Washington prepares to sanction our closest allies

The Washington political establishment appears to be ready to do something that can't be undone. Once you sanction your allies either they fold, or they stop being allies.
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This isn’t a bluff: it is what the game theorist and nuclear strategist Thomas Schelling calls a tripwire. When one state is worried that another state will not take its credibility seriously, it may create a situation that narrows its own options in the future.
...This means that if the United States took the advice of Bloomberg Opinion, it would effectively be declaring diplomatic war on its three most important European allies, sanctioning senior European officials for acting in their official capacity to maintain an international agreement that the United States itself negotiated and Iran has not violated. Europe has deliberately structured INSTEX to make it difficult to back down, meaning that there would be widespread fallout from such a declaration of war.

The recent Warsaw Conference is a good example. Vice President Mike Pence slammed Britain, France and Germany in blunt language for busting US sanctions against Iran, while France and Germany didn't even bother send their top diplomats.
This alone is an extremely significant development, but it is hardly an isolated event.

Washington is also preparing to sanction major European companies over an officially sanctioned Russian pipeline.
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Speaking at the energy conference in the Belgian capital, Nicole Gibson, deputy director of the U.S. State Department’s office for Europe, warned that if European companies resume laying pipe later this year they “risk significant sanctions.”
Declining to go into any details about the threatened sanctions, Gibson said Washington doesn’t accept that Nord Stream 2 is a done deal...Her high-profile warning, upping the political stakes, comes two months after Richard Grenell, the U.S. envoy to Germany, sent letters to dozens of European construction and energy companies saying they face sanctions if they resume in the spring the laying of NS2’s concrete-coated steel pipes.

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Germany has dug in their heels on this pipeline. 818 kilometers of pipes – precisely one-third of the gas pipeline’s total length – have been laid in the Baltic Sea.
As if that wasn't enough, the Trump Administration is going to allow lawsuits against European firms that do business in Cuba.

yet again, the United States has decided to tell other countries where they can do business.

I don't want to give the wrong impression - we are also going after non-European allies.

Strategically important NATO ally, Turkey, may be about to be sanctioned.

"Turkey's acquisition of the Russian S-400 air-defense system will have grave consequences for the U.S. defense relationship with Turkey," U.S. Pentagon spokesman Nick Pahon said Monday in a statement.
...Analysts warn the consequences for Ankara, however, could be far-reaching. "If this purchase would go through, even beyond these military aspects, the escalation in Turkish-U.S. tensions would be significant in terms of affecting Turkey's political risk, for the economy," said Sinan Ulgen head of the Istanbul based think tank Edam.

Turkey is also joined with INSTEX (Instrument In Support of Trade Exchanges), the body set up by the European Union that process payments to Iran.
Trump has already fired a shot across the bow of Turkey by removing them from a trade agreement.

Both Iraq's PM and Iraq’s parliament speaker have said that they won't respect U.S. sanctions on Iran.
In response, the U.S. sanctioned a militia aligned with Iraqi's government.

India has inked two multi-billion dollar weapons deals with Russia in defiance of our sanctions threats, while actually increasing oil imports from Venezuela.

The simple fact is that unilateral sanction almost never work. Russia and Iran are not going to fold. We've already pushed China, Iraq and Pakistan into working with them.
So the chances of secondary sanctions forcing our allies to obey are slim. Thus this strategy is based on arrogance and a failure to "read the room".
One possible consequence of this hubris is an End of Dollar Hegemony.

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...Trump is accelerating our country's decline as a world power. The ultimate question is: How ugly will it get? And, knowing Bolton's behind much of this, with Trump lapdog Pompeo in tow, it's quite clearly getting uglier by the minute. I can only speak for myself, but I'm pretty sure many--both in and out of power, not just here in the U.S., but worldwide--are freaking out. Very scary times!

The bible-thumpers just eat this sh*t up!
That's right: "Trump's base." Yeah, simultaneously pathetic, disgusting and horrifying...

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

Pricknick's picture

@bobswern

are freaking out. Very scary times!

This country needs a lesson that bullying leads to a bloody nose or worse for the abuser.
We've needed one for a long time.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@Pricknick

..."a bloody nose" and World War III.

