part of Ukraine." Minsk agreement terms to end fighting in Donbass said nothing about the territory.
Haley speaks for Trump. On her debut as US envoy, she warned US allies and adversaries alike - provocatively saying "(y)ou're going to see a change in the way we do business."
"Our goal with the administration is to show value at the UN, and the way we'll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies and make sure our allies have our back as well."
"For those who don't have our back, we're taking names. We will make points to respond to that accordingly."
On Tuesday, White House press secretary delivered mixed messages, saying "President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to de-escalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea. At the same time, he fully expects to - and wants to - get along with Russia."
Not likely by blaming Moscow for Kiev aggression and demanding it relinquish part of its sovereign territory.
In response to Spicer's comments, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said "(w)e do not give away our territories away. Crimea is a territory of the Russian Federation."
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphatically said Crimea won't be returned to Ukraine. It's not a topic for discussion. "Russia does not discuss issues related to its territory with" other nations.
During Putin's phone call with Trump, the issue "was not raised," Peskov explained. In July 2016, candidate Trump said "(t)he people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than" Ukraine, adding he'd consider recognizing the territory as part of Russia if elected president.
Russian lower house State Duma International Affairs Committee chairman Leonid Slutsky called Spicer's comments "alarming…a cold shower that will cool down high expectations from Trump and his team."
Russian upper house Federation Council Defense Committee chairman Viktor Ozerov called "(t)he issue of Crimea…absolutely clear. It is part of Russia, and it cannot be the subject of bargaining between Russia and the United States, no matter what is at stake."
Adversarial US relations toward Russia are longstanding, not likely to change under Trump based on comments by Haley and Spicer.
Candidate Trump said plenty on Russia and Vladimir Putin, comments raising hope for better relations. So far as president, he's let others speak for him on this sensitive issue.
It's time for him to speak out directly on this issue, telling Americans and Russia where he stands - even though lots of details need to be filled later bases on bilateral talks.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.