Countries such as Russia continue to receive sanctions from other countries, especially the United States, due to several reasons such as Crimea, electoral interference, and cyber-attacks. Since the end of the World War 1, sanctions have increasingly become a more liberal alternative to war. Sanctions issued in the modern world can be classified into different categories: economic, military, diplomatic, sports, and environmental sanctions (Colussi 103-120). Each of the aforementioned type of a sanction is meant to achieve different results. For example, economic sanctions are ideally meant to restrict trade transactions between countries, diplomatic sanctions are meant to remove or minimize diplomatic relations between nations, while military sanctions are meant to lay a foundation for military intervention. As the Director of Industry and Security, I am aware of the fact that the United States has issued several sanctions against Russia with an aim of achieving specific desirable behavior from the country. Additionally, the United States has issued sanctions against Russia due to crimes United States believed Russia has committed against America such as Crimea, electoral interference, and cyber-attacks. Unfortunately, security intelligence indicates that the sanctions have not achieved their intended purposes.
Since the Russian Tsarina Catherine the great, the Crimean peninsula has continued to loom largely to Russian leaders due to its strategic location. Crimea is strategically placed in a way that offers Russia a military advantage both in the Black Sea as well as the larger Mediterranean region. It is prudent to note that Crimea is officially a section of Ukraine. However, a treaty signed in 1997, gave Russia the permission to maintain its Black Sea presence in Sevastopol in a lease that was supposed to last till 2042 (Popovici). Unfortunately, President Vladimir Putin’s government seized Crimea form Ukraine in 2014; thus, sparking the interest of other powerful nations such as the USA to get involved with an aim of stopping Russia from committing crimes against the country. Therefore, the primary target in getting the United States involved would be to get Russia out of Crimea and have Russia honor the agreement signed in 1997.
Several people, including people from my department, have continued to question the extent to which the sanctions issued against Russia by the United States are accomplishing their role of getting Russia out of Crimea. It is almost six years since Russia blatantly started the illegal annexation of Crimea leading to the United States issuing a number of sanctions to inspire changed behavior on Russia. The Bureau of Industry and Security witnessed the first sanction that was signed by President Obama in 2014 issuing the initial executive order. Unfortunately, I can confidently state that the sanctions have proven to be ineffective and inefficient in inspiring changed behavior on the part of Russia since the security conversation continue to dominate and cause tension between the two nations. Moreover, I have observed that the sanctions’ discussion continues to dominate the 2020 presidential debate campaigns. My colleagues and have adequately concluded that the sanctions issued against Russia by the United States have not been effective in accomplishing their expected results.
My department has identified some of the challenges that have rendered the sanctions ineffective. For example, the United States lacks the power to compel a nation as powerful and regionally integrated such as Russia’s. We are all aware that Russia has expansive trade associations with other regions such as the European Union. Additionally, despite the first designations as well as the development of Sectoral Sanctions Identification list, the Russian economy continues to perform better compared to expected global benchmarks. This is despite the fact that the Sectoral Sanctions Identification List was meant to place restrictions on dealing with several Russian entities. Furthermore, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicts that Russia will continue to experience positive growth in 2020 as was witnessed in 2019 (Bhatiya). Therefore, Russia will continue to be competitive in the global arena since the sanctions we have issued on the country are weak and can do little to shake Russia’s strong economic environment.
Secondly, as the United States exerted more effort to push back against China, we adequately created a positive breeding ground where a politicized domestic discourse addressing the implementation of coercive economic measures emerged. Moreover, as a department we have always under the fear that President Donald Trump would weaken the already-existing sanctions against Russia. Therefore, we commend Congress for implementing measures that tied the President’s hand such that it now requires the approval of Congress for any sanctions issued against Russia was to be changed. Unfortunately, we can state that Congress has only successfully lifted a single Sanction that had been issued to Russian oligarch companies such as Oleg Deripaska. After extensive research I can report that one of the factors that have posed a challenge to lifting or imposing sanctions against Russia is that Congress members do not agree on the same. As such, as a country we have allowed Russia to continue experience positive growth in the foreseeable future unless key changes are made to the Sanctions Act.
