The sanctions have not worked, and in some instances have spectacularly backfired. From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:
In February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the US orchestrated a perhaps unprecedented sanctions clampdown on Russia. A month later, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen declared with certainty that “the Russian economy will be devastated as a consequence of what we’ve already done.”
She was wrong. The sanctions on Russia have failed to achieve their primary goal: they have not forced Russia to end its war with Ukraine. They have even failed to achieve the means to that goal: they have not devastated the Russian economy.
Yellen boasted that “We have isolated Russia financially. The ruble has been in a free fall. The Russian stock market is closed. Russia has been effectively shut out of the international financial system.” Not one of those boasts turned out to be true.
It should not be surprising that the sanctions on Russia failed either to force a regime change or a change in the regime’s plans. Years of US led sanctions have not brought about their desired effects in Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Syria or Russia.
Sanctions can have undesired consequences, though. In addition to frequently harming the civilian population more than the government, they can even rally the population behind that government. Sanctions can hurt the people the US is trying to help and help the government the US is trying to hurt. That has been true in the past in Russia. In The Putin Paradox, Richard Sakwa observes that, though past sanctions were meant “to shape Russian policy” or lead to “regime change,” they “tended only to reinforce solidarity around the Kremlin” while they “rallied the country behind Putin.” That seems also to be true today.
The West got itself into this mess being wildly out of touch and delusional, with regards to its own so-called hegemony.
The emergence of Russia, China and India as emboldened new powers amid the Ukraine war is becoming more obvious each day. The West has really destroyed its last strand of credibility as the real power in a unipolar world, which, in reality is now multipolar with the East gaining and gaining.
Russia continues to garner more strength and influence seemingly without effort due to the colossal error of NATO and EU sanctions which continue to punish the citizens of those countries so much more than any Russian citizen – the most recent news just in that Spain is banning the use of air conditioning in parts of the country experiencing a heat wave!
And Russia acts more and more like a superpower on the world stage and so we shouldn’t be surprised, for example, that when only a matter of weeks of French troops pulling out of Mali a former colony of France’s, Russia rolls in with aircraft which it donates to the regime. That’s what superpowers do to keep their end of the bargain. Security support.
Trust is the foundation of lending and banking, and nobody trusts the U.S. and other Western governments with their money anymore, and for good reason. From Eve Ottenberg at counterpunch.org:
Frans Hogenberg – Geheugen van Nederland – Public Domain
With the explanation that it had to punish Russia for its war in Ukraine, the west stole over $300 billion of Moscow’s money. With the explanation that 9-11 families deserved compensation, the U.S. stole $7 billion from Afghanistan (oh no, it had nothing to do with revenge for losing the war, how could you even think such a thing?) With the explanation that, well, it just didn’t like Venezuela, the U.K., or rather the Bank of England, stole roughly $2 billion of that country’s gold.
See a pattern? Leave your nation’s money in a western bank, and it might not be yours for very long, especially if you in any way bother western politicos, like having an economic system they disapprove of, or sending them packing when they invade your country, or telling NATO where to get off when it threatens to absorb a neighboring nation and plant missiles there. In this last instance, it would have been far better had Moscow waged economic war on NATO countries, instead of an actual war on Kiev. But as it happened, Ukraine got clobbered militarily and dreadfully, and the west launched an economic blitzkrieg on Moscow, accidentally firing all its financial missiles at itself.
The U.S. has imposed more sanctions than any other nation, and it should know by now that they don’t work. Some people never learn. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
One of the key points about US sanctions policy not fully understood by most analysts, and certainly not most pro-Russian analysts, is sanctions are not a direct political tool. In extreme cases, like what befell Russia in the days after its invasion of Ukraine, they are intended to be.
But on balance, sanctions as used by the West are a far more dangerous tool than just regime change, they are the lynchpin to long-term denial strategies of militarists and would-be colonizers.
We have spent five months now focusing on the boomerang effect of Western sanctions on the Russian economy. And that boomerang effect on the West, particularly Europe, is real and predictable. The intended goal of creating a quagmire in Ukraine which would create domestic unrest at home for Putin did not materialize.
The military quagmire is debatable, if you believe anything coming from Western media sources. I don’t personally believe much of what is said, but the relatively hard battle lines of the past few months lend credence to that view.
Again, not a view I ultimately share, but it’s one worth keeping in mind. If the sanctions have been so ineffective, why do they continue? What strategic purpose can or do they serve?
