The White House plans to send a clear message to its European partners in the economic war against Russia, “you are either with us or against us.” Two US Treasury officials will visit European and Central Asian partners next month to demand all sanctions on Russia be implemented.
Treasury officials Liz Rosenberg and Brian Nelson will meet with leaders of financial institutions in Switzerland, Italy and Germany. The AP reports the officials will have a simple message, “1. Continue to provide Moscow with material support or 2. Keep doing business with countries that represent 50 percent of the global economy.”
Rosenberg and Nelson will provide their European counterparts with intelligence on alleged sanctions evaders. If those countries fail to crack down on those still doing business with Russia, then Washington is threatening to issue “penalties.” It is unclear how far the Joe Biden administration is willing to punish NATO allies for violating sanctions.
The policy echoes President George W. Bush’s doctrine that countries must either actively align with Washington in its Middle East wars, or else be judged as working “with the terrorists.”
It is unclear how Europe will respond to the Joe Biden administration’s threats. Some EU members were in favor of a plan that would lift sanctions on the Belarusian fertilizer industry.
Additionally, stricter sanctions implementation could threaten the Black Sea grain export agreement. The deal, brokered by Turkey and the UN, allows Ukraine’s heavily mined Black Sea ports to export agricultural products. Moscow has been willing to extend the agreement several times but is threatening to terminate it over Western sanctions preventing Russia from reaping the agreement’s benefits.
After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, the White House unleashed a series of sanctions that it considered an economic nuclear weapon. However, the attempt to isolate Moscow’s economy has largely floundered. While the Russian ruble has dipped in recent days, throughout most of the war Moscow has weathered the sanctions by increasing trade with Asia.
Washington has only rallied its NATO allies and other close partners to adopt the sanctions. Meanwhile, China has added more countries to its Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and Saudi Arabia and Turkey are two of the latest prospective members.
Upon becoming a member of the SCO, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi observed that the more countries the US sanctions, the more these targeted nations may cooperate as trading partners. “The relationship between countries that are sanctioned by the US, such as Iran, Russia or other countries, can overcome many problems and issues and make them stronger,” he said. “The Americans think whichever country they impose sanctions on, it will be stopped, their perception is a wrong one.”
This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.