October 3, 2022 | FDD Tracker: September 1, 2022-October 3, 2022

Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker: October

October 3, 2022 | FDD Tracker: September 1, 2022-October 3, 2022

Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker: October

Trend Overview

Edited by David Adesnik and John Hardie

Welcome back to the Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker. Once a month, we ask FDD’s experts and scholars to assess the administration’s foreign policy. They provide trendlines of very positive, positive, neutral, negative, or very negative for the areas they watch.

Iran has erupted in protest after morality police inflicted fatal injuries on 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her arrest for alleged violation of dress code laws. At the United Nations, President Joe Biden said he stands with “the brave women of Iran,” yet his administration continues to pursue a nuclear deal that would offer hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief to the clerical regime in Tehran. Neither the regime’s deceptive response to Amini’s death nor Tehran’s stonewalling of nuclear inspectors seems to have led the White House to the realization that trusting the clerical regime only increases instability and oppression.

By contrast, the administration is siding firmly with the victims of Moscow’s invasion and atrocities. In September, a Ukrainian counteroffensive — enabled in part by U.S. military assistance — stunned both Moscow and foreign observers with its rapid liberation of Russian-held territory. Washington’s support for Kyiv remained steadfast even as Russian President Vladimir Putin has begun to rattle his nuclear saber. Regarding China, Biden’s impulse is apparently to guarantee the security of Taiwan amid Beijing’s intimidation, yet the White House staff once again walked back his comments in support of Taipei.

Please check back next month to see if the administration has moved toward a more consistent policy of aligning with democratic partners against authoritarian aggression.

Trending Positive

Trending Neutral

Trending Negative

Trending Very Negative


By Craig Singleton

Previous Trend: Negative

After more than two years of self-imposed isolation in China, Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping re-emerged last month in Uzbekistan to attend the Beijing-backed Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. On the meeting’s sidelines, Xi held a much-publicized exchange with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first time the two autocrats have met in person since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. Although Beijing appears to harbor concerns about Putin’s recent battlefield setbacks in Ukraine, Xi appears committed not only to supporting Putin’s revanchist pursuits, but also to the selective deepening of China’s wartime support for Russia, albeit without violating Western sanctions. The enduring Sino-Russian partnership will continue to pose major challenges for the Biden administration. That collaboration extends to growing trade ties and continued semiconductor transfers between the two countries, which could help Putin sustain his war machine while lessening the overall impact of sanctions on Russia’s economy.

Meanwhile, a consistent lack of message discipline has plagued the Biden administration’s China policy rollout. For the fourth time, President Biden appeared to announce changes to Washington’s Taiwan policy, only for administration officials to walk back his comments afterwards. While Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for a “fair” and “level playing field” in U.S.-China technology competition, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan argued for using export controls to maintain “as large a lead as possible” vis-à-vis Beijing. The former implies open competition, the latter technology containment. A public address by Biden could help alleviate such confusion, although there is no indication one is in the works.


By RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery and Annie Fixler

Previous Trend: Positive

In September, the Biden administration continued prioritizing the cybersecurity of federal networks, national cyber resilience, and the development of international cyber norms.

As required by the May 2021 executive order on federal cybersecurity, the Office of Management and Budget issued a directive requiring all departments to purchase commercial software only from producers that adhere to secure development practices. Over time, this will elevate federal cybersecurity.

The Department of Homeland Security announced the launch of a “first-of-its-kind cybersecurity grant program” for state and local governments, as established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The program will provide $1 billion over four years to protect local government systems and strengthen critical infrastructure. The administration also continued its engagement with critical-infrastructure owners and operators by offering classified briefings for stakeholders in the aviation industry, following similar engagement with other transportation subsectors.

President Biden also issued an executive order clarifying the national security considerations that must be part of the foreign-investment review process. These include supply chain resilience, U.S. technological leadership, and cybersecurity.

In the international arena, the rapid confirmation of the first-ever U.S. cyber ambassador paves the way for enhancing cyber-related diplomatic efforts. The administration also successfully whipped votes internationally for its candidate to lead the International Telecommunications Union, a global standards body critical to the future of the internet.

