Weekly Snapshot

3-9 June 2018

1. Russia fighting back on US sanctions

On May 31st the Russian Federation Council has passed a new bill as a way to fight back against US sanctions. The bill, if signed into law by President Putin, would allow the President of Russia to terminate or suspend the cooperation of Russia, or companies within Russia, with “unfriendly foreign states.” Companies directly or indirectly owned by those foreign states would also be affected, targeting specifically the United States.

The new bill also outlines a ban on imports of products or raw materials to Russia from unfriendly foreign states. Also banning exports of the same products and raw materials to those unfriendly foreign states.

Here is just another action that heightens tensions between the United States and Russia. Instead of adding dialogue and communication between the two this bill only separates these countries even more.

2. New Sanctions on Iran for Human Rights Abuses

On Wednesday the Treasury Department instituted new sanctions targeting several Iranian nationals, and government officials and organizations. These sanctions will bar those persons from the US financial system. Companies or persons who do business with the targeted Iranians may also face sanctions as well.

These sanctions are the latest actions taken against Iran from the new administration. These sanctions are coming in light of Tehran’s recent crackdown on protests against the government.

The sanctions target the leaders of the organization Ansar-e Hezbollah. Coming after the organization violently attacked students with knives, tear gas, and electric batons during an anti-government protest. Ansar-e Hezbollah has also orchestrated acid attacks against women.

Another group being targeted is Iran’s Evin Prison. The prison is known for hosting political prisoners, were torture and abuse is common. These new sanctions are just another way the United States is showing that it is not going to sit by when human rights violations ensue.

3. New Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on the EU, Canada, and Mexico

This week the US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the new tariffs on steel and aluminum. All steel imports from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico will face a 25 percent tariff, while all aluminum from those countries will face a 10 percent tariff.

These tariffs have already prompting retaliatory measures with Mexico responding by imposing tariffs on US imports of pork bellies, grapes, apples and flat steel. It is likely that the EU and Canada will announce new tariffs for the US next week.

4. Poland Seeking Permanent U.S. Military Base

On May 28th the Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak confirmed that they have been in talks with the United States to set up a permanent US military base. Poland is seeking the help of the United States Military to help ensure its safety in light of Russians new aggression.

Poland has proposed paying 2 billion dollars to help fund the base. Those above, along with the United States Military expansions of the past two years may compel President Trump to take the request more seriously.

Putting permanent troops in Poland will surely get the attention of the Russian Federation. With tensions already heightened, this move, while beneficial for the protection of a NATO ally, might make relations even worse between two of the biggest powers in the world.