Skip to comments.Russia Has Upper Hand in Ukraine, No Meaningful Sanctions Coming
Posted on 03/06/2014 8:58:52 AM PST by Kaslin
Will there be any meaningful sanctions against Russia for invading Crimea? The answer is no, and a comparison to Iran will show why.
It was easy enough to impose sanctions on Iran because there was no meaningful trade with Iran other than oil. And global oil supply can come from anywhere.
Secondly, and unlike the US which has little trade with Russia, Germany, the UK, and other European countries do have meaningful trade with Russia.
Finally, Germany gets 30% of its natural gas supply from Russia. Impose severe sanctions and Russia can shut down those supply lines, most of which happen to run through Ukraine.
Obama can pretend to put down a tough stance, but don't expect any meaningful reaction globally. Events are already firming up along those lines.
UK Says No to Sanctions
Two days ago the Guardian reported secret documents photographed outside No 10 Downing Street [the Prime Minister's Office] state that 'London's financial centre' should not be closed to Russians.
The picture of the document was taken by the freelance photographer Steve Back, who specialises in spotting secret documents carried openly by officials entering Downing Street. The document was in the hands of an unnamed official attending a meeting of the national security council (NSC) called by the prime minister to discuss the Ukrainian crisis.
The document said Britain should:
"Not support, for now, trade sanctions or close London's financial centre to Russians."
Be prepared to join other EU countries in imposing "visa restrictions/travel bans" on Russian officials.
Former US presidential candidate Senator John McCain said he was "disappointed" by the UK's position and said European countries were "ignoring the lessons of history".
Asked if it was right to avoid such sanctions, he said: "Of course not. I am not astonished, to be very frank with you. Disappointed, but not astonished."
McCain Wants Missiles in Czech Republic
I am disappointed but hardly astonished that McCain's solution is to put missiles in the Czech Republic.
Splits Emerge in Wests Stance on Russia
Today, the Financial Times reported Splits Emerge in Wests Stance on Russia.
The wests diplomatic efforts to counter Russias takeover of Crimea faced setbacks on multiple fronts on Wednesday as the Kremlin refused to engage with the new Ukrainian government and allies themselves were at loggerheads over how tough a line to take with Moscow.
The refusal of Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, to meet his Ukrainian counterpart cast a shadow over talks in Paris, the US and Russias first top-level meeting since the crisis intensified last week.
At the same time, a US-led push for allied agreement to impose sanctions on Russia also faltered with the strong resistance of Germany, which was prepared only to cut off visa liberalisation and trade agreement talks with Russia.
Natural Gas and More
Theyre afraid if we do something the Russians will hit back, said a senior EU official involved in summit planning.
You bet. The fear goes beyond natural gas.
Andrei Klishas, a Russian senator, said he was preparing countermeasures which could come into effect if sanctions were imposed on Russia.
The proposed legislation would allow us to freeze the assets of European and American companies including private ones working in our country, he told the pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia.
There would be serious repercussions to McCain's idea of sanctions coupled with placing US missiles in the Czech Republic. And how would McCain pay for those missiles? He does not say.
Either McCain cannot think clearly, or worse yet he can and would welcome another global war.
Culture of Engagement
Also consider Ukraine crisis tests Berlins new culture of engagement.
German chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday faces the first test of a new foreign policy sketched out by her ministers in recent weeks; a culture of engagement intended to replace Germanys postwar culture of restraint.
But while Berlin has played a more active role in the wests response to Ukraine, the debate over how to react to Russias troop deployment there has illustrated the limits of Germanys new assertiveness.
With deep commercial ties to Russia, Germany has been a leading voice against sanctions. There is no backing in Berlin for measures that go beyond the suspension of talks on a Russia-EU trade agreement and visa liberalisation.
Germany is also arguing that any western aid to Kiev should come with tough economic conditions, supervised by the International Monetary Fund. It has opposed Polish efforts to accelerate the signing of the EU-Ukraine free trade agreement, partly out of fear of further irritating Vladimir Putin, Russian president.
German business leaders point out the US has far less to lose from sanctions American companies account for 3.8 per cent of Russian imports, compared with a share of nearly 10 per cent for German business.
