The sanctions the administration is re-imposing in two waves (August and November) on Iran are effectively the same sanctions that were in place in 2013 and led to the JCPOA negotiations. Unlike 2013, the Trump administration does not have the full support of the international community and is not bolstered by several United Nations Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran to generate maximum pressure on Tehran. Instead, the US withdrawal from the JCPOA has caused an ugly split with our European allies who passed a blocking regulation preventing EU companies from complying with US sanctions on Iran and has drawn the ire of the other deal signatories, China and Russia, and key partners – such as Turkey, India, Japan, and South Korea – who went along with US sanctions in 2013.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation has attempted to control the countries in its neighborhood at all cost and punish those countries who resist Moscow’s will. In 2008, the United States and the West did not do enough to deter Russian aggression – this mistake must not be repeated.
Canada has refused so far to revoke its statements of support for Badawi and her brother Raif Badawi, prompting Saudi Arabia to increase its response on August 8. Samar Badawi is known for her advocacy on women’s rights in Saudi Arabia; her brother remains in jail, and his family has been living in exile in Canada after being imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for promoting religious tolerance.
US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the new sanctions were necessary because existing measures had “failed to deter Russia from meddling in the upcoming 2018 elections,” and that these sanctions would be in place “until [Russia] ceases and desists meddling in the US electoral process.”
Nothing brings home the cost of war better than meeting some of its victims. My most searing memory as British Ambassador to Georgia came when I visited a group of Georgian internally displaced persons near the city of Gori, less than fifty miles from Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi. They lived down a long dirt road, far from any schools, shops, medical centers, or places of work. They had little furniture, scant possessions, and few prospects for improving their lot. One elderly woman cried as she told me of her lost family: her husband prematurely dead due to ill health; one son killed in the war; another son killed in a criminal incident in Moscow, where he had moved in search of work. Another family was in despair, because both their children had serious medical issues which were not being treated. Their overall outlook remained bleak – a world removed from the more optimistic mood in Tbilisi, celebrating Georgia’s recently signed Association Agreement with the EU.
The conflict presented a formidable challenge. Georgia was not just another neighbor for Turkey – the two countries had built robust diplomatic and commercial ties since the collapse of the Soviet Union. But Russia, too, had become a leading commercial and political partner for Ankara. Turkish policymakers viewed Russian pushback against the West in the Black Sea as a serious threat and sought to mitigate the conflict.
Rebutting criticism that the United Kingdom’s pending withdrawal from the European Union would weaken Britain’s influence in the world, Williamson said “never underestimate my nation.”
Ten years on, the NATO Summit in Brussels July 11-12 offers the prospect of reversing the shortcomings of Bucharest and restoring momentum to NATO’s Open Door policy.
This piece is part of a two part series on current US-Turkey relations. See the first piece here.Relations between Turkey and the United States may have hit a new low after the US Department of the Treasury sanctioned two Turkish government officials in response to the imprisonment of an American pastor in Turkey on July 31st.
The sanctions were placed on Turkey’s Minister of Justice, Abdulhamit Gül, and the Minister of Interior, Süleyman Soylu, on the basis of the 2016 Global Magnitsky Act and 2012 Magnitsky Act. These acts give the United States government the authority to sanction foreign nationals who abuse human rights or are involved in corrupt practices.