Some analysts interpreted this as a shattering of the last illusions of possible improvements in Russia-U.S. relations. However, I would not make a drama out of this situation. Implementation of new sanctions is most likely Trump’s tactical ploy rather than a strategic one. During the period of stigmatization that is currently happening in the U.S. Congress and mass media, anyone who allows themselves to speak of the practicality of improving relations between the two countries is called a “Russian spy” or a “useful idiot” in a best-case scenario. In this situation any of Trump’s movements in this direction can cause him another sensitive blow, although the number of these blows is already growing like a rolling snowball. Now the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has been summoned to Congress to testify about possible links between Russia and the president's team and Trump himself.
Representatives of the U.S. Department of State emphasized that the decision about the implementation of the new sanctions against Russia was not made during Trump’s administration but by Barack Obama during the last days of his administration. It seems like Trump didn't have another way out of this situation. The fact is that special resolutions that prohibit the president from canceling any anti-Russian sanctions without the permission of congressmen and senators have been submitted in both chambers of Congress. These bills have not yet been adopted, but if Trump tried to cancel even one point from the list of sanctions imposed by Obama, a positive vote on these resolutions would follow immediately. In general, you can see that now in America there is a very unique situation in which the Congress, whose long-term approval rating remains at 8-10 percent* is practically blocking the work of the president, who was selected by almost half of the population.
In the meantime, even though Trump’s rating recently fell a little bit, it is still better than rating of Congress. It should be noted that decline of Trump’s popularity is connected with the impossibility of effective execution of his election campaign promises because of congressional opposition. By the way, Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is almost 90 percent. Thus, there are no serious reasons to talk yet about the full surrender of Trump's positions and about the fact that normalization of Russian-American relations will not happen in the near future.
I think the more important news is that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will arrive in Moscow on April 12, and notably he will be hosted not only by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov but also by President Vladimir Putin. According to unofficial figures, Tillerson will bring with him some compromise proposals to overcome the deepest crisis in Russia-U.S. relations. Now, a lot of experts try to guess what kind of compromise proposals we are talking about here but some already named them the “great bargain.” Of course, Moscow is preparing its own proposals, but it is understandable that this situation is way harder for the American side since Tillerson and his boss, Trump, were attacked by the powerful forces of the anti-Russian lobby inside the United States. And this is exactly why I would not expect any significant breakthrough from this visit. God forbid, as they say, not to have a complete falling out.
*Editor’s note: The accuracy of this statement could not be verified.