22:55 GMT +318 October 2018
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    Michael McFaul back during his days as the US's ambassador to Russia.

    McFaul Slams Trump's Lack of Russia-Bashing, Demands 'Preemptive Sanctions'

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    Amid recognition by the US Treasury Department that Russia's economy was too large and well-integrated into the global economy to be slapped with Iran-style restrictions, the former US ambassador to Russia suggested that new sanctions against Moscow are important not because they work, but because they're the "morally justified" thing to do.

    In his latest op-ed for the Washington Post, Michael McFaul complained that "President Trump barely touched on Russia" in his UN General Assembly speech.

    Accusing Russia under President Putin of becoming "the world's greatest threat to the sovereignty of other nations" and "increasingly acting as a rogue state," McFaul demanded that Congress bring together the series of recently introduced anti-Russian bills and pass a unified single bill that lands on Trump's desk for signature before the upcoming midterm elections.

    The tough new sanctions, the Obama-era diplomat says, must include "preemptive sanctions that should go into effect automatically in response to future hostile Russian behavior," and hit "ongoing Russian illegal activity…with new sanctions." Sanctions should also hit Russian "traditional and social media entities," McFaul said, building on his earlier suggestion that Sputnik and RT be branded 'foreign agents'.

    New sanctions probably won't change Russia's "behavior," McFaul admits, but could deter future transgressions, and would "absolutely" demonstrate "American resolve to contain Putin's rogue actions."

    McFaul's sanctions-on-steroids proposal was met with mixed reviews. Receiving praise from his 'Russia hacked our elections' readers, the ex-diplomat was derided by others, who worried that such an escalation would only increase tensions, or suggested that McFaul didn't really seem to think things through.

    Russian senator Alexei Pushkov, who has a history of back and forth debate with McFaul going back to the American envoy's time in Moscow, joined in the criticism, calling sanctions "stupid" and pointing out that they fail to harm the Russian economy.

    Others pointed out the US's sordid record of military interventions and interference in the internal affairs of other states over the years, suggesting that maybe it's time for other countries to sanction the United States instead.

    A few others took to dismantling the minutia of McFaul's claims about Russia's malevolent actions point by point.

    Michael McFaul served as US ambassador to Russia between late 2011 and early 2014, and has been included in a Russian 'mirror sanctions' list for his role in harming Russia-US relations, making it impossible to travel to Russia. The ex-diplomat has repeatedly complained that the sanctions effectively ruined his academic career, and has even met with Russia's ambassador to the US to try to get him off the sanctions list. McFaul had a hard time accepting President Trump's victory in the 2016 elections, chalking it down to Russian meddling.

    Related:

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    Ex-US Envoy McFaul Asks Russia's Antonov for Help Getting Off Sanctions List
    Tags:
    preemptive sanctions, additional sanctions, sanctions, US Congress, Michael McFaul, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Russia, United States
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