Global Affairs

US reviews use of its sanctions sword

An easy weapon to wield against opponents, it has nonetheless been blunted by overuse and changing circumstances.

From now on, the US promises not to rush into imposing new sanctions. PHOTO: REUTERS

When the sword gets blunt, it's time to reach for other tools. That seems to be the conclusion reached by the Biden administration, for it has just announced that it plans to both limit and streamline the use of economic and financial sanctions, until now one of Washington's most potent weapons against nations or individuals that dared oppose the United States.

From now on, the US promises not to rush into imposing new sanctions. Instead, before it acts, it will consider the sanctions' potential to inflict unintentional harm on vulnerable groups of people and the risk that they may inflict damage on America's allies or otherwise complicate the conduct of US security policy.

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