The Biden administration is reviewing disciplinary sanctions against outlaw regimes with the aim to limit impacts on ordinary citizens and to act jointly with allies, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The administration has nearly completed an extensive review expected to be revealed by the end of summer, one official told WSJ.
The results could include lessened sanction effects on rogue countries such as Iran, North Korea, and Russia, the Daily Mail reported.
Coordinated action with allies instead of unilateral decisions will strengthen the intended political pressure of sanctions, administration officials told the Journal.
"Our focus is on making sure that we’re moving from unilateral action, which has been what has defined U.S. policy over the last four years, to really working with our partners," a senior administration official told WSJ.
Biden administration officials have already indicated elements of the new strategy by some moves that have included the planned easing of economywide sanctions against Iran, WSJ said.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, took to Twitter following Monday's WSJ report.
"Dems used to talk a lot about ‘soft power’ in foreign policy," Cruz tweeted. "After giving a multi-billion-dollar pipeline to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin & offering the Ayatollah billions more, it seems Joe Biden has replaced that foreign policy w/ ‘soft weakness.’ Appeasement never works."
Republicans have expressed concerns that relying on international consensus and waiting on allies often require compromises that can undermine U.S. national security.
The Trump administration imposed sanctions as a foreign policy tool -- one targeting broad sectors of the economies in such places as Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela -- more frequently than previous U.S. administrations. The intention was to exert economic pressure against adversaries.
The Journal said the sanctions succeeded in achieving short-term goals, such as helping push Iran, and Venezuela into economic contractions, and severing North Korea’s ties to global financial and trade networks.
They did not, though, produce new major diplomatic agreements or substantive changes in the conduct of adversaries, WSJ said.
Current, former, and incoming administration officials described President Joe Biden’s approach to sanctions during congressional meetings. The president and officials insist sanctions must be part of larger diplomatic efforts that include cooperation from allies.
"This work requires close collaboration with Congress, across the executive branch, and with foreign counterparts, the private sector, and civil society," Elizabeth Rosenberg, nominated to help oversee sanctions policy as an assistant Treasury secretary, told senators in June.
The Biden administration, however, is wasting diplomatic leverage built over the last four years, according to members of the Trump administration. That especially holds true, they say, in regard to Iran’s nuclear program.
"The Biden administration is about to empower the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism again," former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in June.
The Biden administration recently removed several former Iranian government officials from its blacklists.
Supporters say the move sends a message that punitive actions are "about coercing the target to change in a way that’s beneficial for the international community and … not just merely trying to bully or punish an individual," Jason Barlett, of the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, told WSJ.
Biden officials have sought to work with allies on sanctions against China for human-rights abuses, and against Russian officials for attacks on political opponents and blacklisting Belarus officials for escalating political repression, WSJ said.
"We have to go back to first principles with our European partners to figure out really where it is that we should be applying the pressure and making sure that we’re doing that in close coordination," the senior official told the Journal.
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