The U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Tuesday that will expand the administration’s available tools to deter and punish wrongful detention of U.S. nationals abroad.
The world’s largest economy expects to give its administration the power to punish other countries who it deemed wrong to detain its citizens by authorizing government agencies to impose sanctions and other measures to bring home Americans that broke the laws overseas.
The move to execute this new order came amid growing pressure from family members of WNBA star Brittney Griner and her supporters. A two-time Olympic gold medalist Griner carried weed to a Moscow airport and had been detained in Russia since February for drug charges.
Unlike some states in the United States of America such as Arizona where Griner came from that cannabis is legal for both recreational and medical purposes, cannabis in Russia is illegal and could face a criminal charge for carrying a large amount. According to the prosecutors’ case, Russian customs officials found two vape cartridges containing 0.702 grams of cannabis oil in Griner’s backpack at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. She has been charged with drug possession and smuggling and she faces up to 10 years in prison.
Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges July 7, while her legal team made an attempt to secure a lighter sentence by presenting a doctor’s prescription with a permission issued on behalf of the Arizona Department of Health allowing Griner the use of medical cannabis to show that her action was an honest mistake.
There is some speculation that this detention is a political move by the Russian government to retaliate against the U.S. sanctions and maybe leading to a potential prisoner swap.
Whatever the case is, the Russian authorities are open for negotiation. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called on Washington to “work through established channels. It simply won’t work any other way.” The statement came after the Kremlin claimed that U.S. officials were trying to use the pressure as leverage.
Jumping to the conclusion that the Russians are wrongfully detaining its citizens, the newly signed executive order, known as “Bolstering Efforts to Bring Hostages and Wrongfully Detained United States Nationals Home,” will give Biden’s administration the authority for the imposition of financial sanctions and visa bans on people involved in hostage-taking.
Although the detail of what would meet its category of wrongful detention is not known, it seems like the U.S. is committed to getting its citizens out of what it deems necessary.
Similar cases also happened to Chinese officials that got sanctioned by the U.S. over the Hong Kong democracy crackdown and the persecution of Uyghurs and other minorities.
Saudi Arabian officials were also sanctioned by the U.S. over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, but not the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman himself.
Signing this kind of executive order seems like the U.S. is preparing to confront other countries outside NATO or its friendly group.
The move of the almighty U.S. might work on some countries, while some that might not be as powerful as the U.S. could potentially defy the greatness of Uncle Sam by holding an upper hand on certain areas.
Biden recently came back to Washington after failing to persuade Saudi Arabia in increasing oil production to meet global demand, saying that Riyadh will proceed according to the resolution of OPEC.
Several reports wrote that the Saudi’s crown prince told Biden that Washington “will only have NATO states to cooperate with” if the country continues to align with nations that only demonstrate the U.S. ideals.
And the reason that Biden has to pay a visit to the crown prince is because of high oil prices that led to a record high inflation in 40 years due to the consequence of their sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine, which the U.S. has no business with whatsoever other than wanting to condemn Russia for its aggression.
Things would get even worse if other countries retaliate against the U.S. one way or another for imposing sanction over unlawful detention, which is some kind of putting pressure on that country’s justice process.
Just slow your roll, Uncle Sam.