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.

Not only that, India is also planning to ignore Iranian sanctions. Like with Russian weapons, India will be buying Iranian oil in local currency in order to get around 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?

31 users have voted.


still bombing Afghanistan

The 591 weapons released over Afghanistan in May were the most in a month so far this year, according to new statistics released by the Air Force.

Those 591 topped the previous high this year, which was 562 in April -- a count that includes bombs, missiles and ground-attacks. The record for a month is the 653 weapons released in October 2017 — that month, August 2017, and April and May this year are the only months to exceed 500 weapons released.

Overall, the US aircraft conducted 726 sorties as part of Operation Freedom's Sentinel in May, 73 of which included the release of at least one weapon.

The total weapons deployed by manned and remotely piloted aircraft through May this year is 2,339, more than were dropped in both 2016 and 2015 and close to the 12-month totals for 2013 and 2014 — 2,758 and 2,365, respectively.
Miller acknowledged that the 17 years the US has spent in Afghanistan "is a very long time" but said he "cannot guarantee you a timeline or an end date" for the deployment of the 16,000 US troops now in the country.

18 users have voted.
WoodsDweller's picture

... because after sanctions fail El Trumpo will bring out the big guns. Humiliating nicknames and mean tweets! No nation can hope to stand up to the horrors that can be inflicted by an senile elderly lard ass with an unsecured smart phone.

14 users have voted.

I like this world. It's not perfect, but everything I love is in it.

gulfgal98's picture

our corporations versus their corporations? It appears to me that the US government is simply the enforcement arm for global US corporations.

18 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

joe shikspack's picture


see smedley butler's war is a racket for details.

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

21 users have voted.
gulfgal98's picture

@joe shikspack I was thinking about Smedley Butler when I wrote my comment. I really wish more people could see the real reasons for all these wars, etc. I do think more people are getting a clue.

Our Peace vigil when it was active had a homemade banner that read "No Blood For Oil."

14 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

dance you monster's picture


Corporations are just one part of the equation, I think. Seems to me it's more about influence.

Yeah, our corporations need to make just enough money with sales of their products so that shareholders won't want CEOs replaced. But how many CEOs or other corporate officers really care all that much what their products are? They can hide a bad sales season by announcing another stock buyback. The thing that matters is influence. That's something they share with the generals and the congresscritters and the other machers. What influence will those products bring them, in raised expectations, in customer demand, and in the sweet, sweet quarterly returns that boost stock prices almost as much as simple market psychology (i.e., influence) that comes from having your product be the one, or be perceived to be the one since the thought, the appeal, is more important than the physical item you're producing, that generals ask for and reporters mention. If Russians have a product that other nations (and their militaries) want more than yours, or just appear to want more, then your average American defense CEO is gonna start worrying about his bonus and his cachet at the club and in the invitations circuit and his success in getting Junior into Harvard. They long ago nailed down enough money to live more than lavishly for the rest of their lives; now it's all about the influence, the position among the well-positioned. When Trump gets antsy about the reception his actions and utterances bring, it's only a reflection of what all those bastids are doing more quietly: jockeying for position and influence.

They are all jockeying with each other, for the other machers' respect and adoration. Question is, when are we -- the 99.9% -- gonna withdraw our respect and adoration? When will we stop buying their products, listening to their pronouncements, subscribing to their services, voting for their chosen politicians? When we do, their power and influence will wane as it has with Germany and India and others who aren't buying their shitshow.

9 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@dance you monster

...when they diminish to third-rate or less in the eyes of the world — shade will be cast on American products, US policies, and their rundown strip mall nation with the bad roads and homeless encampments. As far as I can tell, they cannot conceive of a reality where they are not number One. It's all they've ever known.

But behind the corporations is the Ideology that rules foreign affairs. The Neocon doctrine. This powers the think tanks and councils and the strategies in the State Department and Pentagon. Hundreds of military bases with special ops triggering wars and catastrophes all over the world.

They had big plans. I don't think they have any idea what's coming. It sounds strange. But they seem oblivious in the same way that the Dems are about the 2018 elections.

13 users have voted.

