The Washington Post published a story November 20th describing how congress may spoil Trump’s efforts to reset the US relationship with Russia. A number of points stand out. First, there is congressional delegation heading to meet with NATO allies.
Before Trump takes the oath of office, McCain and Graham will lead a congressional delegation to Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia to reassure these European partners that Washington is still committed to confronting Russian aggression. Starting in January, the pair will hold a series of hearings highlighting Russia’s transgressions around the world, including war crimes in Syria, cyberattacks, propaganda campaigns and threats to Baltic states.
In addition, Graham has said he wants to use his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee to steer new funds to European allies for battling Moscow.
McCain and Graham are sending a powerful signal. They will have support across the aisle.
The second point that stands out is that we are not alone: we have evidence Russia has been attempting to influence political developments in other countries.
A new report by the Atlantic Council details how Russia has been using a combination of overt and covert means to foster the rise of pro-Russian political parties in several Western European countries, including Britain, France and Germany.
“Moscow views the West’s virtues — pluralism and openness — as vulnerabilities to be exploited,” former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski writes in the forward to the report. “The Kremlin’s blatant attempts to influence and disrupt the U.S. presidential election should serve as an inspiration for a democratic push back.”
The efforts Russia made to influence the US election are part of a larger global effort. Congressional leaders appear to be prepared to stand up to Putin’s expansionism, notwithstanding Trump’s efforts to reset the US relationship with Russia.