Russian sanctions are about to blow up in our faces
The whole idea of sanctions is to isolate your enemy by giving incentives to keep 3rd parties from engaging with your enemy. But what if no one cooperates?
What if your allies keep doing business with your enemy? What if you are forced to sanction your allies? If that happens, who is the one being isolated?
We will soon find out with Turkey.
The United States has warned governments around the world that they could face sanctions over any "significant transactions" they make with Russia's military, senior U.S. officials have said.
...The officials confirmed that Turkey, which is negotiating the purchase of S-400 missile defense systems from Russia, is one of the countries that received the warning. Turkey has said it is also looking at alternative systems to purchase from NATO allies.
Turkey isn't "negotiating" to purchase weapons from Russia. They inked the deal months ago.
So the question is will we sanction our NATO ally?
Turkey, like our allies in Europe have already lost billions from existing Russian sanctions.
Turkey is hardly the only ally we are looking to sanction.
Despite having relied on the US to fight the Islamic State (IS), Baghdad has just taken delivery of a major shipment of Russian military equipment and is considering further such arms purchases.
Iraq announced earlier this week that 73 Russian T-90 tanks had arrived at its southern port of Umm Qasr. The tank purchase was agreed upon some time ago, but other reports suggest that Baghdad may now buy the Russian S-400 air defense system.
If Baghdad proceeds with the S-400 purchase, it could well oblige the Trump administration to impose sanctions on the country.
...The US is loathe to criticize Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and his government because it is counting on him to win Iraq’s upcoming elections. However, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert essentially explained on Thursday that if Iraq were to actually conclude a deal for the purchase of the S-400, it would likely trigger CAATSA sanctions.
It's not without some irony that 15 years after our sanctions on Iraq ended with our invasion, that we are looking to reimpose sanctions.
The list of potential allies that will soon be forced to sanction is long.
A new law meant to punish Russia for election interference could force the Trump administration to sanction some of its closest allies -- including Saudi Arabia and India -- a possibility that has put capitals worldwide on edge.
The dilemma shows how Moscow's election malfeasance is deepening Washington's acrimony, complicating US foreign policy, and could ultimately force some allies to choose between the White House and the Kremlin, at a time when Russia is aggressively expanding its influence, particularly in the Middle East.
...The client list of these blacklisted Russian entities includes US counterterrorism partners such as Morocco, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Qatar is a Russian customer, as well as crucial NATO ally Turkey.
...In India, which the Trump administration has deemed a keystone of its Asia policy, there is unease and frustration. New Delhi and Moscow have been close allies since the Cold War. Russia is India's largest weapons supplier, providing it with the nuclear submarines that serve as a deterrent against China.
Following the letter of the law would mean us sanctioning virtually the entire muslim world, plus India.
There is a real risk here that Democrats simply don't appreciate.
That distrust is rooted in history, as the US sanctioned India for years under both Democratic and Republican administrations. "The line in India is, 'you keep saying we have to collaborate against China, but you want to sanction half our army, half our navy and military -- how serious can you be about our alliance?' "Iyer-Mitra said.
Indian officials fully expect the US to grant them a sanctions waiver, as it did under Iran sanctions, sources say. But a source familiar with discussions in New Delhi, who spoke anonymously to discuss sensitive diplomatic matters, said that even so, "senior Indian officials will tell you it's really troublesome - if India is pushed to choose between Washington and Moscow, the US might not like the choice it makes."
There is another side to this: how much are our sanctions hurting Russia?
The answer is, not much.
The Russian economy has returned to modest growth – amidst positive global growth, a recovery in trade, rising oil prices, and growing macroeconomic stability – according to the World Bank’s latest Russia Economic Report (no. 38 in the series), launched today in Moscow.
Russian debt is about to return to investment grade.
Basically the sanctions against Russia are not working, and if we keep pushing it, it'll be the U.S. that is isolated, not Russia.