The sanctions levied by the United States against the Russian Federation are portrayed as stone walls, intended to isolate and pinch the government of Russia and to cow them to fulfill American demands on the geopolitical and cultural (relativist) scenes.
Taken in that context, the Tuesday release of what has come to be called the “Kremlin List”, naming some 210 government officials and wealthy business leaders, was regarded by some officials in the Russian Federation as very unfriendly, though no sanctions were imposed in any connection with this list.
Although some Russian officials complained about the document, President Putin was unimpressed, and simply gave one of his quiet but pointed remarks that he was “disappointed not to have been included on this list.” But went on to say that the “dogs bark and then they move on,” suggesting that the Russian president may be somewhat annoyed with the actions taken by his American counterparts, but they certainly do not bother him.
A lot of this perception is fueled by the reality that Russia and the United States do have a close cooperative relationship when it comes to combating terrorism. The call between President Putin and President Trump on December 17th, 2017 was a thankful affair from the Russian leader to his American counterpart because American intel helped thwart what could have been a huge tragedy in St Petersburg.
At the highest levels, any time the two men get a chance to meet and talk, they do. And further, there is regular travel by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Director, Sergey Naryshkin to the USA. This is because the intelligence agencies cooperate on dealing with terrorism and most particularly the activities of ISIS, according to Heather Nauert, representing the US State Department.
Mr. Naryshkin is actually under visa sanctions personally, but the exception is made for him to come to the United States, because, as Nauert stated:
There is no secret that, despite serious disagreements with the Russian government, there are areas where Russia and the United States should cooperate, and one of these areas is the fight against terrorism and IGIL (banned in the Russian Federation).
While this may underline for some the idea that the sanctions are openly hypocritical on the basis of expediency, this idea is probably missing the point. What does seem to be in play here is that the USA has two governments in operation at the same time. One group hates Russia because as a great power, Russia represents a threat to the Western sphere of influence culturally, militarily (in potential), and economically. For this group, the glory days of the early 1990’s, when the American nation seemed to have unrivaled world dominance, are under threat by a nation that simply refuses to play by such rules.
The second group seems too vague in composition to be considered clearly. But President Trump is part of it – and this group is the one that seeks to embrace reality and work with it. Anyone who studies Russian geopolitical behavior can see two things: (1) Russia can and will act in her own best interests, and those interests are usually defensive in relation to geopolitics, and (2) while Russia seeks to hold her own identity and sphere of influence, she does not seek to expand it. The Russian Federation has no imperial aspirations.
It is easy for the American press to paint the Russian government as having such, but this ease comes because of the (possibly enforced) ignorance the American people have of geopolitics in general, and Russian politics in particular. Communism has been gone from Russia for over 25 years, but many Americans still insist that the country is Communist. What is even more amazing is they have a hard time shaking this impression even if they come to Russia to see it (which most of them do not do, of course.)
They are like the young children who refuse to eat peas because they “are disgusting”, but refuse to taste them to even verify that this is true (they are actually very tasty!).
C.S. Lewis stated that the problem with men and women who seek to make themselves more stupid than they really are, is that they often succeed. The US sanctions against Russia are a supreme example of such behavior in action. It is a good thing that there are those people who have common sense enough to know when to stop playing games with reality.