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14 Feb, 2019 19:19

‘A weapon to protect US dollar power’: Russia sanctions bill likely to pass, analysts say

‘A weapon to protect US dollar power’: Russia sanctions bill likely to pass, analysts say

A fresh bill in the US Congress seeks to impose the “harshest-ever” sanctions against Russia over a number of alleged misdeeds – which fits well with America’s strategy of protecting the dollar-based global financial system.

The bill introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bob Menendez is the second attempt to push through the sanctions they favor after the previous version was defeated last year. The measures they suggest vary from declaring the country a state-sponsor of terrorism to torpedoing Russia-involved energy projects (which incidentally compete with American ones) to punishing whoever dares to invest in Russian sovereign debt.

Also on rt.com US senators re-introduce Russian sanctions 'bill from hell'

If passed, the bill will certainly hurt the Russian economy to some degree, but less so than it would have done a few years ago, believes financier Roberto D’Ambrosio of the Araknos Investment Managers. For one, Russia has built up some resilience in its ongoing confrontation with the West. But more importantly, other global players are increasingly less willing to play along with the American sanctions game, he told RT.

“There is unease on this stance by the US worldwide, not only in Russia. Even Europe has shown some uneasiness towards this kind of action against Russia or countries like Iran. Such actions are reducing the possibility for Europe and other areas of the word to diversify their economies, their trade,” he explained. “It could really backfire.”

He said the US uses sanctions against other nations as part of its strategy to protect the current global financial system, in which the US dollar plays a dominating role – and by extension, the US has much power over the international flows of money.

It’s another weapon – political or economic – that the US can use at the moment because still the bulk of the transactions at the global level are carried out in USD and are cleared through SWIFT and the USD system.

Russia is among the countries pushing for “de-dollarization,” an exclusion of the dollar in domestic and international financial interactions. Part of it is its record accumulation of gold reserves. Another is encouraging its major trade partners like China to use national currencies in bilateral trade.

This particular bill submitted by Graham and Menendez has a chance to pass now due to the domestic political situation in the US, Jim Jatras, a former US diplomat and Republican Party policy adviser, told RT.

“I don’t really know who would oppose it. Senator Rand Paul, maybe Bernie Sanders. Maybe Mike Lee out of constitutional reasons – because it would be infringing on the president’s constitutional authority,” he said. “But I don’t really know anyone who would strongly oppose this bill.”

He also suggested that no one should expect any American sanctions imposed against Russia to be lifted anytime soon.

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