Consequentially, I can report that the United States is embroiled in an unenviable battle in its attempt to remove another super power from foreign land. Russia continues to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship with other super powers; thus, the continued positive economic growth despite our sanctions. On the other hand, America is tied in the extent to which we can implement the sanctions without straining the bilateral relationships we share with other super powers. In the meantime, Russia continues to illegally occupy foreign land due to the ineffectiveness of the sanctions. Washington is left with no option but the hope that one day Russia will change its decision to occupy Crimea when the negative effects of the sanctions become effective.
We can all agree that United States should apply sanctions to deter any nation, especially Russia, from interfering with our elections. Elections should be independent and depict the true wishes of the American people. However, the department of Bureau and Security has observed that sanctions previously issued to countries such as Russia have proven to be ineffective and inefficient in their mandate. Therefore, we need to make extensive changes to the sanctions that we will issue during this election period so as to achieve different results. I would like to point out that Congress is charged with the responsibility of coming up with sanctions that would deter malign activities. Historically, majority of America’s move towards Russia’s punitive moves have been retaliating. For example, Russia faced the consequences of their alleged interference during the 2016 elections (Blanc and Weiss). However, we can clearly see that the consequences were not as severe as they were intended to be. Therefore, sanctions and measures we choose to implement during this election period should be aimed at deterring Russia from interfering with the election.
Furthermore, the sanctions we issue against Russia have extensively been ineffective and inefficient since Russia continues to enjoy friendly relations with other powerful nations such as the United Kingdom and the Arabic nations. Therefore, to have more effective and efficient consequences of the sanctions, it would be prudent for the United States to seek the help of other nations in the formulating of the sanctions. For example, United States could conduct a campaign with other nations with other nations that we share friendly relations with aim of convincing them that Russia cannot be allowed to continue undermining the democratic processes of sovereign nations. Moreover, we can motivate other European nations towards cooperating with the United States to handle matters related to Russia and Crimea by offering them better trade arrangements such that the countries will be motivated to abandon the trade deals they share with Russia. Additionally, the United States will effectively communicate that European nations stand to risk their trade arrangements with the United States if they continue supporting Russia in their activities in Crimea. Furthermore, the United States could convince other nations the fact that if Russia as allowed to continue interfering with our election processes, it will only be a matter of time before the country determines and influences the elections of every other nation. Consequentially, it would be in the best interest of other nations to cooperate with the United States to curb the behavior. Cooperation between the United States and other nations where Russia hold any form of interest would be effective since the consequences would land home. Such, sanctions, though not directly issued to Russia are likely to motivate President Putin to live Crimea.
Our due diligence has established that Russia’s hostile cyber activity has not been limited to the United States only. Rather, other nations such as Ukraine, Georgi, Estonia, and Montenegro. However, the attacks have been intended to produce different results. Consequentially, as we have already proposed, one of the most effective and efficient ways of making Russia respect countries’ sovereignty would require nations to work together towards the common goal. We are aware that Russia can only handle a certain level of sanctions before the consequences become too bearable for the country to ignore. Furthermore, the Department of Industry and Security has determined that Russia has cyber attacked fundamental organizations such as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) (European Union Institute for Security Studies). As a result, we rightfully concluded that other such international organizations are not free from the attacks. Therefore, the United States could seek the help of such organizations in issuing and implementing sanctions against Russia. Despite the economic strength and capacity of Russia, it is likely that cooperation between different nations and international organizations could prove effective in having Russia to respect the rights and privileges of other nations.
Conclusively, despite the improved diplomatic ways of solving conflicts that have emerged since the end of World War 11, Russia continues to pose a threat to the sovereignty and democratic process of other nations. For example, Russia continues to occupy Crimea despite several requests and demands from other nations to respect Crimea’s boundaries and exit the country. Unfortunately, the sanctions issued we have issued against the have proven to be unfruitful due to the minimum effect they have on Russia’s economic strength and independence. As such, we propose formulation of sanctions that would have negative effects on Russia’s operations and economy. One of the ways nations can deal with Russia cyber-attacks and electoral interference would be establishment of cooperation avenues where nations come together to come up with sanctions that would have fundamental negative effects on Russia. However, the Bureau of Industry and Security would experience more success if we got sufficient support from relevant stakeholders such as Congress in implementing the aforementioned proposals. One thing that stands out is that sanctions issued directly to Russia might not be effective since the United States is simply one super power threatening another super power. However, the United States could issue sanctions to other nations and bodies that continue to support Russia. Russia can only survive without cooperation from European nations and world organizations for a limited period.