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US sanctions will only strengthen Russia’s resolve: Scholar

A Russian flag flies next to the US embassy building in Moscow on April 15, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

US President Joe Biden's sweeping sanctions against Russia “will have little effect” on it, says Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.

In an interview with Press TV on Friday, Etler, a former professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, said the US sanctions would only strengthen Russia’s resolve against American bullying.

The Biden administration has announced harsh sanctions against Russia accusing it of being involved in a recent major cyber espionage operation against the United States.

Washington imposed sanctions on Moscow on Thursday over alleged election interference and cyber activity, and targeted several officials and entities.

Moscow said there will be an “inevitable” response to the provocative US move. “A response to sanctions is inevitable,” said Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday.

“Washington's indignation over Russia's alleged hacking of US governmental and corporate websites and so-called interference in the US electoral process, is more posture than substance,” Professor Etler said.

“The 17 US intelligence agencies have a cumulative annual budget of nearly $100 billion. A good portion of that is obviously spent on cybersecurity and cyberespionage, including hacking of foreign internet domains. They would be remiss in their duties if they did neither,” he added.

“That US cybersecurity is deficient is nobody's fault but their own. In order to deflect from their own ineptitude it makes sense to feign outrage and lash out at the alleged foreign perpetrator of the Solar Wind hack, although no evidence has been released that shows who the culprits actually were,” he added.  

“The same applies to election interference. The US through the Congressionally funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and various US funded ‘human rights’ NGOs and other front groups, has interfered in the internal politics of other nations for decades. But when the shoe is on the other foot they cry bloody murder. How anyone can take their complaints seriously is beyond comprehension,” he stated.

“The only effect Biden's new sanctions will have is to scuttle any half-hearted effort on his part to have a face-to-face summit with Russian President Putin. The possibility of that was dismissed by Russia as a non-starter,” the analyst said.

“The US engages in all the indiscretions it accuses the Russians of. It condones the assassination of the political rivals of its allies, and actively interferes in the political life of nations far and wide. Its bloody actions speak far louder than its sugar-coated words,” he noted.

The academic said that “Biden's sanctions against Russia will have little effect on them other than to strengthen its will not to be intimidated and bullied.”

“Russia has many friends who are subject to the same illegal sanctions it has been dealt. US attempts to apply maximum pressure on Russia and other adversaries simply strengthens their resolve to resist,” he observed.

“Even America's erstwhile allies are hedging their bets, paying lipservice to the US crusades against Russia and China while reserving the right to enter into mutually beneficial trade and investment deals with them, such as the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, and China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” he said.

“The latest round of sanctions against both Russia and China are for domestic US political consumption and will not result in any substantive change in the relation between the US and Russia or China,” he concluded.

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