While US President Joe Biden reiterated the need for additional sanctions on Russia in a speech in Poland on Tuesday, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo was a little more specific in a speech he delivered at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on the same day.
Attributing the reports that Russia has had to turn to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran to resupply its military with drones and surface-to-surface missiles to the effectiveness of the US-led sanctions, Adeyemo said that the United States plans to announce additional sanctions this week targeting Russia’s military manufacturing industry.
“While we have far more to do, we are succeeding in reversing the course of Russia’s budget and undercutting its military-industrial complex,” said Adeyemo, pledging that the additional sanctions will focus on cracking down on sanctions evasion and putting economic pressure on countries and corporations that continue to do business with Russia.
Over 30 countries have imposed price caps on Russian energy exports, instituted export controls, frozen Russian funds and restricted its access to SWIFT, a global financial transaction system.
However, the sanctions are being imposed without the United Nations’ authorization and have no legitimacy in international laws. The great lengths the US is going to in its efforts to claim the moral high ground by portraying the sanctions as actions for democracy indicate how desperate it is to cover up the nature of the sanctions, which are simply geopolitical weapons wielded by Washington in a bid to bleed Russia’s economy in world trade and Russian military on the battlefields in Ukraine.
Although those following the US’ lead in imposing sanctions represent more than half the world’s economy combined, they only account for about one-sixth of the number of countries and regions in the world and they are mostly developed economies. In weaponizing trade, technology and finance with the sanctions, the US has formed a gang at the top of the global supply, industry and value chains so that it can impose its will on the rest of the world through long-arm jurisdiction and replace the rules of the international order in various sectors with US rules.
Yet Russia’s economy is performing better than expected. This year, its economy is projected to outperform the UK’s, growing 0.3 percent, while the UK faces a 0.6 percent contraction, according to the International Monetary Fund. It is clear that the sanctions bite both ways if not more on those that impose them — an energy shortage has forced some leading European economies, including Germany, to remap the upgrading path of their industries.
The IMF reported last month that Russia’s economy would contract by just 2.2 percent in 2022, far less than the 8.5 percent envisaged by the West in March 2022 when it started imposing large-scale sanctions on the country. The report also projects that business activity in Russia will grow by 0.3 percent in 2023 and 2.1 percent in 2024, directly outpacing the 1.6 percent projected for the eurozone.
Now is the time for the world to ask for how long will it continue to tolerate, if not pay for, the US continuing to manipulate the international rules through illegal sanctions under a noble disguise for its own hegemony.