WASHINGTON, December 6 (Sputnik) – A resolution calling for more sanctions against Russia that was passed by US House of Representatives on Thursday amounts to nothing more than political theatre, two scholars told Sputnik.
"It gives everyone a chance to show that he's tough and resolute on the issue of Russia, and on the issue of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. So it's almost a throwaway kind of vote," former chief of the CIA's Office of Soviet Affairs Mel Goodman said.
Goodman explained Sputnik that since the Congress' failure to agree on any substantive issue prompted US lawmakers to pass a resolution that would easily get majority support.
The problem, however, is that these types of purposeless resolutions cause US-Russian relations to spiral even further, the former CIA officer added.
"It's tit-for-tat. Putin is going to feel that he has to respond. Meanwhile there are important issues that need to be resolved — that deal with Iran, that deal with Syria, that deal with arms control. So all this is doing is returning it to a Cold War atmosphere," Goodman said.
Michael Kofman, a scholar with the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, also indicated that the bill was largely a political move with little bearing on policy.
"It is not a question of productivity but of relevance, because it is not the role of the US House to make foreign policy — that is the job of the Senate. Ultimately it is a political gesture," Kofman said.
Kofman said he considers the resolution as part of an "overall antagonistic relationship" between the US Congress and the Russian lower parliamentary house Duma.
Resolution 758, which condemns Russia for alleged aggression against its neighbours Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, overwhelming passed the House by a vote of 411 – 10. The bill calls on US President Barack Obama to impose visa bans, asset freezes and sanctions against Russia and its leadership until Moscow stops violating "Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
Relations between Russia and the West hit rock bottom following the country's reunification with Crimea in March. The European Union and the United States have implemented several rounds of economic sanctions against Russia over alleged interference in the Ukrainian conflict. Moscow, however, has labeled the sanctions illegal and accusations as "groundless".