Washington formally blamed Iran for a July cyberattack on NATO-ally Albania, but the administration’s insufficient response undercut norms enforcement. While Washington came to Albania’s aid, the administration’s ongoing nuclear negotiations with Tehran subvert the effectiveness of U.S. attempts to hold Iran accountable.


By Bradley Bowman

Previous Trend: Neutral

September 11 marked the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States that al-Qaeda planned and launched from Afghanistan. Thanks to the Biden administration’s decisions last year, the Taliban once again rule Afghanistan, and al-Qaeda enjoys a safe haven there. President Biden attempted to justify the catastrophic 2021 U.S. military withdrawal by falsely asserting that al-Qaeda was “gone” from Afghanistan. That was not true then, and it is even less true now.

On September 22, American and Israeli naval forces completed a four-day exercise dubbed “Digital Shield” in the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba, focusing on “enhancing maritime awareness using unmanned systems and artificial intelligence in support of vessel boarding operations.” The unmanned surface vessels, or USVs, participating in the exercise can help detect the malign maritime activities of Tehran and its terror proxies. Likely for that reason, Iran attempted to seize American USVs in both the Red Sea and Persian Gulf within the last few weeks.

On the European front, the Pentagon announced on September 28 approximately $1.1 billion in additional security assistance for Kyiv under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, building on two previous aid packages in September. The latest assistance includes a range of weapon systems and capabilities that Kyiv desperately needs. Unfortunately, most will take six to 24 months to arrive in Ukraine, according to a Pentagon official. The delays underscore longstanding — and increasingly dangerous — capacity challenges in the U.S. defense industrial base that are undermining Washington’s efforts to improve the readiness of U.S. forces while simultaneously trying to arm beleaguered democracies such as Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.


By John Hardie

Previous Trend: Neutral

The G7 finance ministers issued a joint statement on September 2 outlining plans for a U.S.-backed price cap on seaborne Russian oil exports. The Biden administration hopes the mechanism will deprive Moscow of vital revenues while avoiding a spike in oil prices. Treasury subsequently issued implementation guidance to prepare industry. The European Union is currently working toward an agreement on the mechanism’s legal basis, although some EU countries still need to be brought on board. Whether the price cap will work in practice remains unclear. Legislation currently under consideration in Congress would improve its chances by giving the mechanism greater teeth.

During a September 8 visit to Kyiv, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed U.S. readiness to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.” To meet Ukraine’s short-term military needs, Blinken announced a $675 million presidential drawdown package, which pulls directly from U.S. stocks. A $600 million drawdown package followed a week later. Blinken also unveiled plans to provide $1 billion in Foreign Military Financing to Kyiv and another $1.2 billion to 17 other European countries.

That same day, some 50 nations attended the fifth meeting of the U.S.-organized Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which focused on ensuring allied defense industrial bases can support Kyiv’s long-term needs. On September 28, the allies’ national armament directors held a follow-up meeting and committed to establish working groups on related topics. The administration also announced a $1.1 billion aid package under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, designed to “provide additional priority capabilities to Ukraine in the mid- and long-term.”


By Hussain Abdul-Hussain

Previous Trend: Very Negative

The Biden administration has struggled to enforce or extend a truce between Yemen’s internationally recognized Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) and the Iran-backed Houthis. Back in February, the administration removed the Houthis from the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations in the hope of spurring peace. But the group refused to implement the terms of an April truce, which the Houthis allowed to expire on October 2. Rather than threatening punitive measures to encourage the group to comply, the Biden administration asked the PLC to make more concessions.

On September 19, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with PLC President Rashad al-Alimi in New York. The State Department said the two leaders expressed “support for additional steps under the truce, including opening roads in Taiz and other areas, expanding commercial flights from Sanaa airport, and ensuring salary payments to tens of thousands of civil servants.”

Speaking before the UN General Assembly, Alimi emphasized that while PLC is pushing for peace, the Houthis remain intransigent. Although the PLC has allowed the reopening of the Houthi-controlled Sanaa Airport, the Houthis have refused to open roads or send the PLC revenue from the Hodeida Port, which the PLC says it needs to fund government salaries. Hinting at his frustration with the Biden administration, Alimi said, “[I]f we remain stuck between the fear that using force will undermine the truce and reclassifying [the Houthis] as terrorists will lead to a humanitarian disaster, we need to find alternative deterrence tools.”


