Secretary of State John Kerry last month tried to explain the complexity of the decision-making process surrounding sanctions on Russia. The U.S. and E.U. have already announced very targeted sanctions against Russia as a penalty for its takeover of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and it's threatening posture toward eastern Ukraine.
However, what's been implemented so far is only a taste of what a full-on sanctions regime, such as the one imposed against Iran, might mean for the Russian economy. But in testimony before Congress last month, Kerry noted that Russia is a major player in the world economy, and said that damaging the Russian economy will also have effects on U.S. businesses operating in Russia and on U.S. exports.
"If you start going down that road, it's not just them who feel it, we'll feel it too," he said.
Of course, some will feel it more than others, and the irony here is that the more pressure the U.S. and its allies put on the Russian economy, the more damage it is likely to do to the countries most concerned about Russian aggression.