On Friday, President Obama signed S. 2943, the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which passed both House and Senate with veto-proof majorities.
Not content to influence the outcome of U.S. elections, Vladimir Putin is now angry that President Obama – who is president, not Donald Trump – did his lawful duty by signing a bill he could not have vetoed had he wanted to.
According to Putin, who is beginning to whine as much as Donald Trump, Obama only did it to “create problems for the incoming Trump administration.” Putin hates it when he fancy plans don’t come together.
As The Hill explains,
As in other recent years, the bill prohibits military cooperation between the United States and Russia until Russia has “ceased its occupation of Ukrainian territory and its aggressive activities that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”
The bill also authorizes $3.4 billion for the European Reassurance Initiative that will pay for troop and weapons deployments to Eastern Europe, among other steps to reassure U.S. allies anxious about Russian aggression.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, whose official title is Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said in a statement that Obama is “publicly engaging in sabre rattling” and went on to raise several other objections:
“Overall, 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 complicate its relations on the international stage, as well as to force it to adopt an anti-Russia policy.
“This policy has brought the current US administration, which believed that Russia would bow to pressure, into a dead end. We hope the new administration will be more sagacious.”
By sagacious, she means “more willing to do as it is told.” You can be certain Trump will be that. Though Putin attacks Obama for the NDAA, what the Russian strongman must keep in mind is that whatever he and Trump might want, the Republican-controlled Congress was fully behind the very thing he is objecting to.
Trump seems unhappy too, to judge by a tweet this morning that seems, at least in part, motivated by the signing of the NDAA and Putin’s reaction:
Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks.Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2016
In fact, the word “hasty” used by Zakharova does not apply to the NDAA specifically or to President Obama generally. A Statement of Administration Policy makes a number of objections to the NDAA and in negotiations in House and Senate, a number of provisions Democrats objected to were removed, as were a number they supported.
And in a signing statement there is no mention of Vladimir Putin or of Russia or Ukraine.
Obama explained that he signed it because “this act authorizes fiscal year 2017 appropriations principally for the Department of Defense and for Department of Energy national security programs, provides vital benefits for military personnel and their families, and includes authorities to facilitate ongoing operations around the globe.”
Even a quick reading reveals that there is much more to the NDAA than a simple attack on Putin or a swipe at Trump. Vladimir Putin made big plans to install a puppet in the White House to do his bidding. He is upset that the Democratic process had a final card to play, limiting the scope of what Putin had hoped to accomplish.
Neither Trump nor Putin may like it, but the NDAA is now in effect and binding on the actions of one President-elect Donald J. Trump, and Putin may find his useful idiot is less useful than he had hoped.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.