By Craig Singleton

Previous Trend: Negative

President Biden hosted the first-ever U.S.-Pacific Island leader summit at the White House on September 28. Washington is working to deepen its ties to the far-flung region, which is ground zero in the growing geopolitical competition between China and the United States and its partners. At the summit, the White House revealed its inaugural national strategy for the Pacific Islands, which emphasizes enhanced cooperation on issues such as climate change, pandemic response, economic recovery, maritime security, and environmental protection. Nevertheless, to be viewed as an indispensable partner, the United States will need to invest the time and resources to develop the personal relationships that typically drive and sustain diplomacy in the Pacific. That will require opening new embassies, returning the Peace Corps to the region, and increasing funding to combat China’s illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Concluding negotiations to extend the Compacts of Free Association, which govern U.S. relations with Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, could also counter Beijing’s growing influence in the region.

Meanwhile, China continues to make significant military in-roads across this contested theater. Beijing has conducted aggressive military operations in and around Taiwan’s territorial waters. After signing a security pact with China, the Solomon Islands announced a temporary moratorium on visits by foreign naval vessels after turning away a U.S. Coast Guard ship. Additionally, satellite imagery revealed likely Chinese fortifications along Cambodia’s coast even while Beijing and Phnom Penh continue to deny such construction is associated with a new Chinese military base. Still missing: U.S. plans to enhance the American military’s regional footprint.

International Organizations

By Richard Goldberg

Previous Trend: Neutral

The Biden administration engineered a victory for American candidate Doreen Bogdan-Martin in a September 29 election determining the next secretary-general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and other senior U.S. officials issued statements and spoke to foreign counterparts to promote Bogdan-Martin’s candidacy against former Russian government official Rashid Ismailov. Prioritizing the 2022 ITU election was a key recommendation put forward in FDD’s 2021 monograph “A Better Blueprint for International Organizations.”

In less positive news, the Biden administration granted visas for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his delegation to attend the UN General Assembly in New York in September despite Tehran’s ongoing plots to assassinate former U.S. officials and its crackdown against women and LGBT and religious minorities. Meanwhile, as the UN Human Rights Council reconvened in Geneva, the Biden administration did not put forward a resolution to terminate the mandate of an indefinite commission of inquiry into Israel, even after commission members made antisemitic comments over the summer and 22 countries criticized the commission for its anti-Israel bias. The administration was also slow to act on a long-awaited UN human rights report detailing China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, waiting two weeks from the opening of the current Human Rights Council session before introducing a resolution calling for a debate over the Xinjiang report. A vote is expected before the council’s session ends on October 7.


By Richard Goldberg and Behnam Ben Taleblu

Previous Trend: Very Negative

Despite its welcome enforcement of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s petrochemical industry, the Biden administration continues to pursue a nuclear deal with Tehran that is even weaker than the 2015 agreement. The Islamic Republic, however, is demanding that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) first close a pending investigation into undeclared Iranian nuclear activities that violated Tehran’s nonproliferation obligations under its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. Yet when the IAEA Board of Governors convened on September 12, the Biden administration opted against pursuing a resolution finding Iran in non-compliance with that agreement. This suggests the administration may prioritize reaching any nuclear deal it can get over holding Iran accountable for its failure to account for undeclared nuclear sites and material.

The administration’s commitment to its ill-advised nuclear negotiations remains strong even as Iranian drones bolster Russia’s war effort in Ukraine and as Tehran attempts to crush mass anti-regime protests sparked by its murder of a 22-year-old woman for allegedly violating hijab laws. President Biden and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan both paid lip service to the protesters, and the Treasury Department sanctioned Iranian human rights violators and issued licenses designed to facilitate internet access for ordinary Iranians. But the administration publicly and privately reassured Tehran that it remains committed to a reaching nuclear deal and to providing Iran with concomitant sanctions relief, demonstrating where its true priorities lie. Even an Iranian missile and drone strike that reportedly killed an American citizen in Iraqi Kurdistan drew no tangible U.S. response beyond condemnation from the White House and State Department.


