Nigeria News
Biden Steps Up To Punish Russia For Meddling In US Affairs

After the prior administration got itself in hot borscht for, even before taking office, all but assuring Russia that there would be no lasting penalties for 2016 election interference, Joe Biden is setting a better precedent and imposing harsh sanctions. It’s good that Vladimir Putin’s government will finally pay a steep economic price for cyberattacks on America, but don’t expect the penalties to change the Kremlin’s behavior one bit.

Via executive order issued Thursday, Biden is imposing fresh sanctions on Moscow: prohibiting U.S. institutions from buying bonds from Russia’s Central Bank, finance ministry and its sovereign wealth fund; blacklisting a half-dozen large cybersecurity firms; expelling 10 Russian diplomats from their embassy in Washington, and turning the screws on more than 30 other people and entities.

It’s partial payback for the SolarWinds hack, one of the largest ever network attacks on the U.S. government and American corporate interests, which was orchestrated by Russian intelligence. Digging out of the damage done could cost $100 billion. We know too that after its infamous 2016 interference, Russia tried again in 2020 to influence an American presidential election, and thankfully failed.

When such meddling is met by weakness, as it repeatedly was during the Trump administration, it is bound to get worse. Which is not to say that toughness cures the problem, as opposed to plunging the U.S. and Russia into a mutually harmful economic Cold War. Putin is too tough a customer for that.

Buried in the administration’s response was a new assertion that U.S. intelligence agencies had just “low to moderate confidence” in reports that Russia had offered to pay bounties for the death of American troops in Afghanistan. In campaign season, that supposed crime — and the then-president’s refusal to confront the Kremlin over it — was held up as proof that Trump was captive to Putin. Because of the difficulty of confirming the particular claims, Biden isn’t ready to retaliate for them.