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Trump's Russia Sanctions Undermine Collusion Accusations

Trump's Russia Sanctions Undermine Collusion Accusations
President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 7 of this year. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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Tuesday, 19 September 2017 12:47 PM Current | Bio | Archive

On Aug. 2 President Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a bill that imposes new sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

The bill was approved by an overwhelming majority of U.S. senators.

President Trump declared that "Congress’ restrictions on executive branch′s authority that limit its flexibility in foreign policy are unconstitutional." However, he expressed support for "tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior by Iran, North Korea, and Russia."

His statements are consistent with his energy policy towards Russia. In fact, on July 6 President Trump attended a meeting of the "Three Seas Initiative" in Poland, which promotes the construction of terminals for importing American liquefied natural gas (LNG), thus limiting Russia’s leverage in supplying gas to Europe.

One third of European gas is supplied by Russia through 12 pipelines, five of which pass through Ukraine. The frequent crises in Russia-Ukraine relations have caused disruptions in the supply of gas to European countries, inducing them to look elsewhere to find reliable gas suppliers.

The Energy Union Framework Strategy, adopted by the European Commission in 2015, is well attuned to security of energy supply. Access to sufficiently diversified gas supplies and stronger infrastructure connectivity are two main pillars of Europe’s gas strategy.

The European Union considers LNG as a source of diversification that contributes to competition in the gas market and security of supply, and encourages the construction of new regasification terminals in member countries.

Gazprom, Russia’s largest gas company, has proposed to build a second pipeline to convey gas to Germany (Nord Stream 2), in addition to Nord Stream, to double its export capacity to Europe.

Such project finds opposition in the European Union, because it is in contrast with European policy of energy source diversification.

For the first time, U.S. Congress directly addressed the issue of European dependence on Russian energy, imposing sanctions on companies and individuals who "provide to the Russian Federation, for the construction of Russian energy export pipelines, goods, services, technology, information, or support" (section 232 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act).

The new law explicitly opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, considering its "detrimental impacts on the European Union’s energy security, gas market development in Central and Eastern Europe, and energy reforms in Ukraine" (section 257).

The Obama administration supported European energy security policy, but President Obama never took direct action to restrict Russian gas exports to Europe.

The implementation of the new Russian sanctions by the Trump administration represents an important step in promoting American interests and defending European energy security.

While special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian interference in U.S. presidential elections, it seems clear that the Trump administration is adopting a firm policy to contain Russian influence in Europe, which contradicts the theory of a collusion between President Trump and Vladimir Putin.

As a consequence of U.S. policy, American LNG suppliers will have better access to the European gas market, and strong natural gas exports will help Houston’s economy to emerge from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

Francesco Stipo is the President of the Houston Energy Club, a member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C., a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, and recently joined the Bretton Woods Committee. Born in Italy in 1973, Dr. Stipo is a naturalized United States citizen. He holds a Ph.D. in International Law and a Master Degree in Comparative Law from the University of Miami. To read more of his reports, Click Here Now.

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FrancescoStipo
It seems clear that the Trump administration is adopting a firm policy to contain Russian influence in Europe, which contradicts the theory of a collusion between President Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Houston, LNG, Russia, Trump
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2017-47-19
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 12:47 PM
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