The Turkey purchase of S-400 missile systems and its misadventures in Syria is coming home to roost. The Republican-led Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 18-4 to send S.2641: Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act of 2019 for a vote in the full Senate. And the 18-4 margin virtually guarantees a passage in the Senate and is sure to push President Trump to take a much harder line against Turkey.
The panel’s Republican chairman Senator Jim Risch and top Democrat in the committee, Senator Bob Menendez were the sponsors of this bill and both voted for it, while Senator Rand Paul opposed it. He said that this would weaken the president’s power to negotiate with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Other senators strongly disagreed. Many lawmakers, Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, are angry about Turkey’s S-400 purchase, which they see as a threat to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) defenses. There are 29 members in NATO and Turkey is one of them.
US Congress has already passed its version
The House of Representatives, in a 403-16 vote passed its own version of the Turkish sanctions bill in October. When S.2641 passes in the Senate, then the House Bill and the Senate Bill will be reconciled/ merged and then presented to the President for his signature. Looking at the majorities with which the sanctions are being passed, Trump would find the going very difficult if he vetoes it (the US Congress will impeach him, and he would need Senate to vote against it or he will be history). Trump will huff and puff but when the reality hits home, he will sign on the dotted line. There is also an alternate scenario. If both the Congress and Senate vote again on the combined bill and if that passes by over 2/3rds margin, then even Trump cannot veto it.
What about India?
Once Turkey is put away and starts finding the going tough, the US will turn its attention towards India. The Democrats have been vocal about their opposition to Article 370 (it is a different matter that many are ignorant of what 370 has achieved) or now to the Citizenship Amendment Bill. USCIRF has already started making loud noises. With a token Hindu representative who does not find it worth her while to respond and an office that never picks up the phone, any attempt at trying to make them see the reality will be futile.
I hate to say, “I told you so!” but this very topic has been debated at length in PGurus. India’s economic growth has been steadily declining and sanctions by the US (will EU follow?) could really cripple the economy. Mr. Modi, are you listening?
 Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act of 2019 – Dec 11, 2019, Reuters.com
 Hangout with Prof M D Nalapat on S-400 acquisitions and why it is bad for India – Jul 1, 2019, YouTube PGurus channel
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