@gulfgal98 When Congress wanted to sanction companies working with Russia over Nord Stream2, a number of EU officials said the US was using sanctions for American companies to get a competitive advantage over the Russians. I don't have link, but one US official said the we could replace Russia as the energy provider for Europe with LNG. Surprise, surprise.

The neocons don't want the EU to be blackmailed by energy pipeline, but from what I can tell, the Russians have never disrupted the flow--they need the money. However, the Ukraine was caught stealing Russian gas flowing through the country.

11 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


I'm betting on this country. We put the current government in place after we overthrew its elected one.

That this country is losing its ability to rule the rest of the world is a good thing for them. Now if we could just get them to stop helping us destroy the world ....

5 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

detroitmechworks's picture

American Companies have been so fucking reliant on captive monopoly marketplaces that they didn't think that if somebody did the job better they'd lose out. Every time they did lose out, they had the might of the MIC to rely on. Only now... it's not somebody who can't fight back.

So, we'll absolutely bluster, and engage in the standard "Do it or Die" rhetoric that Americans are know for... but in the end, we'll let it go through as soon as we get our beak wet in some manner.

13 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

mimi's picture

your damn cars nor our own. Sick and tired of all the cars here in Germany. I am happy if the industry takes a hit.

Donald J. Trump
‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

Based on the Tariffs and Trade Barriers long placed on the U.S. and it great companies and workers by the European Union, if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here!
10:25 AM - 22 Jun 2018

Just go ahead build your own there and hopefully Germany stops producing so many darn cars. In my little town I am looking for a parking space longer than anywhere in DC. Germany is now more American than America. Feels like in the last thirty years Germany has been systematically undermined by US-style corporate powers and US-style religious cults. Man, I can't stand it anymore. I want my country of the sixties back.

15 users have voted.

@mimi @mimi
Maybe Mr Misbehave wants climate change global warming. Global warming is American. MAGA.

5 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

As much as I despise tRump ,and all he represents, he is the proverbial bull in the China shop and he is inadvertently breaking a lot of ceramics that needed to be destroyed in the interests of most of the world.The world would be a much safer place without 'American influence' running rampant on every continent.
tRump surrounds himself with neocons like Bolton but other rabid neocons like Bill Kristol,the Kagans and the recently deceased (and not a day too soon) Charles Craphammer are among the others bemoaning losing our "influence" in shaping policies in Europe SE Asia and the ME. Those Countries (Allies in particular) don't want what are pretty much the same policies as with Obama, but without the pretty mask which makes those same, similar or worse policies hard to sell to their people. The poison must taste sweet first and come from a person with a pleasing, trustworthy appearing personality for people to swallow it.
I cheer every time time tRump angers the leaders of our allies as he crashes one friendly relationship after another and they start talking about the idea of sovereignty and not being a "vassal" or as President Putin put it "puppets of the US".
NATO is nothing more than an arm of the US that never does any real action with which the US disagrees and it is an embedded influence in all these Countries that are being angered by tRump's actions/words.
So in reality that is a very durable piece of pottery to destroy but I wish our buffoon bull all the luck in the world in breaking our "influence" capabilities.
There are far too many examples that tRump is simply Obama without a mask and on steroids.

9 users have voted.



tRump is simply Obama without a mask and on steroids.

5 users have voted.

@Linda Wood

...tRump is simply Obama without a mask and on steroids.

the bad temper and tiny... hands.

3 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Looks like both democrats and the republicans expect others to pay for neocon foreign policy decisions. EU was certainly strutting around about giving it to Russia and followed along with Obama's sanctions. And with some surprise, they did not think that Russia would be able to retaliate, and as one counter sanction, stopped EU agricultural imports which cost the EU hundreds of millions of euros. Even Lithuanian pig farmers were protesting the original sanctions. The end result is that Russian farmers don't want the ban lifted they are doing so well.

And now at least in energy, the neocons want the EU to give control over large parts of the EU energy market over to US LNG. I wonder if anybody remembers the oil companies parking tankers in 1973 off the East Coast waiting for gas prices to soar even higher.

The next big target will be Russian food exports. The Russian agricultural policy seems to be non-GMO organic exports, which is a winner in many food markets.

12 users have voted.