Because it is obvious that the people who crafted this sanctions package had a plan. Did that plan survive contact with the enemy? Was it wholly a failure or partially successful? These are some of the questions I want to address here.
Earlier today we wrote that Germany’s largest landlord, Vonovia, had taken the unprecedented step of restrictring heating at night, a terrifying preview of what lies in stock for the “most advanced” European nation this winter. Alas, it’s going to get worse, much worse.
According to the FT, Germany is now rationing hot water, dimming its street lights and shutting down swimming pools as the impact of its energy crunch begins to spread like the proverbial Ice-Nine wave, from industry to offices, leisure centers and residential homes.
As Obama said, never underestimate Biden’s ability to screw things up. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:
It’s easy to see why, according to a new Harris poll, 71 percent of Americans said they do not want Joe Biden to run for re-election. As Americans face record gas prices and the highest inflation in 40 years, President Biden admits he could not care less. His Administration is committed to fight a proxy war with Russia through Ukraine and Americans just need to suck it up.
Last week a New York Times reporter asked Biden how long he expects Americans to pay record gasoline prices over his Administration’s Ukraine policy. “As long as it takes,” replied the president without hesitation.
“Russia cannot defeat Ukraine,” added Biden as justification for his Administration’s pro-pain policy toward Americans. The president has repeatedly tried to deflect blame for the growing economic crisis by claiming Russia is solely behind recent inflation. “The reason why gas prices are up is because of Russia. Russia, Russia, Russia,” he said in the same press conference.
But Biden has a big problem: Americans do not believe him. According to a Rasmussen poll earlier this month, only eleven percent of Americans believe Biden’s claim that Russian president Vladimir Putin is to blame for high prices.
The U.S. has long known that sanctions, while causing great suffering to the targeted countries, provides no benefit to America. They are always primarily just revenge against countries who fail to march obediently in lockstep with U.S. demands.
It is hard to keep up but as of the time of writing there are some 44 nations who are currently under U.S. sanctions. This favoured American tool is used to punish countries who displease America. Reasons for said displeasure can range from having the wrong friends, to concocted human rights violations or having an elected Government that doesn’t have the explicit consent of the U.S. Government to rule over the people who elected it. There are too many examples to cite. Russia currently holds the record for having the most sanctions levelled at it, more than 1100 and counting. Companies, institutions and individuals, and even things, yachts and planes can all fall foul of the Empire’s displeasure. Most of these sanctions have been imposed since the start of the Ukraine conflict less than 3 months ago. The stated intention was to try and destroy the Russian economy, as all evidence shows, in that regard the sanctions have failed spectacularly. Mainly because most nations know who was behind the war and wouldn’t join in the anti-Russian narrative or the sanctions. The Russian currency and economy are reaching new heights while the Empire’s close friends in Europe are being crushed under the U.S.-imposed sanctions on Russia. Friends and enemies alike must suffer to satisfy America’s wishes.
The people of Russia and China have a much higher pain threshold than the people of the West. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
Russia-China axis possess food, energy, technology and most of the world’s key resources. History teaches that these elements make the winners in wars
As it dawns on the West that whereas sanctions are deemed capable of bringing countries to their knees, the reality is that such capitulation never has occurred (i.e. Cuba; North Korea; Iran). And, in the case of Russia, it is possible to say that just ain’t going to happen.
Team Biden still has not fully grasped the reasons why. One point is that they picked precisely the wrong economy to try to collapse via sanctions (Russia has minimal foreign supply lines and oodles of valuable commodities). Biden’s staffers too, have never comprehended the full ramifications of Putin’s monetary jujitsu linking the rouble to gold, and the rouble to energy.
An enterprising journalist from Bolivia [Twitter Link] mapped the countries that support the sanctions against Russia (yellow) versus the countries that are not participating in the western sanctions against Russia (grey). The image provides a visual reference to consider our previous discussions about the cleaving of the global economy between two overarching ideologies.
In my estimation this intentional global cleaving, using the opportunity created by the Ukraine crisis, is going to be the major story of this year. This global splitting can be looked at in multiple ways, but the overarching story is the ramifications of two global trade relationships.
The western alliance (in the yellow above), has forced the world to reevaluate the dollar as the global trade currency, by denying Russia and their trade partners the ability to use the financial mechanisms under western control. To work around the sanctions, Russia is working on new financial systems to sell oil and farm products in non-dollar currencies. There is also a possibility the petro-dollar, for the global trade of oil, might be dropped.
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.
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