In 2012, Russia passed its first-ever Foreign Agent Law, which western analysts described as an attempt to stymie civil society. Russia argued that it modeled its Law after the American Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Samuel Rebo describes how on their face the laws seem similar, while their implementation has differed. While Russia has actively used its Law, the US launched only a single criminal FARA prosecution from 1990 to 2010. However, since Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, DOJ prosecutors have brought more FARA cases (2016-2019) than they had in the past 50 years combined.
Comparing FARA to its Russian counterpart, Rebo notes that the Russian law contains significantly more substantive limitations on the functioning of “foreign agents” than does FARA. However, both laws are broad and can sweep in legitimate civil society groups. Thus, DOJ discretion is the main barrier stopping America from replicating Russia. Rebo argues that, given the First Amendment rights at stake, this reliance on the DOJ is insufficient, and Congress should amend FARA to narrow its breath and clarify its scope.
The United States does not view outer space as a global commons, according to Executive Order (EO) 13914 issued by President Donald Trump on April 6, 2020. This policy declaration will be welcomed by some, lamented by others, and surely many more will simply find it confusing—an intriguing range of reactions for a seemingly simple term to generate.
John S. Goehring’s article examines the role that notions of the global commons play in U.S. policy on the recovery and use of space resources. It argues the term “global commons” has more than one legitimate meaning, and, in failing to account for this complexity, the EO complicates, rather than simplifies, productive discourse not only about the space domain but also about other domains.
Transnational private actors (TNPAs) conducting business in a sanctioned country may depart from that market when the costs of doing business with a sanctioned state outweigh any potential profit. When TNPAs cease operations in a sanctioned market, their withdrawal can ultimately denigrate the sanctioned country’s economy and bolster the effectiveness of sanctions imposed by the sanctioning state.
Mahan Ashouri examines the role of TNPAs operating in the Iranian market after the United States’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and reinstatement of sanctions against Iran in 2018. His article explores the expanded role of TNPAs in the global economy, the risk calculation conducted by TNPAs operating in sanctioned Iran, and the great influence of TNPAs on the effectiveness of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.
Ashouri ultimately concludes that TNPAs exited the Iranian market not out of strict compliance with international law, but out of a rational risk calculation. The decision of TNPAs to leave the Iranian market not only damaged Iran’s economy, by depriving the state of millions of dollars in trade and foreign investment, but also elevated the United States’ ability to leverage economic sanctions over Iran in order to renegotiate the nuclear deal.
However, Iran’s refusal to renegotiate amidst highly restrictive sanctions and its subsequent financial reliance on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps triggered a series of events that tragically led to the Ukrainian plane crash in Iran in January 2020.