President Barack Obama in the White House Press Briefing Room © AP Photo/ Andrew Harnik With New Sanctions, Obama’s Administration ‘Plants a Bomb Under Trump’s Ties With Russia’ It appears that the outgoing Obama administration is seeking to create as many problems for US President-elect Donald Trump as possible. The retaliatory measures against Moscow over alleged “hacking” into US political institutions are yet another portion of sand thrown by Barack Obama in Trump’s gears. Although Washington has not yet presented any evidence to prove Russia had a hand in the hacking, the White House issued Thursday new sanctions against Moscow, announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and closed Russian compounds in New York and Maryland. Some US mainstream media reported that Obama retaliated against Russia for “election hacking,” apparently trying to cast a shadow on the US presidential election results. On Wednesday two US officials signaled that the measures will include “economic sanctions, indictments, leaking information to embarrass Russian officials or oligarchs, and restrictions on Russian diplomats in the United States are among steps that have been discussed,” Reuters reported. Last week Washington expanded sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine, imposing additional individual restrictions against seven Russian citizens and sectorial sanctions against eight Russian entities and two vessels. In addition, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 which imposes further restrictions toward Moscow. As Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted, “it appears that the Authorization Act has been adopted by the outgoing Obama administration, which is hastily introducing new sanctions against Russia, to create problems for the incoming Trump administration… [and] to force it to adopt an anti-Russia policy.” Commenting on the matter Wednesday US President-elect Donald Trump expressed deep skepticism over the latest Obama initiative stressing that “We ought to get on with our lives.” “I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on,” he emphasized as quoted by Reuters. Indeed, the US has yet to provide any credible evidence of Russia’s involvement in the “hacking.” However, it appears that the US President-elect is discontent with the Obama administration’s latest efforts to complicate the situation on the world stage. In addition to its vocal anti-Russian sentiment, the White House has recently aggravated tensions between the US and Israel. ”Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition — NOT!” Trump tweeted Wednesday. US President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the briefing room at the White House in Washington, DC. (File) © AFP 2016/ NICHOLAS KAMM Lame Duck’s Last Steps: This is How Obama Wants to Complicate Life for Trump Speaking to RIA Novosti, Gevorg Mirzayan, a specialist in US studies and a lecturer at the Financial University under the Government of Russia, suggested that Obama wants to prolong the policy of his administration. “To some extent, Obama wants to set a vector for Trump’s administration in the early stage of its work,” Mirzayan underscored. However, according to the expert, these efforts are unlikely to bear any fruit. “The new US president can overturn all decisions made by his predecessor. Of course, to do that he will need certain political will. It would be more complicated to cancel decisions approved by Congress. But the current US Congress is dominated by the Republicans, so it is not going to be much trouble,” he assumed, adding that Trump’s major goal in the first months of his presidency will be to reach a consensus with his party. Alexander Mikhailenko, professor of the Department for Russia’s Foreign Policy of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy, echoed Mirzayan. “I think that part of the sanctions, which were recently approved by the US President will be canceled — they will come off just like dust,” Mikhailenko told Radio Sputnik. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has made a similar assumption. According to Gingrich, up to 70 percent of Obama’s executive orders may be annulled by Trump in the foreseeable future. “I think in the opening couple days, he’s going to repeal 60 to 70 percent of Obama’s legacy by simply vetoing out all of the various executive orders that Obama used because he couldn’t get anything through Congress,” Gingrich said as quoted by Fox News.
While the outgoing Obama administration is trying to throw sand in Donald Trump’s gears by aggravating tensions between Washington and Moscow, these last-ditch efforts are unlikely to bear any fruit: the latest sanctions approved by Barack Obama will “come off like dust.”