USA*Engage Statement on Executive Order Broadening Sanctions Against Ukraine

Friday, 21 March 2014
Washington, DC – Today, USA*Engage released the following statement regarding the March 20th Executive Order, which proposes additional, broader sanctions against Ukraine.

“USA*Engage appreciates the diplomacy that President Obama has shown regarding Russia’s actions in Ukraine to date. The challenge going forward is strategic and the risks of miscalculation for all involved are grave.

“U.S. commercial investment across sectors in Russia is substantial, dwarfed only by the commercial interdependence between the EU and Russia. The application of economic sanctions as an immediate response tool is well rooted in both the U.S. Executive branch and Congress. The actual sanctions have been targeted, but the potential sanctions contemplated in the most recent Executive Order would do real damage to U.S. companies with no predictable result regarding Russian responses. At least, however, the President’s orders remove any warrant for Congress to legislate sanctions, which would ipso facto foreclose diplomatic adaptability.

“The strategic nature of Russia’s relations with its neighbors and the rest of the world, the history that informs those relations and the state of Russia’s internal governance argue for response and resolve on the part of the United States, the EU and NATO that may take months, indeed years to realize.

“In any case, before sanctions are broadened into veritable financial warfare, USA*Engage believes that U.S. decision-makers should fully understand the costs thereof and act only in full concert with the EU and other allies.”