The Trump administration has made a major effort to dissuade countries from buying Russian military equipment, however, this may be “a double-edged sword”.
This is because such measures may drive US customers away from Russian, Chinese or European arms makers, according to military analyst Omar Lamrani.
In an article published by Stratfor, Lamrani states that attempts to use sanctions to increase US military equipment exports are part of a zero-sum approach against rival powers, as well as a complex and focused military approach. US foreign policy, which contributed to increased arms sales.
However, Russia, being the world’s second largest arms exporter, continues to make multi-million dollar deals with both US opponents, neutral nations and even US allies such as Turkey.
The analyst explained that although the US did not develop the CAATSA law for the express purpose of promoting US equipment to the detriment of Russians, it has emerged as a key instrument for the Trump administration.
America’s Sanctioning Adversaries Act, CAATSA, was signed in 2017 and enforced in September 2018 against China, when Beijing decided to obtain Russian S-400 systems, and was used against India, Indonesia, Egypt and Turkey.
Last week, the Americans agreed to sanction Turkey for the billion-dollar deal involving the purchase of the S-400 from Russia, and already expelled the Turks from the US F-35 program.
The analyst explained that while adopting the zero-sum approach may help the US prevent other countries from buying Russian equipment, it could also have the opposite effect and cause those countries to fall into Moscow’s arms.
Meanwhile, if the US imposes sanctions against Turkey, Incirlik Air Base and other US military facilities on Turkish territory could be closed, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The head of Turkish diplomacy said Ankara would include the closure of Incirlik’s US air base on the bilateral agenda if Washington imposes sanctions against Turkey for the purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system.
“Let’s consider the worst case scenario and make a decision. If the US imposes sanctions on Turkey, then the issues of Incirlik and Kurecik could be on the agenda,” Cavusoglu said.
The missile defense system that protects Europe has been a key part of the Kurecik region of Turkey since 2012. Operation of the facility is guaranteed by the US Armed Forces.
The Turkish minister also emphasized that Ankara will not support NATO’s defense plans in the Baltic countries until the alliance formulates a plan to protect Turkey from “terrorism”.