US sanc­tions to hurt for­eign pol­icy goals

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON: Eco­nomic sanc­tions im­posed by the US over the past week against Iran, Rus­sia and Turkey will un­der­mine US for­eign pol­icy goals, ex­perts have warned.

The US gov­ern­ment an­nounced it would re-im­pose sanc­tions on Iran, ban ex­ports of na­tional se­cu­rity sen­si­tive goods and tech­nolo­gies to Rus­sia, and double the rate of tar­iffs on steel and alu­minium im­ports from Turkey.

Speak­ing of the rea­sons be­hind the US gov­ern­ment’s pick­ing of steel and alu­minium prod­ucts from Turkey, David Pol­lock – a se­nior fel­low at the Wash­ing­ton In­sti­tute for NearEast Pol­icy – said that it was “partly in line with the over­all sanc­tions ef­fort… the trade war so to speak”.

“It ap­peals to US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s po­lit­i­cal base, and its part of his eco­nomic ide­ol­ogy or vi­sion to try to re­store tra­di­tional man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors,” he said.

How­ever, Dan Ma­haf­fee, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent and di­rec­tor of pol­icy at the Cen­tre for the Study of the Pres­i­dency and Congress, said that “sec­tion 232 gave the pres­i­dent a wide lat­i­tude to jus­tify trade ac­tion un­der na­tional se­cu­rity pur­poses, though in this way it was be­ing em­ployed more in a puni­tive sense rather than pro­tect­ing a US in­dus­try for the sake of na­tional se­cu­rity”.

The Wash­ing­ton Post said the steel and alu­minium tar­iffs orig­i­nally had noth­ing to do with the treat­ment of pas­tor Andrew Brun­son, who is be­ing de­tained by Turkey.

“They are tied to the trade fight that Trump launched ear­lier this year with a num­ber of coun­tries, in­clud­ing Turkey,” it said. “The Turk­ish cur­rency has steadily weak­ened in re­cent months, re­mov­ing some of the bite of the tar­iffs by mak­ing Turk­ish goods cheaper for US con­sumers. One way to ad­dress that, as Trump sig­nalled on Fri­day, is to double the tar­iff rate.”

The New York Times said “Trump’s de­ci­sion… spooked mar­kets and raised the pos­si­bil­ity that he could sim­i­larly in­crease tar­iff rates on other trad­ing part­ners that have seen their cur­ren­cies fall against the strength­en­ing dol­lar.”

More­over, Eswar Prasad, an econ­o­mist at Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity, was quoted as say­ing that the use of tar­iffs in the tense diplo­matic sce­nario set “a wor­ry­ing prece­dent for fu­ture trade sanc­tions that could be trig­gered by purely mar­ket-driven changes in ex­change rates”.

Ed­ward Price, the spe­cial as­sis­tant of for­mer US pres­i­dent Barack Obama, tweeted that US con­sumers would pay for Wash­ing­ton’s sanc­tions against a North At­lantic Treaty Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Nato) ally and vi­tal counter-Is­lamic State part­ner, and these steps would not help se­cure Brun­son’s re­lease.

In re­sponse to the US sanc­tions and other eco­nomic pres­sure on his na­tion over the case of Brun­son, who faces ter­ror­ism charges and up to 35 years in prison if found guilty, Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan on Fri­day char­ac­terised them as an “eco­nomic war”.

“We are not go­ing to lose” in the process, Er­do­gan said.

Rus­sian Prime Min­is­ter Dmitry Medvedev said on Fri­day that Moscow con­sid­ers Wash­ing­ton’s sanc­tions as a dec­la­ra­tion of eco­nomic war, vow­ing to “re­spond to it – eco­nom­i­cally, po­lit­i­cally or in any other way, if need be”.

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