By David May

Previous Trend:  Negative

President Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on August 31, committing never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. Reinforcing this pledge, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said on September 5 that Washington would “never seek to prevent Israel from protecting itself against Iran.” Despite these assurances, the administration continued pressing for a nuclear deal with Tehran that Israel’s Mossad chief said would help Iran “build a nuclear weapon” to endanger “Israel’s existence.”

Addressing the UN General Assembly on September 21, Biden declared his support for Israeli security and a two-state solution. Lapid’s support for a two-state solution in his address the following day earned praise from Biden.

A week later, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan separately expressed concern over increasing lawlessness in the West Bank.

Sullivan was meeting with his Israeli counterpart to discuss the U.S.-Israel Strategic High-Level Dialogue on Technology, designed to address U.S. concerns over Chinese investments in Israel’s technology sector.

Thomas-Greenfield spoke at the UN Security Council, where she expressed the administration’s opposition to Palestinian attempts to secure statehood outside negotiations with Israel and expressed concern over “the overall trend of growing violence” in the West Bank.

Also on September 28, Nides told journalists that the administration is working to limit the expansion of Israeli West Bank settlement communities. He also thanked Jerusalem for its plan to improve Palestinian lives by continuously operating the West Bank-Jordan border crossing.


By David Maxwell

Previous Trend: Positive

With the passage of Pyongyang’s new “nuclear policy law” on September 8, Kim Jong Un made clear that he has no intention of de-nuclearizing North Korea. The ROK-U.S. alliance is at an inflection point, and it may require major revisions to traditional thinking about diplomatic engagement with the North. In the coming months, the allies should carefully consider crafting a new strategy and policy for security on the Korean Peninsula.

At the UN General Assembly, President Biden and his South Korean counterpart, Yoon Suk-yeol, presented forward-looking visions for security. Yoon did not address North Korean issues, and Biden made only a passing reference to sanctions on Pyongyang. It appears this was a coordinated action designed to undermine the Kim family regime’s desire to be legitimized as a nuclear state.

The United States deployed the USS Ronald Reagan carrier battle group for ROK-U.S. combined training in late September as part of the alliance’s first major naval exercise in five years. This followed the resumption in August of the annual combined exercise Ulchi Freedom Shield, which is critical to sustaining military readiness. As if to put an exclamation point on its new policy, express its displeasure with the naval exercise, and “welcome” Vice President Kamala Harris’ September 29 visit to South Korea, the North launched seven short-range ballistic missiles on September 25, 28, 29, and October 1.

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Yoon met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. South Korea continues to try to improve relations with Japan through high-level engagement, which supports the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy’s calls for improved trilateral cooperation. However, significant friction between Japan and South Korea remains.

Latin America

By Carrie Filipetti and Emanuele Ottolenghi

Previous Trend: Neutral

Thanks to quiet U.S. diplomacy, Colombia banned the U.S.-sanctioned Venezuelan airline Conviasa from operating direct flights between Bogotá and Caracas, which Colombian President Gustavo Petro previously said would resume this year. This outcome follows successful regional efforts by U.S. diplomats and law enforcement agencies to highlight Conviasa’s cooperation with Iran. Colombia is the fourth Latin American country — following Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay — to enforce U.S. sanctions against Conviasa and its Iranian partner, Mahan Air.

Nevertheless, U.S. sanctions enforcement against the Maduro regime and Iranian-Venezuelan cooperation leaves much to be desired. Since May, the Biden administration has eased U.S. sanctions against Venezuela to “encourage” the regime to return to negotiations with the opposition. Yet Caracas still has given no indication it is serious about resuming talks. The Biden administration also failed to respond to a newly released UN report on the Maduro regime’s human rights violations, indication the administration is not focused on holding the regime accountable.

Meanwhile, Washington scored an own goal in its competition with China for influence in the region. On September 26, the United States led a vote to topple Mauricio Claver-Carone, the U.S.-appointed president of the Inter-American Development Bank and a staunch opponent of Chinese penetration in the region.

Violence and instability in Haiti, election turmoil in Brazil, growing challenges to law and order in Ecuador, and continued mass immigration are all symptoms of a region slipping further away from the U.S. vision of growth, stability, and strengthening of democratic governance. Yet the Biden administration is occupied elsewhere.


