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Cooperation between the United States and the European Union to implement restrictive sanctions on Russia and Iran represents one of the greatest achievements of the transatlantic partnership. Without the sanctions on Russia, Putin would likely have been tempted to exploit Russia’s military advantage even farther. Declining oil prices certainly contributed to weakening the Russian economy during 2014–2016, but sanctions had a major impact. In light of diverging economic exposures and historic ties to Russia, it is remarkable that transatlantic unity held firm. Neither the US nor EU acting alone could have crafted sanctions that were equally effective. Similarly, US-EU cooperation on Iranian sanctions was instrumental in bringing Teheran to the negotiating table to limit its nuclear ambitions. The US can inflict short-term serious pain on Iran (and other countries) on its own through unilateral sanctions, but only at the cost of transatlantic disunity and the long-term ineffectiveness of these sanctions.
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Remarks at the John F. Kennedy Forum, October 3, 2014. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/03/remarks-vice-president-john-f-kennedy-forum.
Remarks by President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy Following the US-EU Summit, March 26, 2014. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/23895/141919.pdf.
Sam Jones and Courtney Weaver, “Alarm Bells Ring over Syriza’s Russian Links,” Financial Times, January 28, 2015. https://www.ft.com/content/a87747de-a713-11e4-b6bd-00144feab7de.
Andrew Higgins, “Waving Cash, Putin Sows EU Divisions in an Effort to Break Sanctions,” The New York Times, April 6, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/07/world/europe/using-cash-and-charm-putin-targets-europes-weakest-links.html.
Gergely Szakacs, “Europe ‘Shot Itself in Foot’ with Russia Sanctions: Hungary PM,” Reuters, August 15, 2014. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-sanctions-hungary/europe-shot-itself-in-foot-with-russia-sanctions-hungary-pm-idUSKBN0GF0ES20140815.
“Russia’s and the EU’s Sanctions: Economic and Trade Effects, Compliance and the Way Forward,” European Parliament Research Service, 2017. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2017/603847/EXPO_STU(2017)603847_EN.pdf.
Bret Stephens, “From Munich to Munich,” The Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2015.
Dan Roberts, “Ukrainian President Makes Emotional Plea to Congress for Greater Military Aid,” The Guardian, September 18, 2014.
Andries Sytas, “EU’s Juncker Dangles Trade Ties with Russia-Led Bloc to Putin,” Reuters, November 12, 2015.
Peter Baker, “Sanctions Revive Search for Secret Putin Fortune,” The New York Times, April 27, 2014.
Andrew Roth, “Putin Tells European Official That He Could ‘Take Kiev in Two Weeks’,” The New York Times, September 2, 2014. Tom Parfitt, “Vladimir Putin Says There Was Nothing Wrong with Soviet Union’s Pact with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany,” Telegraph, November 6, 2014. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/11213255/Vladimir-Putin-says-there-was-nothing-wrong-with-Soviet-Unions-pact-with-Adolf-Hitlers-Nazi-Germany.html.
Jack Ewing and Peter Baker, “US and Europe Set to Toughen Russia Sanctions,” The New York Times, July 28, 2014.
According to a European Commission assessment, Russian state-owned financial institutions raised $16.4 billion through IPOs in EU markets between 2004 and 2012, and in 2013 alone raised €7.5 billion in bonds.
Daniel Ahn and Rodney Ludema, “Measuring Smartness: Understanding the Economic Impact of Targeted Sanctions,” US Department of State Working Paper 2017-01, December 2016. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/267590.pdf.
Greece, Italy, and Spain sourced 30%, 14%, and 12% of their oil imports from Iran, respectively.
Anthony Cordesman, Bryan Gold, and Chloe Coughlin-Schulte, “Iran—Sanctions, Energy, Arms Control, and Regime Change,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, January 2014. https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/publication/140122_Cordesman_IranSanctions_Web.pdf.
According to one of the key architects of the financial sanctions against Iran, “With SWIFT’s messaging format available for free, the system can be replicated outside the system that SWIFT manages. These imitations are not as efficient or secure as SWIFT’s system, but they are workarounds that will no doubt evolve and improve over time.” Juan Zarate, Treasury’s War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare (Public Affairs, 2013).
“Global Banking Is Not an American Fiefdom,” Financial Times, May 18, 2018.
Anthony Luzzatto Gardner
- Chapter 7
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