Germany is deeply dependent on Gazprom for its energy needs. It is the single largest buyer of Russian natural gas. More than a third of Germanys gas imports came from Russia in 2012, according to government data.
Sympathy for Russia is widespread. Even conservative and habitually pro-American newspapers such as Die Welt have carried editorials warning against demonising Moscow. The west should hug Putin, was the headline.
Meaningful sanctions? Forget about them.
It’s a foregone conclusion that Crimea is now Back in the USSR..........
Pretty shameful, IMO. All the guarantees given to Ukraine by us and Brits are not worth the paper they were written on. Just like any agreement with Russia.
This is a done deal.
This could have been stopped before it started. Unfortunately president Candyass is a coward who didn’t even believe it would happen and didn’t have the stones to go to Russia during the Olympics to try to head it off by diplomatic means. Instead President Candyass was too busy bitching about gay rights in Russia.
sanctions are a cowards way of not dealing with a situation, a very passive ‘action’.
If the Brits and the Germans don’t feel threatened, who are we to object? Of course, if Europe’s major powers have stopped worrying about the Russians, why does NATO even exist any more? Time to bring the boys home.
100% agreement, CC. You are on the money.
First, Russia has controlled Ukraine since about Peter the Great.
Second is the why. They have not and WILL not give this up:
- The rich dark soil and the vast fields of wheat and other food products have earned Ukraine the nickname "bread basket of Europe."
- According to the CIA World Factbook, Ukraine produced 25% of all agricultural output in the former Soviet Union. Today, Ukraine exports substantial amounts of grain, vegetables, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, milk and meat.
- Exports (including non-food exports) go to Russia, 20%; the countries of the European Union, 17%; China, 7%; Turkey, 6%; and the U.S. 4%.
- In addition, food processing, especially sugar processing, is an important industrial segment. Nearly one out of four workers in Ukraine is employed in agriculture or forestry related endeavors.
Stay the hell out it. It’s Russian business with what are essentially Russians with funny accents. If they start going after Poland or Romania or the Czechs, etc, that’s something else. But this is essentially an inter-Russian struggle.
Well, we do know the one thing on which he truly is focused like a laser beam.
“Not support, for now, trade sanctions or close London’s financial centre to Russians.”
IOW, the banksters don’t want to lose their cut of the Russian kleptocracy because that’s what pays for their ferraris and hookers. The west is weak and rudderless now. Putin will surely notice that.
All of this could have been avoided if the witch Nuland and her Neo-Con masters had not funded the violent overthrow of the freely-elected Ukrainian government. That violated “norms”. Now Russia is violating “norms”.
Ukraine was going to have elections next year. That was what should have happened.
The Neo-Cons have now broken Ukraine. Like they broke other nations. A trail of destruction.
Its a foregone conclusion that Crimea is now Back in the USSR..........
A projection of weakness by the west guarantees this won’t be the last foreign adventure authored by this murdering KGB thug.
Your Soros Derangement Syndrome needs treatment.
Both sides will get exactly what they want and the media will declare a new era of global cooperation.
Plus, Putin gets to keep the Super Bowl Ring.
Unless the Ukrainians put up a fight, there's nothing to talk about. Currently, the Ukrainian strategy seems to be to have the West do its fighting. No thanks. The Patriots had to stage an armed revolution based on donations from wealthy landowners and businessmen before the French started providing material support. The Ukrainians have the resources of a organized nation state at their disposal. Until they sacrifice their young men, they can't expect anybody else to render significant assistance, given their tenuous history with the West. As Jefferson once said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots ..."
The Crimea is also the only year round deepwater port Russia has access to.
It has nothing to do with agreeing or disagreeing with Russia. It just is what it is and by the time this president is gone, the Crimea will be part of Russia again.
You say with one breath that Ukrainians are Nazis, and with another breath that the Jews have broken Ukraine? This is precisely what Snyder was referring to when he wrote in NYB:
Yet it is the Ukrainian (and Russian) regime(s) rather than its opponents that resorts to anti-Semitism, instructing its riot police that the opposition is led by Jews. In other words, the Ukrainian (and Russian) government is telling itself that its opponents are Jews and us that its opponents are Nazis.