US sanctions

Trump has in the last few months introduced various tariff increases and sanctions against multiple nations. This article looks at these sanctions and tariff increases.

First if we look at sanctions against Turkey. Turkey is a Nato ally and has the largest military in the Nato. In addition, Turkey hosts the one of the biggest Nato air bases at Incirlik. Incirlik airbase plays a major role in Iraq war and Syrian war. In addition Incirlik is used to monitor Southern Russia. Turkey has over the decades have been a loyal ally of US and participated in every US operation in Middle east.

However, over the last decade Turkey has distanced itself from US after the election of Muslim brother hood (MB) government. Previous MB governments were overthrown by Turkish military supported by US. This time MB government led by Erdogan has consolidated it's hold on the country . It has also thwarted a military coup indirectly supported by US. It wants the ring leader of the coup to be repatriated from US. It has also arrested a born again christian from US on charges of participating in the coup attempt. Erdogan also wants to project himself as the leader of Sunni Muslim world . Turkey has supported MB throughout the Muslim and Arab world. It also sent troops to Qatar to deter Saudi- Emirati invasion. It has also supported MB movements during the Arab spring. It was a failure in Egypt after military overthrow MB government. It continues to support MB in Syria in various forms including Al-Qaeda groups. Turkey has been trying to suppress Kurds for decades in Turkey. It considers Kurdish movement in Syria as a hostile movement. However, US is backing and training Syrian Kurds to fight against ISIS. Turkey has also built good relationship with Russia. US also wants Turkey to apply US sanctions against Iran.

In a nutshell , Turkey and US has been on divergent paths for a decade. Turkey is no longer a pliant ally of US. This has led to the inevitable conflict between US and Turkey. Immediate spark is the detention of US born again christian. Born again Christians form a critical component of Trump's support base in US especially in light of coming congressional elections. Trump has applied tariff increases on Turkish steel exports. In addition, currency speculation has led to the weakening of Turkish currency lira . Erdogan has accused US of waging economic war against Turkey. If Turkey does not release the US citizen , economic is expected to escalate. US may even have the intention of destabilizing Turkish economy to provoke another coup. Erdogan has removed thousands of military officers after the last coup attempt. Any coup attempt will be messy due to Russian and Iranian backing of Turkish government. Russia is deploying it's most advanced air defense systems S400 in Turkey in 2019. This is the first deployment of S400 outside Russia's allies such as China and Syria. US has expressed it's deep concern regarding deployment of S400 in the territory of a Nato member. In addition payments will be done in local currencies instead of US dollars.

Second , US has applied sanctions against Iran and Russia.

If we take Iran, Iranian government has been in confrontation with US since the Islamic revolution in 1980. Before that Iran under Shah was the US appointed policeman in middle east. Iran protected vital US oil and gas interests in middle east. Since the revolution, Iran has supporting anti US governments and movements in middle east. US has tried in many instances to overthrow the Islamic government and failed. It even supported Saddam Hussein to wage a ware against Iran and failed. It had sanctions against Islamic government. Iran has been supporting Syrian government against the rebels backed by US. In addition Iran has strong ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon . Hezbollah fought against Israeli invasion.

US has followed a policy of isolating Iran until the emergence of ISIL as a major factor in Iraq and Syria in 2015. US then reversed its policy on Iran by lifting sanctions under the cover of controlling nuclear proliferation. US needed Iranian support to fight ISIS in Iraq and protect US imposed Iraqi government. It has put the regime change efforts in the back burner and cooperated with Iran against a common enemy in ISIS. US strategy has been then changed to cooperating with Iran to defeat ISIS and then reverting back to sanctions to effect regime change. Now that ISIS is defeated, reimposing of the sanctions should not have come as a surprise to anybody. It would have been done by any US president whether it is Trump or Hilary or even Obama.

Similar logic applies to Russia. US wants Russia only as a minor power doing it's bidding. However, under Putin, Russia has rebuilt it's military strength to the days of Soviet Union. In addition has taken military action to protect it's strategic interests in Crimea and Syria. US needed Russia's support in fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. However, now that ISIS is defeated , US wants to cut down Russia to size. US cannot militarily defeat Russia or effect a regime change. Only approach is to use US's financial power to destabilize Russia through sanctions. It has been US strategy all along irrespective of democrat or republican leadership. Election hacking is one of the reasons used to justify sanctions.

21 August 2018