In the biggest power grab since George Bush seized Eastern Europe and converted it into a NATO bastion confronting Russia, the Obama regime, together with the EU, financed and organized a violent putsch in the Ukraine which established a puppet regime in Kiev. In response the citizens of the autonomous Crimean region, fearing the onslaught of cultural and political repression, organized self-defense militia and pressured the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin to help protect them from armed incursions by the NATO-backed coup regime in Kiev. Russia responded to the Crimean appeal with promises of military assistance – effectively halting further Western absorption of the entire region.
Immediately following the proxy putsch the entire US-EU propaganda machine spun into high gear. The nature of the Western power grab of the Ukraine was ignored. Russia’s defensive action in Crimea became the focus of media and Western government attacks. Unconditional support for the for the violent seizure of the Ukraine by the US and EU-backed coup was broadcast by the West’s entire stable of journalistic hacks and accompanied by screeds calling for measures to destabilize the Russian Federation itself through a full-scale economic and diplomatic war. The US and EU convoked meetings and press conferences calling for trade and investment sanctions. Threats emerged from the White House and Brussels calling for a “freeze of Russian assets” in Western banks, if Moscow did not hand over the Crimea to the coup regime in Kiev. Russian capitulation became the price of mending East-West ties.
The Obama regime and a host of US Congress people, media pundits and policy advisers called for, or engaged in, imposing sanctions on strategic sectors of the Russian economy, including its financial assets in the West. Opinions in Europe divided over this issue: England, France and the rabidly anti-Russian regimes of Central Europe (especially Poland and the Czech Republic) pushed for harsh sanctions, while Germany, Italy and the Netherlands were more measured in their response (Financial Times, 3/5/14, p. 2).
The Washington-based advocates for imposing sanctions against Russia view this as an opportunity to: (1) punish Russia for acceding to the Crimean autonomous government’s call for defense against the Kiev putsch by activating Russian troops stationed in the region; (2) weaken Russia’s economy and isolate it politically from its major Western trading and investment partners; (3) legitimatize the violent seizure of power by neo-liberal and neo-Nazi clients of the US; and (4) promote destabilization within the borders of the Russian Federation. At a minimum, economic sanctions have become an aggressive tool for energizing the corrupt pro-Western elites and oligarchs in Russia to influence the Putin government to accept the de-facto regime in Kiev and deliver the autonomous Crimean nation into their hands.
“Sanctions” are seen by the White House advisers as: (1) projecting US power, (2) securing the Ukraine as a strategic new base for NATO, (3) ethnically cleansing this diverse and complicated region of its Russian-speaking minority and (4) opening the Ukraine for the whole-sale plunder of its economic and natural resources by Western multinational corporations.
The Obama regime cites the “success” of the financial and economic sanctions against Iran as a ‘model’ for what can be achieved with Russia: A weakened economy, diminution of its trade, destabilizing its currency and provoking consumer scarcities and mass unrest. (FT 03/05/2014 p.2) Secretary of US State John Kerry is pushing for more extreme forms of economic reprisals: trade and investment sanctions, which obviously could lead to a break in diplomatic relations.(FT 03/05/2014 p.1)
Impact of Sanctions on Russia, the US and EU
Energy and financial sanctions on Russia, assuming that they can be imposed, would have a severe impact on Russian energy companies, its oligarchs and bankers. Trade and investment agreements would have to be abrogated. As a result Europe, which relies on Russian oil and gas imports for 30% of its energy needs, would slip back into an economic recession (FT 03/05/2014 p.2). The US is in no position to replace these energy shortfalls. In other words, trade and investment sanctions against the Russian Federation would have a ‘boomerang effect’ – especially against Germany, the economic ‘locomotor’ of the European Union.