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

Pricknick's picture

@bobswern
is the fear that the pwb want you to have. It's what creates such ignorance in this country.
I refuse to go along with the scare tactic.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Pricknick

the fact that the abuse isn't as bad as what is inflicted on those in other countries doesn't shift me from abused to abuser. And I'm not one of those kids who's on Mommy's and Daddy's side.

These bastards have likely taken away my right to die of old age. They've done even worse to all those younger than me.

If only the bloody nose went to those with the power who actually make the decisions, I'd be totally with you. But I'm not one of the deciderers just because we were born in the same country.

Hell, ask one of them, if you ever get a chance away from a camera. I bet you dollars to donuts that they don't see me (or you) as one of them either.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@bobswern
what happens when it becomes obvious that a serious mistake has been made?
Does Washington double-down? Does it start making military threats?
Or will the international capitalists that own them decide that this strategy may hurt profits?
And what will the right-wing warmongering base do? Their identity is tied up in American supremacy.
And what will the financial markets do when they realize that the U.S. Dollar isn't all powerful?

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@gjohnsit @gjohnsit

...knowledge (and appreciation of same), such as yourself, all I can say is, read this recent, short opinion column from the South China Morning Post: "Trade wars cause world wars, history shows."

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

@bobswern

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

mimi's picture

@gjohnsit
'friends and allies', the US makes a profit. I mean wouldn't dropping bombs and shooting all kind of shit on our territory, gives them new opportunities to build more and better weapons. That is ok with regards to their profits, or not?
Well replace Iraq with the EU and Bush with Trump and you get this:

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mimi

Raggedy Ann's picture

going to sanction the US? We have it coming, after all. Pleasantry

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"The “jumpers” reminded us that one day we will all face only one choice and that is how we will die, not how we will live." Chris Hedges on 9/11

Shahryar's picture

@Raggedy Ann

that's my guess, anyway.

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Trump is demanding that the EU make major sacrifices for Trump and American neocons. Actually started with Obama. Russia has issued counter sanctions which have hurt the EU in significant ways (Russia is the biggest potential market for many products given it is the largest European country.) If Nordstream 2 goes away, the EU will find out about energy security when American companies control their LNG supply (think Arab oil embargo).

I have a feeling the Germans and Austrians may fold on Nordstream 2.

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@MrWebster

I have a feeling the Germans and Austrians may fold on Nordstream 2.

I'll bet you a dollar that they won't fold.
I think nord stream 2 is a done deal.

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OzoneTom's picture

@MrWebster
There are not the ports or ships to match the capacity of Russian pipelines.

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mimi's picture

@MrWebster
sanctions won't work either. Former Chancellor Schroeder is a buddy of Putin and they won't allow the US to divide them on that issue. The more threats are coming in the more resistance against them will happen. I don't think that the German population wants to receive LNG gas on ships. Only certain German politicians play dumb and would consider it. And there are so many poor and corruptable folks especially in the Eastern European countries ... what do I know what they will do. May be those will fold.

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mimi

dervish's picture

@MrWebster that they can deliver sufficient gas cheaper and more reliably than the pipeline. Until then, no way in Hell will they fold.

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

dance you monster's picture

Back when I was in college (early 1970s, thus soon after the legendary '60s of protests, which we all had seen firsthand in our teens) we used to wonder when (or whether) the U.S. would ever have a revolution. All kinds of answers would tumble forth, depending on where in the lefty spectrum you stood. I was one of those who thought we would never see a revolution in a classic sense but in the course of doing what we already were doing would someday overreach so far that the world would just give up and give us the middle finger, shutting us off from any interactions with more civilized societies thereafter. I regarded that as a much-deserved and beneficial outcome for the world.

The ironic thing now is that Germany is defying us to build a fossil-fuel pipeline that will allow the world to keep baking itself into extinctions, while we the U.S. rattle our metaphoric sabers to justify and enable more CO2-spewing military might. It's a pity there won't be anyone around to read any historian's effort to describe the lunacy. We're posturing and arguing over puddles drying up on a hot blacktop. That's how ugly it is. Now. It will get uglier.

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lotlizard's picture

@dance you monster  
Everybody has to deindustrialize like Morgenthau proposed the Allies should make Germany deindustrialize after surrender?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgenthau_Plan

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QMS's picture

The local financial powers are doubling down on the govt. and military to prop up their losing scam. The transnational power brokers will be forced to reciprocate. Wall Street will get bailed. Main Street stands to lose. Big time. Unless, of course, we do something about it. Won't have much choice.

