United States starts getting worried about sanctions


Following Biden administration’s hurriedly imposed sanctions on Russia and several Russian nationals following Moscow’s special operation in Ukraine, authorities in the United States now are showing signs of great headache, as those sanctions are putting tremendous negative impact of the US economy as well as economy in the world, as a result Joe Biden is has already become one of the most unpopular presidents in the history of US thus killing his prospect of rerunning in 2024.

According to media reports, the Department of Treasury is on the process of creating a new office to study the “unintended consequences” of sanctions – something its critics argue should have been done much before imposing such sanctions.

The Department of Treasury is advertising for a “chief sanctions economist” whose job will be to advise Treasury on everything from monetary policy to exchange rates to “energy, multilateral and bilateral assistance, official debt and related issues”, according to a job description.

The position has no academic requirements beyond a bachelor’s degree. Consideration also will be given to applicants with advanced degrees, though not necessarily in economics. A Top Secret security clearance will be required to deal with sensitive programs under the purview of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Treasury agency that oversees sanctions. The job comes with a starting salary of US$150,000

That ‘Chief Sanctions Economist’ will head the newly created Sanctions Economic Analysis Unit, which will also hire two staff-level economists.

“This new, permanent home for sanctions analysis will allow us to be more effective in current and future programs”, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement. He said the office will help uncover “potential collateral effects and spillovers”.

According to credible sources, it is part of the Biden administration’s push to limit the unintended consequences of economic sanctions given their increased use and growing complexity. Sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine war – the first time the US has imposed such sweeping measures on a Group of 20 economy – compounded those headaches.

It’s born of the Biden administration’s review of economic sanctions last year. That review found that the US has recorded a 933 percent increase in sanctions in the decades since the September 11 attacks, and that number only continues to grow as the US piles sanctions on Russia in a bid to give Kiev a dominance in the ongoing war in Ukraine.

US Capitol Hill source said, successive US administrations have turned to sanctions as a policy of first resort as the public appetite for military intervention waned. Sanctions have been used to combat drug traffickers, punish North Korea over its nuclear program, crack down on human rights abuses and deny Russian President Vladimir Putin money he needs to fund the Ukraine war.

It may be mentioned here that, Russia surges past Iran to become world’s most-sanctioned nation following the Ukraine war. As a result, sanctions have grown ever more complex as their targets have grown larger and more sophisticated. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control now administers at least 37 individual sanctions programs, with some 12,000 individuals and entities designated as sanctioned.

One of the sanctions economist’s job will be to avoid major economic shocks like the one that beset the global aluminum market in 2018 after the US sanctioned companies linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, including United Co. Rusal International PJSC. The sanctions on Rusal were lifted a year later.

Critics have said that sanctions programs are overused, difficult to manage and almost impossible to remove once put in place. Licenses are hard to obtain and, as a result, private companies simply stay away from any jurisdiction where there’s a whiff of sanctions risk, even in some cases where US policy demands a form of private sector engagement, such as on humanitarian or other grounds. Treasury officials say the chief economist’s work will help ease some of those concerns.

Sanctions start backfiring

For the US, once though sanctions were considered as one of the most vital tool in punishing its targets, under the current global scenarios, where America is gradually losing its economic dominance which is added with series of internal problems – sanctions have started backfiring as these are hurting Americans and those sanction imposing nations – in some cases even harder than the sanctioned nations.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here