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To sanction or ...what? To sanction or ...what?
by Thanos Kalamidas
2022-04-14 06:55:10
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The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is right when he says again and again that the sanctions don’t work. I have my doubts if he really understands why; his motives are often let’s say …naively confusing but the sanctions DON’T work. Or at least, the sanctions don’t work as their creators in the west would like them to.

The reason is because all these sanctions – however hard they might sound to us - are designed with a western blueprint and they would have hurt seriously – perhaps lethally – every single western economy if applied against them. They would have also worked to a seriously damaging point, to ay non-western economy with a western orientation and western currency dependency. But the Russian economy is only in the surface westernized and the relationship between the Russian rubles and the dollar or the euro is not exactly tight as recently proven.

sanc0001_400The sanctions worked partly with Iraq -in the past, due to the Iraqi’s economic dependency to the dollar when Saddam was still a USA ally and the good guy (we often seem to forget those days) and they did partly work with Iran and Venezuela, perhaps Cuba and Syria, until the economies of those countries …got used to them. ‘Partly’ because the only ones who really suffered with the sanctions were the poorest elements of their societies while the upper classes and the establishment only lost their access to certain luxury consumer products and services; nothing much else.

The poor in those countries found themselves primary lacking medicines – which is inhuman in any way you look at it – and then new and contemporary consumer products, gadgets, cars or mobile telephones. Still and aside the medicines, black-market and smugglers filled the gap the sanctions created and oddly in the end a new economy raised in most of those countries. A new economy based on the black-market that eventually took over the mainstream economy making the sanctions just one more reason and motive to a ...hate-the-Americans propaganda.

Plus the fact that black-market and smugglers worked both ways. Iraq never stopped exporting oil, chemicals or fruits. Even during the Iraq invasion tankers and trucks full of oil or fruits left Iraq through the Turkish (for example) ports, pipes and highways to reach the rest of the world including Europe. For Russia, things regarding especially oil and gas business are much easier since they have an already established a global network that includes the smugglers who marketed globally the Iraqi oil and now they market the Iranian or the Venezuelan oil.

If it was Norway (another oil producer country for example) the same sanctions after three months would have absolutely destroy the economy of the country hitting first the local stock market and immediately after the banks and exports, leading to the end of cash flow, huge bankruptcies, tremendous unemployment and poverty. But Norway has a vast level of dependency with the US dollar, the western stock markets, the western investments, the western consuming machine, the western political influence.

And since we are talking about cash flow, a big part of the British economy (and among many others in Europe, Africa and Asia), enjoys a huge cash flow thanks to the …Russian oligarchs. Ironically all these Russian oligarchs we are hunting today, while using the Russian state, the Russian industry and the so corrupted Rusian banking system to make money they have invested everything in the west and they have actually spent all their money in the west. They literally held the cash flow alive dusing every single crisis in Britiain and you might just ask ...Boris Johnson for that. The Russian oligarchs have nearly become the base of the British economic growth for more than two decades.

So, whilst the mighty economic globalization has succeeded globalizing only poverty, has really failed with everything else including globalizing currency rates for example and that mainly because it was fundamentally based on a western blueprint and American style capitalism. Well, surprise-surprise, Russia has Russian capitalism and China – the third biggest economic player in the economic globalization games – has Chinese capitalism, not always compatible with the American dream. 

Now the best part of that is that two of those three players – EU and euro currency are so lost in these games that there is no reason to include them here – have laso toyed for long with theor currencies but especially with the dollar, so much that often leaves USA feeling numb, very uncomfortable and unable to react.

So, applying economic sanctions based on your economy over economies that are not combatible and can have their own rules doesn’t play very well and in a long term the only one hurting – except the poor and the most needed of the ordinary people – is you own economy.

Therefore, when Zelenskiy says that sanctions don’t work, he is right.

But does he have an ...alternative? Unfortunately his alternative questions his real motives and understanding of the situation. I suppose that Zelenskiy obviously seduced by the – truly brave and unexpected – temporary domination of the Ukrainian David over the Russian Goliath, believes that a united west front will be able to …march in Moscow in three weeks and Putin will find himself in a cage parading the streets of Kyiv by the end of spring.

To start with that sounds just like ...Putin invading Ukraine more than a month ago and him been so sure that in three days, maximum a week, his army will parade in Kyiv. Secondly Russia is not Ukraine. If Putin feels threaten – especially personally threaten - he has nuclear, chemical and biological weapons he has already warn that he can use, and understandably if he uses them we will have a third world war. He know it, We know it, everybody knows it.

Ironically what Zelenskiy misses in this case is firstly the fact that untill the second wave of bombs falls, Ukraine and the Ukrainian people plus Zelenskiy himself will cease existing from any map in the world, and secondly that while it is natural for him to demand help under any cost against the evil that has hit his country the others are NOT ready to sacrifice their people when they don’t feel immediately threaten. 

Furthermore, while Zelenskiy’s anger is fully understandable and excusable, as the leader and responsible of millions should have never leave his anger become hate to the extent of him calling, demanding and often sentimentally blackmailing friends and allies into the elimination of a nation with a global coast he’s not able to afford. It has already started working against him with some in the west.

Perhaps a good step would have been if Zelenskiy stopped playing diplomacy poker and chicken in a geopolitical chessboard where other interests can be stronger than his freedom and actually act diplomacy, simply because sanctions (working on not) is the only thing the west is ready to give him and definitely NOT a …Third World War!


        
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