Joe Biden has arrived in Europe for a four-day trip with the aim of keeping up pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, amid sanctions fatigue and splits over energy sanctions among US allies.
Biden will take part in an emergency Nato summit, a G7 summit and a meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Thursday – all groups that largely welcome a return of US leadership and engagement in Europe after the nadir of the Donald Trump administration.
The Biden team is hoping to translate that goodwill into political stamina over what could well be a long, grueling conflict.
“There’s a lot more room to ratchet up sanctions if the United States and Europe decide to do so,” Edward Fishman, a former senior state department official focused on sanctions, said. “We’re at about a seven or eight out of 10 in intensity. We’re definitely not a 10 out of 10.”
“I think the most important sanction that the US and Europe could impose would be a global campaign to reduce Russian oil sales across the board,” Fishman, now at Columbia University’s school of international and public affairs, added. “I don’t anticipate that’s going to come out of the meeting tomorrow. However, some of the groundwork for that campaign could be laid.”
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