“At the appropriate time, I will get involved, yes.”

Excerpts from a piece in the Wall Street Journal published on Thursday:

Administration and industry officials see diplomatic action as necessary to get Russia and Saudi Arabia to back down from flooding the markets with supply…

The U.S. would ask the Saudis to return to their original, lower production levels before that decision… The administration could use the threat of sanctions on Russia as part of its engagement with Saudi Arabia to assure the kingdom its rival Russia won’t easily benefit from Saudi cutbacks…

Either way, possible sanctions against Russia are in the works… although the details of those possible sanctions and what Russian action might trigger them weren’t available.

Mediocre minds think alike: “if President Trump became convinced that oil prices needed propping up, he could use his sanctioning power, say, against Russian exporters,” as I wrote on Monday.

If Trump chose this route and kept his course no matter what, he could win an extra prize for himself and for the cause of American greatness. Bringing down or seriously weakening a revanchist authoritarian regime in control of a large nuclear arsenal would help his re-election and guarantee him an honorable place in history. However, it seems that Trump’s heart is not in it. Bullying Jerome Powell into cutting rates is his idea of triumph.

Besides, large-scale sanctions against Russia would be a risky move and there’s an epidemic at home to deal with. On top of this, headlines like this (Thanks to Sanctions, Russia Is Cushioned From Virus’s Economic Shocks) are starting to pop up. Hopefully Trump doesn’t get his advice from the New York Times but I’ve seen similar nonsense elsewhere. Russia’s vulnerabilities are multiplying over time. “Russia is stronger thanks to the sanctions” is a meme straight out of a Putinist propaganda manual.

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