Thursday, July 31, 2014

Recent History Suggests Tougher Russia Sanctions Are Needed

Past Experience With Iran, Others Suggest Pressure May Need to Be Significantly Stepped Up

By Jay Solomon in Washington and Marcus Walker in Berlin, WSJ
Updated July 30, 2014 7:47 p.m. ET

The U.S. and Europe made good this week on their threats to start penalizing broader sections of Russia's economy in a bid to force President Vladimir Putin to end his support for separatist rebels in Ukraine.

But recent history of the use of financial sanctions by Washington and Brussels—including against Iran, North Korea and Syria—suggests that significantly more pervasive penalties, particularly against Moscow's energy sector, would be needed to change the Kremlin's calculations, said current and former U.S. officials and sanctions experts.

Even then, it is uncertain whether Mr. Putin values Russia's economy more than his influence over Ukraine.

The Obama administration has viewed the ongoing financial squeeze on Iran as a model: The country's oil exports have been cut in half over the past three years and its banks largely hived off from the global financial system. This prompted Tehran, the White House argues, to engage for the first time in serious negotiations aimed at capping its nuclear program.

(More here.)

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