By Tony Badran

Previous Trend: Very Negative

The Biden administration has submitted to the Lebanese the final U.S. proposal for the delineation of Lebanon’s maritime border with Israel. The proposal arrived prior to the deadline set by Hezbollah, and Speaker of Parliament and Hezbollah ally Nabih Berri said the proposal “meets the Lebanese demands.”

Following high-level meetings with the Biden team on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the Lebanese foreign minister disclosed that the administration has “assured” Lebanon that the maritime deal will be concluded “before October 31.” Indeed, the deal could well be concluded shortly after Lebanon and Israel finish studying the U.S. proposal.

The foreign minister added that the Biden administration also reiterated its commitment to provide monthly cash stipends to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) through a UN fund. The administration is looking to establish the fund as soon as November, and the United States will be “the biggest donor” to it, the Lebanese diplomat said.

The administration notified Congress that it will send the LAF an additional $30 million in assistance to maintain U.S. equipment provided in August. As predicted, the equipment became a pretext for dispatching funds to the problematic LAF.

The administration’s plan to bring Egyptian gas to Lebanon via Syria remains on hold. According to the Lebanese energy minister, World Bank financing is the remaining obstacle, since the bank has conditioned its funding on major energy sector reforms in Lebanon. Congress has also warned the administration that the project would violate U.S. sanctions on Syria.

Nonproliferation and Biodefense

By Anthony Ruggiero and Andrea Stricker

Previous Trend: Very Negative

A deal between Tehran and six world powers over reviving a weaker version of the 2015 nuclear accord appears less likely as Iran grapples with massive popular demonstrations and the United States gears up for congressional midterm elections. At the September Board of Governors meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), world powers did not attempt to pass another censure of Iran for its violations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, instead issuing a statement by 56 countries. A resolution would have represented a binding demand from the board.

President Vladimir Putin made a thinly veiled warning on September 21 about using nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory, which Moscow now deems to include newly annexed occupied Ukrainian territories. “This is not a bluff,” Putin declared, likely hoping to deter further Ukrainian advances. In his address to the UN General Assembly, President Biden condemned the Russian leader’s “reckless” threats. The Biden administration has also reportedly sent messages to the Kremlin warning of serious consequences for the use of atomic weapons.

Meanwhile, Russia continued to imperil the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants. In addition to endangering nuclear safety at Ukraine’s plant in Zaporizhzhya, Russia on September 19 launched a missile that landed within 300 meters of the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant in Yuzhnoukrainsk. On September 15, the IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution of censure calling on Moscow to “cease all actions against, and at, the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant and any other nuclear facility in Ukraine.”


By John Hardie

Previous Trend: Neutral

A stunning Ukrainian counteroffensive, enabled in part by U.S. and Western military aid, intelligence, and planning advice, liberated large swathes of territory last month. Kyiv’s success prompted President Vladimir Putin to declare a “partial mobilization” and accelerate the annexation of the occupied Ukrainian territories following sham “referendums,” which Washington and its allies quickly condemned. The Treasury Department issued a new batch of sanctions designations that, while largely symbolic, also targeted individuals and entities supporting Russia’s defense industrial base. The European Commission has also proposed additional sanctions.

In response to nuclear saber rattling by Putin and other Russian officials, Washington has reportedly increased nuclear-related intelligence-collection efforts while publicly and privately warning Moscow against nuclear use. U.S. officials have declined to specify publicly what consequences Russia would face, although National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the administration has privately “spelled [them] out in greater detail.” Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry is claiming openness to reviving inspections under the New START treaty, which Moscow suspended in August, saying U.S. sanctions prevent Russian inspectors from traveling to the United States.

Washington and its G7 allies have declared that Russian annexation will not deter further U.S. support of Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive. On September 30, Biden signed a $12.3 billion Ukraine aid bill. It provides $6.7 billion in military aid for Ukraine in presidential drawdown authority and the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, plus $4.5 billion in economic aid for Ukraine, $1.5 billion to replenish U.S. stocks, and $2.8 billion to support U.S. European Command operations.

