Experts see no quick solutions to US sanctions

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/8/21 8:01:57

With the United States recklessly wielding its sanctions on a number of countries of late, Russia has quickly responded by strengthening cooperation with other nations such as Iran and Turkey.

Though the active interactions enable Moscow to establish closer ties externally, no major changes can be expected until fundamental problems are resolved, Russian experts said.

ECONOMIC BLOWS

The United States has lately gone further in its aggressiveness and slapped economic sanctions -- once after the next -- on several countries.

On Aug. 7, the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran that it lifted just two years ago.

On Aug. 8, Washington declared to take punitive measures against Russia that will affect almost all Russian state companies.

On Aug. 10, it announced the decision to double the tariffs on steel and aluminum products from Turkey.

"Sanctions - not only against Russia - are becoming one of the main instruments of the US foreign policy," Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council Andrey Kortunov said.

The heavy punches have immediately brought about chaos in these economies. Russia's ruble has plunged to its weakest since mid-2016 and Turkey's lira lost 25 percent of its value in just one week.

The global economy is also taking a serious hit, with a universal depreciation in the currencies of emerging economies and fluctuations in the stock markets of developed countries, all in a chain reaction.

"The measures are sensitive, because they are aimed at reducing the incomes of national economies. This is painful for any country," said Azhdar Kurtov, editor-in-chief of the National Strategic Issues journal published by the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies.

Kurtov said the United States is trying to use economic means to force others to yield and follow its lead.

CLOSER NEIGHBORS

Common challenges make alignment possible, and Russia has been in closer-than-ever touch with its neighbors in the past few days.

Right after the sanctions on Iran were announced, Moscow declared to consolidate its economic cooperation with Teheran and reiterated its determination to preserve and implement the landmark Iran nuclear deal, which was abandoned by Washington in May.

During the visit to Ankara on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Turkey and Russia would take steps to enhance their strategic partnership and continue talks for cooperation on Syria. Moreover, the two sides are reportedly discussing the scenario of settlements in their national currencies.

In addition, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan have signed a new convention lately for collective use of the Caspian Sea.

"Cooperation allows countries to act more efficiently and find productive solutions," Kurtov told Xinhua.

He noted that the pressure of US sanctions will also be reflected across regional organizations in which these countries are included and therefore other members will "be forced to coordinate their actions" to cope with the sanctions as well.

Furthermore, the international community may also question the global status of the US and seek more a pluralistic trade system if Washington continues to violate international law and harm the interests of others, he said.

"It will not happen quickly, but the US is gradually losing its dominant position," Kurtov said.

NO QUICK SOLUTIONS

Despite closer ties with other countries, Russia for the moment still has limited bargaining chips on the matter of the US sanctions.

Imbalanced trade between the United States and Russia has made retaliation from Moscow less intimidating to Washington.

Experts say Russia is currently much more dependent on the West economically than the other way round.

Russia should move to manage multiple risks and survive in an environment of extremely severe pressure, said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs magazine.

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