ICYMI: Former Top Pentagon Official Says DASKA is ‘Riddled with Flaws,’ Unfairly Targets American Companies

Congress has yet to fix DASKA, and the Project on Effective Sanctions calls your attention to expert commentary that describes the bill’s widespread problems. In a candid article for InsideSources, former top Pentagon official and Heritage Foundation defense fellow Steve Bucci writes that the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) is “deeply flawed.” By imposing mandatory sanctions on crude oil development in Russia and on new investments in energy projects outside of Russia, the legislation “will deal a direct blow to U.S. companies in  the energy sector.” That’s not all – Bucci documents how DASKA will also harm U.S. companies in the aerospace, agribusiness and financial sectors doing business in Russia. The impact to aerospace alone, he writes, “could be severely damaging.” Bucci concludes on a more positive note, “fortunately, it’s not too late for a fix.”

Congress must fix DASKA now – and punish Putin, not U.S. companies!

Click here to read Heritage Foundation fellow Steve Bucci’s InsideSources op-ed.

In addition, other leading voices have authored media commentary recently highlighting the major flaws with the DASKA bill:

  • The Hill op-ed by National Foreign Trade Council Vice President Richard Sawaya: Russian sanctions will boomerang
    • Key passage: “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019 (“DASKA”) was reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last December. DASKA includes sweeping mandatory sanctions on Russia’s energy sector. Sanctions under executive order targeting strategic Russian hydrocarbon projects have been in effect since Russian forces invaded eastern Ukraine and annexed Crimea in 2014. Those measures were codified and expanded into law when President Trump signed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) in 2017 after congressional passage by veto-proof majorities.  U.S. sanctions, as pressure tactics, demonstrably fail to achieve their intended objectives. To date, Russia’s conduct in Ukraine has not changed. As one observer put it, the sanctions were meant for Moscow but hit Houston. DASKA’s energy provisions would take collateral damage to new heights. For example, DASKA requires U.S. companies to withdraw from any energy project should a Russian entity hold even a minority stake. There are nearly 150 estimated energy projects in more than 50 countries that would be affected. These projects employ thousands of people and play an important role in the energy supply chain in global hydrocarbon markets. Any disruption to the operations abroad would have a domino effect and damage many small- to medium-sized U.S. businesses.”

  • Real Clear Markets op-ed former U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Chuck Larson: How Ongoing Russia Paranoia Could Lead To An Economy-Sapping Law
    • Key passage: “The 2020 U.S. presidential campaign is underway and legislation to deter Russia’s attempts to sabotage our elections with tough economic sanctions has been under debate in the Senate. Co-sponsor Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, calls it the “sanctions bill from Hell” but Vladimir Putin knows it will barely singe Russia and instead burn U.S. economic interests. American lawmakers should not play into his hand. The Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019 (DASKA), sponsored by Graham and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, would mandate the severing of American ties to Russian energy, aerospace, and agricultural sector operations and the use of other tools to frustrate Russia’s economic objectives and finances.  Business groups warn it would inflict damage to U.S. firms across all economic sectors. Major U.S. companies and the tens of thousands of American subcontractors and small businesses in the global supply chain would endure losses as U.S. rivals move in to reap far-reaching commercial and security benefits. Having served as ambassador to Latvia, a former involuntary member of the Soviet Empire, I am certain Putin relishes the idea of a sweeping sanctions bill laden with such traps rather than targeted retaliation that isolates and stymies despicable Russian operatives.”

  • Morning Consult op-ed by former EIA Administrator Guy Caruso: Counter Russian Meddling, But First Revise DASKA
    • Key passage: “Countering Russian meddling in American politics is all the rage on Capitol Hill, and it should be. After all, the digital age we live in all but assures that, without proper deterrents, a persistent enemy can wreak havoc on a nation with a free press and open social media channels. That’s the thinking behind the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, a piece of legislation recently passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  But while DASKA aims to combat Russian meddling through broad, sweeping sanctions on Russia, the real damage will be felt by American businesses. That’s the chief reason why a number of voices, including the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and diverse economic sectors from energy to aerospace, are calling for revisions of DASKA and a serious rethinking of its use of broadly defined sanctions.”