Sunni Jihadism

By Bill Roggio

Previous Trend: Negative

The U.S. State and Treasury departments have established a fund at a bank in Switzerland to provide “$3.5 billion of Afghan central bank reserves to be used for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan.” The Biden administration claims the Taliban will not be able to access the reserves. However, the Taliban appoints the commissioners to Afghanistan’s central bank, ensuring the group could control the funds, at least indirectly. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen rejected the U.S. proposal and said that all $7 billion in U.S.-held funds should be transferred to the central bank.

Separately, the Taliban released Mark Frerichs, an American veteran who had been held hostage since early 2020, in exchange for Haji Bashir Noorzai, a convicted Taliban drug kingpin who was serving a life sentence for smuggling heroin into the United States. Frerichs was the last U.S. hostage held by the Taliban.

A Somali military offensive backed by local militias, the African Union’s Transition Mission in Somalia, the United States, and Turkey has retaken ground from al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda’s branch in East Africa. The offensive, which began two months ago in the Hiraan region in central Somalia, has liberated dozens of towns and villages that al-Shabaab had held for a decade. The Somali government claims to have killed hundreds of al-Shabaab fighters in the operation. The United States killed 27 al-Shabaab fighters in a September 18 airstrike in Hiraan. However, the group appears to have retaken several recently liberated towns as militias assigned to hold them simply looted the areas and fled.


By David Adesnik

Previous Trend: Negative

The House of Representatives on September 20 passed the bipartisan CAPTAGON Act, which would require the administration to “develop and implement an interagency strategy to deny, degrade, and dismantle … narcotics production and trafficking networks” linked to the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Captagon is an amphetamine-like stimulant in high demand in Arab Gulf states. The retail market for Captagon had an estimated value of $5.7 billion in 2021, according to a Newlines Institute study. This suggests that drug trafficking has become the leading source of revenue for Assad regime. In late August, Saudi authorities seized 46 million Captagon pills and arrested six Syrians and two Pakistanis at the warehouse holding the drugs. Numerous Captagon shipments have originated at regime-controlled Syrian ports, indicating a state-sponsored enterprise. Both U.S. and European reporters have traced control of the regime’s trafficking networks to Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother and commander of the Fourth Armored Division. Hezbollah apparently facilitates shipments that go through Lebanon.

The Biden administration has said little about the Captagon problem, which it seems hesitant to address. Last year, the sponsors of the CAPTAGON Act proposed similar legislation in the form of an amendment to the House’s annual defense authorization bill. The amendment had bipartisan support yet disappeared from the bill’s text, with no lawmaker taking responsibility for the deletion. Advocates insist the White House had its allies quietly remove the provision, as it did other measures to which the Biden administration objected. To clarify its commitment to disrupt the Captagon trade, the White House could simply endorse the new legislation.


By Sinan Ciddi

Previous Trend: Negative

Five Turkish banks announced they would stop accepting payments made with the Russian “Mir” payment system, Moscow’s alternative to Mastercard and Visa, developed following the imposition of U.S. sanctions in 2014. The banks decided to terminate usage of Mir in order to avoid U.S. sanctions. During the summer, U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo delivered strong warnings to his counterpart in Ankara, warning him of the potential consequences of breaching U.S. sanctions.

Turkey’s decision to accommodate U.S. demands indicates that Ankara is receptive to pressure. It also reflects President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s desire to avoid punitive measures that would further damage Turkey’s already fragile economy at a time when he is seeking re-election. Additionally, Ankara hopes to buy a significant number F-16 fighter jets from the United States — an issue that U.S. and Turkish officials discussed but did not resolved on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Being seen as supporting Russia against U.S. sanctions could doom the deal.

Despite Ankara’s gesture with Mir, however, Washington is unlikely to authorize the F-16 sale to Turkey, due to other lingering disputes. Ankara continues to hold up Finnish and Swedish NATO membership and antagonize Greece and Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean. By contrast, Washington strongly supports NATO’s Nordic enlargement and fully lifted a longstanding U.S. arms embargo on Cyprus in mid-September despite protests from Ankara.


The analyses above do not necessarily represent the institutional views of FDD.


Arab Politics Biodefense China Cyber Gulf States Indo-Pacific International Organizations Iran Israel Jihadism Lebanon Military and Political Power Nonproliferation North Korea Palestinian Politics Russia Syria Turkey U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy Ukraine