In his dialogue with Strategic Council Online, Seyed Reza Mir-Taher, pointed out that the enforcement of bilateral sanctions by Russia and the US, and increasing tensions between the two, said that as it was expected the trend of tensions in relations between the two countries have increased ever-since Joe Biden took office as the President of the United States of America. As we have witnessed, the US has challenged Russia in different spheres. The relation between the two powers is now experiencing the worst post-cold war era.
He added:” In view of the re-integration between the US and Europe which was reducing during Trump administration, Biden makes a political effort to bring the Europeans back to the track in order to confront Russia and thus increase his political pressures under different pretexts. He imposed various sanctions against Russia claiming that the Country interfered in the US elections. In the meantime, European countries, especially eastern European ones along with the UK have joined the campaign and we are now facing a kind of diplomatic war.
The expert has mentioned economic confrontation especially in the energy field and major gas dispute of the European market as another battlefield opened by the US against Russia. He added:“ the most important symbol of this confrontation is the constant effort made by the US to impose different sanctions against Nord-stream II gas pipeline, as $11 billion project which is seen by the US as a withdrawal to govern the European gas market.
Mir-Taher said: “Despite all pressures and tensions Russian had with Europe since 2014, she still has more than 30% of the gas market of Europe at her disposal. The figure will increase once the Nord-Stream II is operational. Since the US is unable to compete with cheap Russian price, it has to make trouble for Russia as much as possible. 95% of the project has been completed so far. In line with this, the US has recently boycotted 3 maritime foundations as well as 13 Russian vessels in the latest effort.
US sanction war policy against Russia
Mir-Taher called Ukraine crisis as the major problem between Washington and Moscow, pointing out the numerous sanctions of the US and Europe against Russia under such pretext, added that the US has principally started a sanction war against Russia and the first excuse to impose sanction against Russia was her interference in the US elections as well as major cyber-attack which brought bad results. The US claims that Russian hackers were behind it.
Mir-Taher pointed out the extensive expulsion of Russian diplomats and the sanctions imposed upon Russia under the pretext and also the reciprocal reaction of Moscow to the measure and added: “the new issue which has happened during Biden administration, is the extensive psychologic and publicity warfare launched by the US against Russia, the example of which is the unprecedented remarks of Biden about Putin. Having used undiplomatic and impolite terms against Putin, Biden addressed him as a “murderer” and “soul-less” that represents Biden’s disgust with him.
Mir-Taher said:” Under such circumstance and despite the meeting already coordinated and is going to take place between Biden and Putin, it can be foreseen that the Americans would like to give a warning to the Russian side about her measures, and put stress that they would not tolerate such measures.
Increasing trend of tensions between the US and Russia
Having pointed out the spiraling tensions in different fields and disputes between Washington and Moscow, the expert stressed that: “One should not expect an upsurge of cooperation during Biden’s administration. Instead, it can be expected that the tensions will take a spiraling form and even will enter into unpredictable areas.
Mir-Taher mentioned the US efforts to impose various sanctions against Russia. In the meantime, the US will make Russia to increase its military budget aiming at further influencing their economy. He added that senior Russian officials have said time and again that they would not be entrapped in the same major arms race that the US put forward during the Soviets. Therefore, they seem not to take counter-measures against the US. Instead, they have concentrated their efforts to maintain strategic balance between the two countries and to be able to exert mutual strike.
He stressed:” The most important leverage of the US to weaken the Russian economy could be seen in two areas. First, to control Russian economic capabilities, the most important symbol of which is to make effort to curb an increase in Russian gas export. Second, enforcement of CAATSA, Countering American’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, which was signed by Trump, based on which any kind of military, economic and arms cooperation with Russia is banned. Now, the US, substantiating the Act, is applying severe restrictions against Russian and other countries that cooperate with her.
Looking towards the East, aiming at neutralizing the Western sanctions
Having stated that the purpose of the US measures is further weakening the Russian Economy, the expert further elaborated on the results of the US sanctions against Moscow and added that:” Russia, however, has adopted a Looking towards East Policy since 2014 and is seriously looking forward to increasing her relations, especially with East Asia, the most important example of which is to maximize her relations with China to the highest level. Along with China, Russia casts her eyes on Japan, India and South Korea. In the meantime, she pays attention to rich and important countries of West Asia and intends to expand her relations like Turkey.
Mir-Taher stated that Russia is concentrating on the expansion of her relations with Africa, especially Sub-Sahara as well as Latin America. He continued:” All these measures taken by Russia show that they intend to open new windows of opportunity to their economy in other parts of the world and thus to confront the severe economic war of the US aiming at weakening their economy.
In the meantime, he said:” The US pressures and sanctions will certainly leave their negative effects especially at European level, but now China and Russia are adopting an approach of reducing their dependence on or even quitting the US dollar from their trade exchanges to confront the US sanction regime. Russians are making effort to divert their trade and economic relations from the EU, as their first trade partner in the past, to countries of non-Western block in order to minimize the destructive impacts of the US and European sanctions.