While Donald Trump was off in Singapore trying to avert a third world war, his Treasury secretary was busy at home, trying to start one.
Steven Mnuchin used the U.S. president’s absence from Washington for a historic peace summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, as an opportunity to jack up sanctions against the Russian Federation.
The excuse? A supposed Russian cyber attack on the US – over one year ago – and a now totally discredited claim that Russia tried to hack the US electric grid.
Treasury doesn’t get the most creative minds, apparently.
The new sanctions target five Russian “entities” and three individuals alleged to provide services to Russian hackers.
Secretary Mnuchin said on the new sanctions:
The entities designated today have directly contributed to improving Russia’s cyber and underwater capabilities through their work with the FSB and therefore jeopardize the safety and security of the United States and our allies…
The United States is committed to aggressively targeting any entity or individual working at the direction of the FSB whose work threatens the United States and will continue to utilize our sanctions authorities, including those provided under CAATSA, to counter the constantly evolving threats emanating from Russia.
You can read the US Treasury Department’s press release on the sanctions here.
The response from Russia, so far, has been mooted. Thankfully, Putin is more interested in dialogue.
This latest act of escalation by the Trump administration serves as a timely reminder that much of his cabinet and many of his advisers remain proven globalists and neo-conservatives.
While Donald Trump himself may be struggling for peace and fair trade, many in the financial-military-security deep state surrounding him remain committed to sabotaging his efforts.
It does not bode well for upcoming extended negotiations with North Korea on denuclearization, to be led by Trump’s truculent new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.
Of course, it was Pompeo’s groundwork in meeting twice with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang, that led up to the Singapore peace summit. So maybe the formerly hawkish congressman is on board with his president’s agenda.
The next weeks should be revealing.