The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve, by expropriating Russia’s reserves, just destroyed their own trustworthiness. From David C. Hendrickson at responsiblestatecraft.com:
The setting is a time near the end of the world. An earnest officer of the Royal Air Force, detailed to an American airbase in the Southwest, is trying to make a call to the president of the United States. It’s urgent. The commander of the base went mad and launched a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. The officer must riddle a Coke machine with gunfire in order to get the coins to pay for the call. Do it for me, says the Brit, Captain Mandrake. No can do, says the U.S. soldier. “That’s private property.”
I don’t want to spoil the plot, but Mandrake did ultimately get those coins and got the president on the phone. It was all going to work out swell until it didn’t. Then the world ended.
Private property! What a joke. One tiny moral of the story from Dr. Strangelove is that there are times when it is permissible to break the rule forbidding theft, as Mandrake observed to the dolt he was talking to. However, the American army officer, played in wonderful deadpan by Keenan Wynn, had a point. In the American creed, you weren’t supposed to do this sort of thing, ever. You should no more take another person’s property than you should take another person’s life. Respect for private property was an essential part of the compact that makes citizens respect their government. Ensure that our rights are respected, it was once said in unison; then we shall happily obey you. The same rule held for the law of nations, which gave protection to both private and public property, as inhering separately in individuals and nations.