August 1, 2014 | Quote

Experts Explain Why The New Russia Sanctions Still Won’t Work

Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Business Insider the administration could do more if it wants to follow the Iranian playbook. For example, the U.S. could designate individual Russian banks as institutions of primary money laundering concerns, hinting it could end with the designation of the entire Russian financial sector as money laundering concerns. Congress, he said, could also start to push for Iran-style sanctions that would designate foreign financial institutions doing business with blacklisted Russian banks.

“What is still lacking is a policy that combines sanctions with robust military aid for Ukraine and visible signs, not symbolic hints, that the U.S. and NATO are positioning defend the borders of other vulnerable Eastern European countries,” Dubowitz, who helped write a report detailing how Iran's economy has rebounded amid sanctions pressure subsiding, told Business Insider.

Dubowitz also noted Putin's aggressively nationalistic positions seem to be helping to boost his popularity within Russia.

“Finally, Russia continues to illegally occupy Crimea. We are no longer hearing about that illegal occupation and it is being treated as a fait accompli by the U.S., E.U. and U.N. That has forced the U.S. and E.U. to treat the eastern border of Ukraine as a redline which Putin again has violated by using Russia special forces and pro-Russian militia to seriously destabilize the country,” Dubowitz said. “As long as redlines fade into pink lines, sanctions remain too incremental and calibrated to be sufficiently punitive, and Putin's defiance remains wildly popular with the Russian people, it is doubtful his  strategic calculus will change.”