Talking about history. This was published today 160 years ago by The Economist on the risks of fighting Russia. Three days later, Britain declared war.
Sanctions against Russia are wholly justified legally because the Crimea annexation violated the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the Treaty on the Dissolution of the Soviet Union of Almaty December 1991, the Budapest Memorandum on Ukraines denuclearization of December 1994, the Russia-Ukraine Friendship Treaty of 1997, and the Sevastopol Naval Base Treaty of 1997. The two most obvious precedentsIraqs annexation of Kuwait in 1990 and Nazi Germanys annexation of Austria in 1938lead us to the right ballpark of international law. The actual state of affairs between Russian and Ukraine is war. A rethinking of how to deal with Russia economically and financially derives from that fact.
It’s interesting to see some of the roots of WWI laid out right there — Bismarck’s goal with his treaty system was to diplomatically isolate and basically hamstring France, while ensuring Prussian/Russian cooperation and collusion in the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire, and simultaneously building a commercial network into the Middle East with the O.E. as the overland link. He was the great political mind of the 19th century, and his machinations built a general European peace that lasted nearly forty years, and required three quick, limited wars to put the whole thing together.