US pressure got EU countries to act against their own self-interest – imposing sanctions in 2014, on the phony pretext of “Russian aggression” in Ukraine, nonexistent then and now, no prospect of any ahead.

Brussels extended them earlier, again through January 31, 2017 – approved by the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the European Union (COREPER). Tightening them wasn’t considered.

A formal announcement is expected next week when EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels. Internal disagreements are growing, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker citing the urgency to resolve East/West differences.

Putin indicated Russia is ready to reciprocate if EU countries show good faith. Ignored in discussing the issue is the illegitimacy of acting outside of Security Council authorization.

None exists. US and EU sanctions on Russia are illegal. Putin was justified in responding appropriately – eager to end sanctions wars expeditiously, restoring normalized relations.

Washington deviously circumvents Security Council authorization, invoking the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

It lets presidents claim unusual and/or extraordinary foreign threats, even when none exist, declare a national emergency, and regulate commerce accordingly.

In March 2015, Obama invoked IEEPA on Venezuela, declaring model Bolivarian democracy an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national and foreign policy of the United States,” imposing sanctions, economic war now raging, ordinary people mostly harmed.

On January 20, 2017, a new US president will be inaugurated, days before Russian sanctions expire or are again extended. Trump claims he wants improved US/Russia ties.

If elected in November, realpolitik may override other issues. Clinton is militantly anti-Russia, earlier comparing Putin to Hitler.

Sanctions relief won’t likely be forthcoming on her watch. Escalated US belligerence may provoke direct confrontation.

All bets are off if she succeeds Obama. The worst of all possible outcomes may follow.

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