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A nation must think before it acts.
One unfortunate outgrowth of the way the United States formulates its national security policy is the tendency to view the “battle” in Washington as the centerpiece, with the actual foreign policy effects relegated to a sideline. The debate over whether to institutionalize (and increase) sanctions on Russia has followed this pattern, with Congress’s passage of legislation over the objections of President Donald Trump viewed primarily as a domestic political “humiliating rebuke” to the administration rather than as a step that has significant foreign policy implications to the United States.
Many seem to view the heavy lifting as over and done, with all that remains to count the days until Vladimir Putin is ousted from power and Russia meekly withdraws its forces from Ukraine and Syria. In contrast to the years of careful preparation and negotiation with other key partners over the Iran sanctions, which the latest legislation took as a template, the expanded Russia sanctions have come at a low point in U.S. relations with its allies and an increased lack of trust in American leadership, calling into question how effective they will be in the absence of a new trans-Atlantic (and trans-Pacific) consensus on how to move forward.
Continue reading “The 1980s Called, And They Want Their Russia Sanctions Back”