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dervish's picture

Let God sort them out.

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

QMS's picture

@dervish
Karma is a bitch Wink

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what their decision makers perceive to be in the best interests of the nation and/or or decision maker(s) in question at the time in question. I don't think America has allies. I think some nations perceive it to be to their advantage to side with an alleged super power, some would say the only super power right now, as well as a large importer of foreign goods.

If our alleged allies think they can do better by ignoring us, then they will ignore us.

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Bollox Ref's picture

@HenryAWallace

Many moons ago, it took us about 1/2 an hour to drive across Liechtenstein.

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

if they are abiding by the treaty it is dishonorable for us to break it.

I hold my honor dear, YMMV.
Trump, Bolton, Pompeo don't know what it means. A high card in bridge?

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Centaurea's picture

This is how personality-disordered narcissists operate: sanctioning their allies. It's their modus operandi.

In their personal lives, the "allies" who get "sanctioned" are their spouses, families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Sanctioning on this level = verbal abuse, physical abuse, gaslighting, giving the silent treatment, DARVO (reverse victim and offender), projection, bullying, stirring up trouble between people, throwing tantrums, intimidating, manipulating, making threats, stalking, proxy recruitment (enlisting third parties to do their dirty work for them) ... the list goes on and on.

The only way to deal with a toxic narcissist is to put up solid, non-negotiable boundaries. Stop playing their game. Get off their playing field and onto your own.

If possible, go full No Contact. Otherwise, have as little contact as possible. When you have contact, be a Gray Rock. Impersonal and neutral. Don't engage with or indulge the toxic shenanigans.

Has the rest of the world finally had enough of the narcissistic personality-disordered American Empire, and its narcissistic personality-disordered leader?

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Centaurea

In their personal lives, the "allies" who get "sanctioned" are their spouses, families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Sanctioning on this level = verbal abuse, physical abuse, gaslighting, giving the silent treatment, DARVO (reverse victim and offender), projection, bullying, stirring up trouble between people, throwing tantrums, intimidating, manipulating, making threats, stalking, proxy recruitment (enlisting third parties to do their dirty work for them) ... the list goes on and on.

This is part of what I was referring to when I told Pricknick that I consider myself one of the abused, being abused by the same people who abuse Iraquis, Iranians, Yemenis...it's just that the abuse of people like me is several orders of magnitude less than what is inflicted on them. Or perhaps you could see it as happening in slow motion.

I mean, how many of these activities have our overlords aimed at you lately? Or at least, at people who share your views? Think about the 2016 election and its aftermath:

verbal abuse

physical abuse

gaslighting

giving the silent treatment (does turning sound cannons on people so they can't be heard count?)

DARVO (reverse victim and offender)

projection

bullying

stirring up trouble between people

throwing tantrums

intimidating

manipulating

making threats

stalking

proxy recruitment (enlisting third parties to do their dirty work for them)

Aside from stalking and physical abuse, I don't think there's a one I haven't encountered. If I were a POC, I would have probably encountered physical abuse as well. Or if I had been less lucky as a protester. I never had to face fire hoses turned on me in the dead of winter, for example.

It's obviously not the same as having your city bombed into the Stone Age, having most of the people you know die, getting hauled off to a black site...but we'd better understand what our current position is. The abuser gets to decide when and how the abuse happens, and how bad it is. That's what being the abuser is. We don't get to do that. We get to watch while they abuse others worse than they abuse us. It's like being the favorite child of a predator. You still get treated like shit; it's just that everybody else gets treated worse.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Centaurea's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

We get to watch while they abuse others worse than they abuse us.

In fact, that's abuse, too. People who are forced to watch other people be abused tend to get things like PTSD.

The entire thing is unhealthy, dysfunctional, and toxic to the max, for everyone.

It's like being the favorite child of a predator. You still get treated like shit; it's just that everybody else gets treated worse.

In clinical psychology favorite children of predators are called "Golden Children". To the unfavored children, the Golden Child may look like he has a charmed life. The truth is, the Golden Child is damaged just as badly as the unfavored.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Centaurea

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver