On Thursday, February 24, 2022, the United States, in conjunction with G7 and EU allies, imposed a second round of sanctions against the Russian Federation. In a presidential address on Thursday, US President Joe Biden announced that the new sanctions are designed to “impose severe costs on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time,” and “to maximize the long term impact on Russia.” The Russian Federation was already under previously imposed sanctions by the EU and the US.
The results of this new round of sanctions will be devastating for the Russian people and their economy and will disproportionately harm the working class and vulnerable poor people. The impact has already been felt with severe currency depreciation wiping out almost $200 billion in stock-market value and roughly a third of the country’s sovereign debt value.
The Committee of Anti-Imperialists in Solidarity with Iran (CASI) opposes all sanctions and other economic coercive measures by the US and its allies. Presently, the United States, with the support of the United Nations and European Union, has imposed sanctions on over 30 percent of the global population, mostly located in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Sanctions are one of the key tools of U.S. imperialism and are designed to discipline and undermine Global South sovereignty, leading to the mass starvation and suffering of peoples, while opening up markets to U.S. and European corporations and securing financial dominance. These latest sanctions on the Russian Federation are an expansion of policies designed to secure the US as head of a unipolar world order, where mass immiseration by violence and sanction are its only recourse.
The US called Russia’s recent military action in Ukraine “unprovoked” and “premeditated”, but this could not be further from the truth. The US and NATO have been applying economic and military pressure on Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since 1999, NATO has absorbed fourteen Eastern European countries, including Estonia and Latvia, which share borders with Russia. The imperialist forces supported the illegitimate coup in 2014 against Viktor Yanukovych, who had positioned Ukraine, which shares a 1,200-mile border with Russia, as a neutral country. NATO’s eastward expansion has enabled a hostile military alliance to blanket the region with missiles positioned to reach targets in Russia within ten minutes. The US has never abandoned its provocative posture, while the Russian government’s appeals to address its security concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
During his time in office, Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) and Open Skies Treaties, two agreements aimed at limiting U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons deployments and securing a lasting peace among signatory parties. Under Biden, the US has continued to push for the expansion of NATO. With the help of Israel, the US has armed, trained, and funded the Ukrainian military, including its Neo-Nazi and Far Right elements, as it has prosecuted an eight year war on the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. It has actively sought to undermine Russian economic development and relations with EU nations such as the Nordstream 2 pipeline project with Germany.
While the US condemns military aggression by the Russian Federation, it continues its occupation and regime of sanctions targeting Syria and Lebanon, and it has tightened sanctions it imposed on Iran, Venezuela and Cuba. Its ally, Israel, conducts airstrikes near Damascus and continues expanding its settler colonial occupation of Palestine and other Arab land by demolishing homes of the indigenous inhabitants and forcing them into exile without implementing their right to return as enshrined by international law. The US, which is itself a settler colonial state, has a long history of violent intervention and regime change across the global South, most recently in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and continues to aid the brutal and reactionary monarchic war on Yemen. On the day it condemned Russia, the US conducted airstrikes on Somalia using its neo-colonial occupation force, AFRICOM. The US maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries.
CASI condemns all forms of sanctions by the US and its imperialist allies and stands firmly against any form of economic coercive measures which have only brought devastation, starvation, and pain for the people. Sanctions and other economic coercive measures are instruments of imperialist war that target populations for choosing sovereignty over subservience.
Furthermore, CASI condemns the actions that led to this war among neighbors who once peacefully coexisted and resisted Nazism together, sacrificing more than 27 million people during World War II. War is devastating to the working class people of both nations, and compounded with sanctions, the US and NATO actions only seek to bring about mayhem and impoverishment to secure US imperialist interests in that region and the whole globe.
Image credit: Sanctions by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images