Sanc­tions bill lim­its Trump’s power

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - DON­ALD TRUMP is

ex­pected to sign leg­is­la­tion that im­poses sweep­ing sanc­tions on Rus­sia, Iran and the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea, and he will have to con­sult Congress if he wants to lift them. Bei­jing Youth Daily com­mented on Sat­ur­day:

The ap­proval of the si­mul­ta­ne­ous sanc­tions on the three coun­tries with an over­whelm­ing bi­par­ti­san ma­jor­ity of 97 to 2 in the Se­nate has im­pli­ca­tions for the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, as the bill re­quires Trump to ac­quire con­gres­sional ap­proval be­fore he eases or lifts the sanc­tions.

That the move lim­its the pres­i­dent’s pow­ers to lift the sanc­tions points to an ever-solid bi­par­ti­san con­sen­sus that the pres­i­dent of the United States, who nor­mally does not need con­gres­sional sup­port to ex­er­cise diplo­matic pow­ers, should be sub­ject to Congress. The pro-es­tab­lish­ment forces in both the Repub­li­can Party and the Demo­cratic Party may have played a role in push­ing for­ward the bill, as Congress re­mains vig­i­lant to Trump’s han­dling of ties with Rus­sia.

The Rus­sian fac­tor has been a thorn in the US pol­i­tics since Trump’s elec­tion. The leg­is­la­tion is in part a re­sponse to con­clu­sions by US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies that Rus­sia med­dled in last year’s presi-

den­tial elec­tion in the United States, and to fur­ther limit Trump’s in­cli­na­tion to seek warmer ties with Mos­cow.

Even if he re­fuses to en­dorse the leg­is­la­tion, Congress could still over­rule Trump and turn the bill into law.

Mean­while, the leg­is­la­tion risks in­vok­ing re­tal­i­a­tion from the sanc­tioned par­ties. The Rus­sian For­eign Min­istry has com­plained of “grow­ing anti-Rus­sian feel­ing” in the US, and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin said on Tues­day that his coun­try would fight back against “boor­ish US be­hav­ior”.

Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani took a sim­i­lar stance more than a week ago af­ter US State Depart­ment com­plained Iran was “in de­fault of the spirit” of the 2015 nu­clear deal.

All in all, it re­in­forces the im­pres­sion that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s learn­ing curve is ex­cep­tion­ally long.

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