The Trump administration today announced brand new financial “sanctions” on the Russian government hackers and spy agencies caught by special counsel Robert Mueller, with the obvious purpose of “punishing” Moscow for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
The administration claims these new sanctions seek to “deter Russia from tampering in this year’s midterm elections” and is intended to show that the United States will not allow Russian aggression in cyberspace to go unchallenged. The sanctions specifically target the 19 Russians caught by Mueller and include an individual known as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “chef.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said about the new sanctions in a statement that; “The administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in U.S. elections, destructive cyberattacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure. These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia.”
Mnuchin also said that the Treasury is planning to impose additional sanctions “to hold Russian government officials and oligarchs accountable for their destabilizing activities by severing their access to the U.S. financial system.”
You can easily see how this is all for show. This is just Trump trying to make it look like he is taking a hard stance against Russia, but these “sanctions” are even weaker than a slap on the wrist.
The Russians being sanctioned are simply the Russian hackers indicted by Mueller, so the sanctions do little to stop further meddling. Mueller already took those bad actors out of the game. In addition, Mnuchin stated that the sanctions simply “sever” access to the U.S. financial system, which is useless because these Russian hackers were funded by the Russian government in the millions! So what if they can’t get their hacking money from U.S. banks?
These sanctions will do absolutely nothing to stop further Russian meddling. All they do is give Trump some favorable headlines, but when you really look at the sanctions, they are worth nothing. Sanctions like these are a retroactive measure, not a counteractive measure. We need counteractive, defensive measures implemented that can protect the U.S. from foreign cyber interference. These sanctions are not even on the same planet as that, and thus are all for show.