August 9, 2022

The particular Unending Farce of US Sanctions Against Russia

While the economic sanctions against Russia are helping to impoverish people in that country, they are carrying out a lot of damage elsewhere too

Rather than working diplomatically to resolve the civil war in Ukraine that it played a primary role in precipitating (by backing the unconstitutional exchange of power in that country in 2014), the Biden administration spent the weeks leading up to the Russian intrusion in February assiduously working to make sure “ extreme” economic sanctions could be put in place.

The risk of such additional sanctions, for Washington already got imposed a series of sanctions in 2014, was purportedly meant to deter the invasion. That will having failed, it was then claimed the sanctions would force Russia to the negotiating table.

That will, too, has clearly unsuccessful.

Given the particular centrality of economic combat to Washington’s foreign plan, it is worth exploring the way the Kremlin has managed to keep the Russian economy afloat given that invading Ukraine and the likely wider implications and possible future application vis-à -vis China.

First,   the immediate failure of the ruble was reversed by the actions of the Russian central bank and the treasury. While the former nearly bending interest rates overnight, the latter began spending its accumulated supplies to offset the price pumpiing that began eating into Russian consumers’ purchasing strength. Though locked out of nearly half of its foreign reserves by Washington and its  vassal  allies, the government in Moscow has used its record balance of payments surplus to make up for the temporary loss.

While that balance associated with payments surplus, the result gas and oil sales continuing at reduce volumes but higher prices while imports dropped precipitously, has mitigated the effects of household inflation, currently running with around  17 % , it has not had the opportunity to prevent a sharp contraction in Russia’s economic growth (a contraction of approximately  10 percent   is currently expected over the coming year).

Given that governments from Washington to Greater london, Warsaw, and Vilnius  have made it clear  that they tend not to even favor lifting these types of sanctions in the event of a cessation of hostilities, Russia’s long term growth is likely to be far lacking what it otherwise would have been. Lacking access to Western funds and technology, Russia is going to be increasingly dependent on China, Indian, or other developing financial systems for imports, as well as for a property for its energy exports  as much of Europe moves to drastically decrease and eliminate its dependence on Russian hydrocarbons— though this too will depend on US  sanctions, secondary sanctions, and on US-allied governments and their domestic industries’ willingness to danger running afoul of the US.

Long term, consequently , there is little doubt how the sanctions now in place can make Russia weaker and lesser. Of course , just as at present, it does not take Russian people who will endure the costs of the West’s financial warfare— not their leadership.

As usual, we are expected to believe that the people of the countries targeted by US  economic warfare will blame their own government rather than Washington— that they may even throw off Vladimir Putin and welcome the West! Apart from the fact that through Cuba to Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, et cetera, this has never worked,   Anne Williamson   explained twenty years back that  given that the last time Russia invited the West in, people like Jeffrey Sachs, Larry Summers, and Paul Rubin destroyed the particular economy, handing it in order to oligarchs they ultimately hoped would then hand this to Western multinationals, it could highly unlikely Russians will certainly blame their government for their woes.

Naturally , the Russian people defintely won’t be alone in their present impoverishment. Normal people the world over can also be being made poorer plus weaker by Washington’s procedures. Indeed, while Europeans bare their savings in the face of record-high gas, oil, and food prices, many in the developing world are literally likely to starve long before the war in Ukraine ends— which North Atlantic Treaty Corporation (NATO) secretary general Jens Stoltenberg now says might take years.

These policies have been cheered by Democrats and Republicans alike is not unexpected: America’s Democrats are delusional with hatred for The ussr because they can’t accept that Hillary Clinton failed to beat Donald Trump,   whilst Republicans like Ted Jones are beholden to mercantilist interests— i. e., US  oil and natural gas makers who want to sell to Europe. In the case of the former, even if The ussr did concertedly  try  in order to interfere, it made simply no demonstrable impact on the elections, which even the thoroughly establishment  Economist  confesses; and in the case of the last mentioned, US  gas and oil exports are already climbing towards all-time highs.

As a demonstration of its capacity to force others in line with its policies, and to obtain its own population to bear the consequences, Washington has doubtlessly succeeded in sending its meant message to Beijing more than Taiwan. While Washington’s weaponization of the global financial system does not have any doubt alarmed Chinese Communist Party planners, the fact that their very own population would be quite willing to suffer for the reunification of the country, as well as the fact that numerous countries in the developing planet have eschewed following the West’s example, provide ample cause to doubt the effectiveness of looming sanctions as being a deterrent in the event of another, bigger  Taiwan Strait  crisis.

Not that it prevents the staff at the  Atlantic Council   from daydreaming about this in the runup to a NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION summit focused on saber-rattling in Beijing’s direction.

Because what does a history of failure and mass impoverishment prove if not that next time will be different?

Only when Karl Marx had been right when he said that  history repeats, first since tragedy, then as farce, paraphrasing  Georg Wilhelm Friedrich  Hegel. The truth instead seems to be that we are doomed in order to suffer an unending march of farces under Washington’s continued pursuit of a demonstrably failed and immoral policy.

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