Congress with an overwhelming majority of votes approved the bill imposing new economic sanctions on North Korea, Russia and Iran. There have been suggestions that President trump will use the veto, because of the threat to the already difficult relations between America and Moscow, and due to the tight restrictions in the name of national security deny the President the opportunity to lift the sanctions. However, the White house announced the President’s willingness to sign the bill, which may indicate how the advocates of a new cold war with Russia intimidated the team of trump. The magnitude and the transmissibility of anti-Russian sentiment has reached an alarming extent. Members of Congress and other influential persons of both parties said the alleged Russian breaches during the elections in 2016 an act of war, and one Congressman even compared them to pearl Harbor and September 11 attacks.
Given the hysteria and the odds in favor of sanctions in Congress, the failure of trump from using its veto is not necessarily due to political cowardice. Voted against only three members of the lower house and two senators (Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders). Even Senator Mike Lee, is usually preserving sanity in matters of foreign policy, joins a number of lawmakers-vigilantes.
The approval, which was met by new sanctions, overlooks the long history of their unsuccessful application. Thirty years ago a bright scientific work Harry Hufbauer, Jeffrey Scott and Kimberly Ann Elliot, entitled “Rethinking economic sanctions” have already shown that sanctions rarely achieve the goals set for them. The recent re-publishing it, only confirm this conclusion. Sanctions may cause problems for the regime, which have been exposed to, and greatly harm the innocent population in a controlled country, but they rarely encourage the regime to surrender or at least a substantial concessions. This is especially true of issues of great importance for the political leadership of the country.
The results of the past decades not too contradict this opinion. The United States and its allies imposed on North Korea more stringent sanctions in order to compel it to abandon nuclear weapons and to develop ballistic missiles. Regular nuclear tests Pyongyang’s recent launches of Intercontinental ballistic missiles testify to the complete failure of the sanctions approach.
The use of this approach in relation to the other opponent of Washington — Cuba — proved equally disastrous. Starting with Dwight Eisenhower, generations of American administrations followed him up to the normalization of relations with Havana that launched Barack Obama in late 2014. Unfortunately, President trump has eliminated some of the useful and reasonable changes implemented by his predecessor. However, the results imposed on Cuba embargo did not exceeded any of the sanctions imposed against North Korea. Washington’s demands to cease violations of human rights by the Castro regime, the transition to democracy and compensation for confiscated after the 1959 revolution American property left unsatisfied. Dinastia Castro retained power, the Cuban regime remains a Communist dictatorship seized property was not compensated and the treatment of political dissidents have been at best meager changes.
Even the history of the alleged success that love to brag, supporters of the sanctions, not too impressive on closer examination. A good example is the agreement with Iran. Perhaps sanctions and played a modest role in bringing Tehran to the negotiating table, however, the agreement was reached only after the United States and other States from the group 5 + 1 have abandoned the requirements of the prevention of Iran’s development of technologies for uranium enrichment. The agreement was largely a compromise, and the “hawks” in the United States vehemently condemned what he considered surrender the USA to Iran.
The use of tough measures against Russia is of particular concern. Moscow promptly responded to the adoption of the latest sanctions package. The government of Vladimir Putin immediately ordered to cut the staff of the American Embassy in Moscow and seized several owned by the United States diplomatic facilities. Moreover, the claim that Russia acted in response to similar moves by the Obama administration in December 2016, distorts the real situation. After the election of the President of trump Putin specifically assured that it will not respond to the December action. However, the adoption of new sanctions has led to a decisive policy reversal.
It seems that economic sanctions have become a habit, becoming a favorite tool in the foreign policy Arsenal of Washington. They create the illusion of moderation, lying between purely diplomatic and military means. However, given the consistently low efficiency of this approach, lawmakers should abandon this desire. This is especially true of cases in which the filed satisfaction of their requirements is absolutely incredible.
Sanctions will not force North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic program. The leadership of the Pyongyang believes that the need for such means to keep Washington from forcible regime change. Considering the US actions against deprived of nuclear weapons opponents such as Serbia, Iraq and Libya, this conclusion is not without basis.
Similarly, the new sanctions against Iran for violating the “spirit” of the agreements with the 5 + 1 group absolutely meaningless. Even the administration trump was forced to admit, albeit reluctantly, that Iran has followed the letter of the contract. The imposition of sanctions is unlikely to give a relatively moderate government of Rouhani’s greater willingness to cooperate. Moreover, this step can increase the impact of the Iranian “hawks” seeking to cancel the agreement and transition to conventional nuclear deterrence.
The biggest concern is that sanctions will only provoke Moscow and would aggravate the already alarming new cold war. Russia’s recognition of her intervention in the U.S. elections in 2016 unlikely — in fact, the truth of these allegations remains a big question. Not much more and the possibility that Russia will throw her allied separatists in Eastern Ukraine, and the possibility of Russia’s withdrawal from Crimea is not at all. The chances that this will happen, comparable to the probability of failure of Israeli control over the Golan heights or the departure of the Turkish occupied North of Cyprus with further cessation support for its state-puppets of the TRNC.
Economic sanctions have the dubious combination of low efficiency and level of provocation. Latest their application with the high probability will lead to serious problems for the United States in various fields. Lawmakers should abandon their addiction to sanctions until it led to a profound tragedy.