Sanctions Proponent Doesn’t Think They’ll Make Putin Back Off in Ukraine

Sen. John McCain hopes the U.S. has “learned a lesson about this guy.”

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), shown talking last week to reporters, on Sunday outlined several concerns about a deal reached by Iran and six other governments to address the Middle Eastern nation's disputed nuclear activities.
National Journal
Elahe Izad
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Elahe Izad
March 4, 2014, 1:01 p.m.

Some of those push­ing for new sanc­tions against Rus­sia are un­der no de­lu­sions that such pen­al­ties will ac­tu­ally force Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin to change his course in Ukraine. But they want them non­ethe­less.

“We have to act. To do noth­ing is the worst of all ac­tions,” Sen. John Mc­Cain said Tues­day. The hawk­ish Re­pub­lic­an later ad­ded that sanc­tions won’t get Putin out of Crimea be­cause “he be­lieves Crimea … is part of the Rus­si­an em­pire.”

“He has to be pun­ished. I see the end game as hope­fully, we’ve learned a les­son about this guy and per­haps we can put up a more united front and dis­card all of our il­lu­sions,” Mc­Cain said.

The State De­part­ment is already pre­par­ing an ex­pan­ded round of sanc­tions, and sen­at­ors are de­bat­ing wheth­er to con­sider more sanc­tions le­gis­la­tion, either as part of a $1 bil­lion aid pack­age to Ukraine or sep­ar­ately.

An­oth­er con­sid­er­a­tion is the ex­ten­sion of the the Mag­nit­sky Act, which Con­gress has already passed. It freezes Amer­ic­an bank ac­counts and bans U.S. travel by some Rus­si­an of­fi­cials deemed as hu­man-rights ab­users.

“Mag­nit­sky scares the hell out of them, Mag­nit­sky scares the day­lights out of these ol­ig­archs that love to raise their kids in Lon­don, spend time in Las Ve­gas,” Mc­Cain said. “That really has had an ef­fect on Rus­si­ans, even as re­stric­ted as the ad­min­is­tra­tion has in­ter­preted it.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who chairs the Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Sub­com­mit­tee on European Af­fairs, says new sanc­tions need to give Obama broad au­thor­ity to im­pose eco­nom­ic and polit­ic­al pen­al­ties. “Adding names to the Mag­nit­sky list is im­port­ant but it doesn’t ac­tu­ally change be­ha­vi­or in Mo­scow. You’ve got to send a very clear mes­sage that this will hurt.”

But without the back­ing of European na­tions, many ac­know­ledge a new round of Amer­ic­an sanc­tions likely won’t make Rus­sia hurt that badly. Rus­sia ac­counts for just 2 per­cent of Amer­ic­an trade, and it doesn’t sound like top European Uni­on fig­ures want to go down the sanc­tions path.

That’s something that Mc­Cain ac­know­ledged. “If Europe de­cides not to, we have to act. We’re sup­posed to be the world’s su­per­power. We should act like it.”

What We're Following See More »
REPEATS CONTROVERSIAL CLAIM
Trump: Clinton “Doesn’t Have The Stamina” to be President
4 hours ago
DEBATE UPDATE

At the end of the debate, moderator Lester Holt asked Donald Trump if he stands by his statement that Hillary Clinton didn't have the look of a president. Trump responded by saying Holt misquoted him, instead saying that Clinton "doesn't have the stamina." Clinton responded by saying that when Trump visits 112 countries as secretary of state, he can talk to her about stamina.

WIDELY DEBUNKED CLAIM
Trump: Clinton Camp Started Birtherism
5 hours ago
DEBATE UPDATE

Donald Trump, when pressed by Lester Holt on why he finally admitted that President Obama was born in America, repeated his widely debunked claim that it was started by Hillary Clinton.

“AFRICAN AMERICANS” ARE “LIVING IN HELL”
Conversation Shifts to Race
5 hours ago
DEBATE UPDATE

Hillary Clinton went point by point on how race can so often determine the treatment that people receive, mentioning recent shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte, calling for restored trust between communities and police, and demanding criminal justice reform. Trump responded by calling for law and order and touting his endorsements from police unions. He then said that “African Americans are living in hell,” saying they are just walking down the street and getting “shot ... being decimated by crime."

JUST AS CLINTON INVITES VIEWERS TO VISIT HER SITE
During Debate, Trump Site Appears to Be Down
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

Just as Hillary Clinton was inviting debate viewers to visit her site for real-time fact checking, there appeared to be a problem with Donald Trump's own campaign website. For about a 15-minute period, a blank page or an error message appeared when we tried to load the Trump site.

INTERRUPTS CLINTON MULTIPLE TIMES
Trump Comes Out Swinging
5 hours ago
DEBATE UPDATE

Donald Trump has come out in the first segment of this debate raring to go. Trump has interrupted nearly every answer being given by Hillary Clinton, talking over her time and again. Clinton is sticking to her guns, smiling while Trump speaks and then calling on people to go to her website and see the fact checking being done.

×