Are US Sanctions the Solution?

The aggression perceived by Russia and its consequential massive military training and preparedness appears to be based on a less than pleasant relationship with the US. An example of this is the recent interceptions of US bombers that were followed by massive assignment of the Navy in the Baltic region. One would therefore wonder whether the withdrawal of the US military from the Baltic region would in any way ease the escalating tension and possible cold war.

It has been suggested that this withdrawal was as a result of instructions by top officials of the US administration, giving the suggestion that there is a need for the adoption of an alternative strategy in guarding the interests of the US. An alternative is the withdrawal of the sanctions against Russia. Although these sanctions have been blamed for the rising tension, it appears that they might be the solution to the increased aggression by Russia.

The argument for increased sanctions seems to be gaining ground as the recent days, Russian oligarchs have been reportedly withdrawing their support from Vladimir Putin, with some even liquidating their assets and having changed schedules. It is possible that such fear may significantly reduce the capabilities of Russia and especially as it pertains to the much-needed resources to carry out successful operations in the Baltic region.

Sanctions are basically issues as a way of enabling behaviour change. Therefore, in the situation where they instill enough fear to institute behaviour change, this strategy has even higher chances of success. However, it is also possible that issues such as this would have short term impacts, especially of behaviour change is driven primarily by fear. Therefore, although it is already happening, it is a ‘wait and see’ scenario. Also, it is possible that those in fear and who are quickly making changes may not be those that are targeted by the sanctions.