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FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: A New Cold War?

Why New Russia Sanctions Won't Change Moscow's Behavior

Washington's Approach Lacks Clear Goals

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath laying ceremony to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall in Moscow, February 2017.  Sergei Karpuhkin / REUTERS

On October 31, 25 days after the deadline set by Congress, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump finally released guidance about the implementation of new sanctions on Russia. These new measures will add to existing sanctions on Russian businesses and individuals dating back to the 2014 seizure of Crimea. Unfortunately, the previous restrictions have been only mildly successful in their economic impact and have produced no substantive policy changes from Moscow. It is unlikely that the new penalties will prove any different. Their central contribution is to tie Trump’s hands, preventing the president from removing many of the sanctions against Russia without congressional approval. In many ways, the legislation is merely a reflection of the broader problems with formulating any coherent U.S. policy toward Russia: confrontation remains the path of least resistance, policy is focused as much on domestic political needs as on foreign policy needs, and sanctions offer

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