Can U.S. sanctions hurt or stop Russia’s plans with Ukraine?
By Roger Caldwell
America would still like to believe that we are the financial and territorial police around the world, but every major country is inter-related from many different perspectives. If the United States decides to escalate sanctions against Russia, it would also cause economic damage to Europe. In many European countries such as Greece and Spain their unemployment is at 25 percent, and the youth unemployment is at 40 percent.
Europe is still in a deep recession, and it makes no sense for President Obama to threaten and warn President Putin with sanctions and consequences over Ukraine. This is a Russian territorial disagreement that has gone on for 30 years, and many of the residents believe they are part of the Russian empire.
In the last five years President Obama has been able to steer clear of major confrontations with major international countries. But when our President draws red lines in the sand, he may be biting off more than he can chew. When Putin has 15,000 troops on the border of Ukraine, he has a plan, and the United States is not going to stop their strategy. From a diplomatic and financial perspective the two countries ideologies are different, and our President is walking on thin ice.
Ian Talley of the Wall Street Journal says, “So why did President Obama publicly warn Putin that armed aggression against Ukraine would lead to “consequences”? What “consequences” did Obama have in mind? To put it another way, what cache of consequences could the United States fling at Moscow that would make Putin or any other Russian leader change his behavior, or alter his cost-benefit calculus, when it comes to Ukraine.”
Russia has invested a $15 billion aid program in Ukraine and from a financial and political perspective; Putin is protecting his country’s interest. Ukraine is much more important to Russia than it is to the United States, or any other Western European nation. It is very easy for President Obama to blow hot air and talk about “consequences,” but Russia knows that no country in the world wants violence or disorder.
There are times when the correct strategy is to keep your mouth shut, and pay no attention to the media. The talking heads will call you all the negative names in the book, but once President Obama makes a threat, he cannot take it back.
In 2008, President Bush threatened consequences to Putin for invading Georgia, another former Soviet state. The United States was not able to do anything to stop Putin, so we closed our mouth, and Russia continued with its plan. This incident should have taught the present administration, that America has little influence over the affairs of Russia.
Nevertheless, Present Obama and his administration decided to flex their muscles, and it looks like we are creating a mess that can explode in our face. It is estimated that European banks have around $150 billion in claims in Russia, and they are still recovering from the financial crisis. As America escalates sanctions against Russia, it could cause Russia to default on its loans.
No bank in the world wants Russia to default on its loans, and that includes the United States. It may be easier if America stops talking, and tell the media that secret talks are taking place, and the countries are making progress.
America is not going to stop Putin and Russia, and we are not the international police of the world. It is better for President Obama to take a few steps backward, and continue diplomatic negotiations in secret and in private, and keep the media disengaged. When an agreement is reached, than the media can be re-engaged, and the United States can be promoted as a hero for democracy.