Use of Sanctions as U.S. Foreign-Policy Tool Would Likely Continue Under Biden

Economic and trade sanctions have become the main tool of American foreign policy for the trump card government, and this is unlikely to change with its rival, Democrat Joe Biden.

However, because of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic consequences that lie at the heart of the election campaign, Biden did not say much about his concrete plans for the U.S. sanctions regime, the observers said. Many people look at the Obama administration when Biden was vice-president and at the application of the sanctions policy in search of evidence.

Sanctions should be the primary instrument of foreign policy, said Judith Alison Lee, a partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, which advises companies on how to comply with sanctions. It is very fascinating; once a government starts using it and sees the power of this one-sided instrument and the immediate consequences of sanctions, it is very difficult to curb itself.

On average, the Trump’s policy has sanctioned more than 900 companies or individuals per year over the past four years, almost 80 percent more than the annual number of appointments made by the Obama administration between 2009 and 2016. It is the result of an analysis of data provided by Dow Jones Risk & Compliance, a company of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co.

In 2020 alone, more than 700 organisations or individuals have been identified by 29. On 10 October he was blacklisted by the Office for the Control of Foreign Assets.

Trump spokesman Ken Farnaso said there is no doubt that President Trump has brought more foreign enemies such as Russia, China and Cuba to justice than any president before him by imposing cowardly sanctions and expelling bad diplomats from the country.

Biden’s campaign and the U.S. Treasury Department spokesperson for OFAC did not respond to requests for comments.

These are some of the areas that will benefit from Biden’s public statements in recent months and his discussions with sanction lawyers.


In Havana the Cuban flag flies.


Alexander Manegini/Reuters

The Trumps government has increased its economic pressure on Cuba, reversing the Obama administration’s trend towards a more open attitude towards the nation, which has led to an increase in travel between the two countries.

Trump’s policy has introduced travel restrictions to Cuba and this week announced new regulations prohibiting U.S. companies from processing remittances involving Cuban organizations on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ restrictive list for Cuba. President Trump also terminated the Helms-Burton Act of 1996 in 2019, which allowed certain US citizens with property rights confiscated by Fidel Castro’s regime to seek compensation from companies operating on that property.

According to the Trade and Industry Council of the United States of Cuba and the Economic Council, less than three dozen lawsuits have been filed under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act. U.S. and foreign companies have been named as defendants in the proceedings, including Inc,

Société Générale SA


American Airlines Inc.

Sanction lawyers expect Biden to lift some of these restrictions for Cuba, including lifting the Title III waiver and lifting the restrictions on remittances, according to Kari Stinebauer, a partner at Winston & Strawn LLP, a law firm specializing in enforcing sanctions.


The trump card administration led a campaign of pressure against Iran after it renounced the 2015 nuclear deal. In recent weeks, the government has imposed a series of sanctions on Iran, some of which are intended to strengthen the campaign against future attempts to overthrow, reports the Wall Street Journal. On Thursday, it blacklisted Iranian and Chinese energy companies and announced the seizure of Iranian missile shipments recently seized by the U.S. Navy.

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During Biden’s presidency, the United States was able to join the nuclear deal and reduce part of President Trump’s policy toward Iran, Lee said. We expect changes in Iran, maybe not immediately, she said.


Many expect the tensions and some of the restrictions imposed by the government on China’s trump card to persist, even if Biden wins. The current government has imposed sanctions on individuals who would have undermined Hong Kong’s autonomy and has warned against doing business with companies potentially involved in human rights abuses in China.

Mr. Biden suggested a harder stance.

Trump has spoken out against sanctions against the Chinese government for its brutal violations of human rights to protect its empty trade agreement and to serve its own personal interests, Biden tweeted on 21. June. Where Trump was weak, I will defend the values of America and its people with strength, clarity and consistency.


The trump card government has imposed sanctions on Moscow in connection with alleged American interference in the elections. But Biden could impose additional sanctions on Russia on other issues, including the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, Lee said. Following this poisoning, the European Union announced sanctions against members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. Russia contested the conclusions of the European laboratories that Mr Navalny had been poisoned with a nerve gas.

Biden said he would consider imposing additional sanctions on Russia for his interference in the elections.

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I know President Putin, and… he knows me, Biden said at CNN City Hall in February. And he knows that it will have similar consequences if he tries to interfere in our elections by striving for stricter sanctions against Russia, because that’s what they do … all over Europe and in other parts of the world.

North Korea

President Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2018 and 2019. But since then, negotiations on the nuclear issue, which they have undertaken to resume, have been suspended.

Biden called the North Korean leader a bandit and said he would be stricter on North Korea.

It’s like saying we had good relations with Hitler before he invaded the rest of Europe. Biden spoke about Kim during the presidential debate on March 22nd. October. The reason he didn’t meet President Obama is because President Obama said we would talk about denuclearization. We won’t ID you. We will continue to impose ever tougher sanctions on you. That’s why he didn’t want to go out with us.

Write to Mengqi Sun at [email protected].

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