U.S. sanctions card is losing its impact
The thing with sanctions is that the threat is supposed to be enough to make others comply. If you have to use sanctions, you should never have to use them against your allies. The worst case scenario is for your allies to simply ignore your sanctions threat, effectively calling your bluff.
That's what is happening today.
The US would still like to block a planned gas pipeline between Russia and Germany but is not yet pushing for sanctions against companies that would be involved in the project.
"We oppose Nord Stream 2, we would prefer the pipeline not be built at all, US deputy assistant secretary for energy diplomacy Sandra Oudkirk said on Monday (19 March).
While Germany is Nord Stream 2's main EU supporter, she will travel to Berlin later, "perhaps as soon as next month."
The U.S. has been threatening Europe with sanctions over the Nord Stream pipeline for months, and for months Europe has been ignoring the threats.
For months our threats have been empty.
Just two weeks ago, the Swedish government approved the pipeline construction for their part of the Nord Stream.
It appears that Europe isn't trembling in fear.
It isn't just Europe that fails to fear our sanctions. India has effectively given us the middle finger.
India signed a $6 billion deal with Moscow in late 2016, agreeing to lease a Russian-made nuclear submarine, to buy four Russian frigates, to purchase the advanced S-400 air-defense missile system, and to set up a joint venture with a Russian firm to produce military helicopters.
Delhi has said it will go ahead with the purchase of the missile system, despite the recent Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which aims to deter foreign individuals and entities from doing business with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors.
The US named India a "major defense partner" in an effort to suck up to them, and India turned around and planned a rupee-rouble trade for weapons deals in order to get around U.S. sanctions.
Our allies are taking extreme steps to purchase weapons from Russia, in defiance of our sanctions threats.
Tensions between rivals Saudi Arabia and Qatar have ratcheted up as both countries negotiate with Moscow on possible deals, while the recent decision by NATO member Turkey to buy the S-400 has drawn threats of U.S. sanctions.
With Algeria, Belarus, Iran, and Vietnam also likely customers, Russia could generate $30 billion in sales over the next 12 to 15 years, according to the Moscow Defense Brief, a leading publisher of Russian military information.
It's almost as if nations don't want their militaries and energy supplies to be dependent on the unpredictable behemoth that likes to bomb everyone.
It's weird, huh?