Those are some "sanctions" on Russia, eh? My head is just reeling! So much testosterone in the air!
These "sanctions" are so powerful, so worthy of a mighty nation such as the United States, so in accord with all the hoopla raised over Putin's moves on Ukraine that . . . the Moscow stock exchange jumped upward several percentage points today. Putin and Lavrov must be "trembling" as Russia's economy keeps on chugging.
The "sanctions" are pathetic and absurd. They do, however, fit in with the sort of thing I noted before when discussing sanctions on Russia and how this misadministration would use them,
[S]anctions are supposed to be targeted, smart, appropriate--come up with your own tired cliche--and are meant to show a steely resolve, but a flexible steely resolve, that inflicts pain without being too painful, and doesn't hurt anybody too much and who is too important and who might get angry and do something nasty back at us. In other words, it's nonsense that often does less than nothing, and many times makes you look weak and silly in the eyes of your opponent.Think I got that prediction nailed down pretty well.
If anything, Obama's sanctions are even more absurd than I could have imagined. We learn that they are aimed at seven, yes, seven Russians and four Ukrainians whom Obama considers particularly offensive and bearing a special onus for the Crimea crisis,
"We are imposing sanctions on specific individuals for undermining the sovereignty, territorial integrity and government of Ukraine," Obama said."We are making it clear that there are consequences for their actions."
The high-level government officials named by the White House are: Vladislav Surkov, Sergey Glazyev, Leonid Slutsky, Andrei Klishas, Valentina Matviyenko, Dmitry Rogozin, and Yelena Mizulina.
Surkov and Glazyev are presidential advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The five others hold various positions in the Russian parliament and Russian government.
The punitive measure -- which will almost certainly heighten tensions between U.S. and Russia -- does not target Putin directly.
The sanctions focus on the individual personal assets, but not companies that the officials may manage on behalf of the Russian state. Any assets that the individuals have in U.S. jurisdiction have been frozen and Americans are prohibited from doing business with them.
In addition, the Treasury Department announced it is imposing sanctions against former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, former Ukrainian presidential chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk as well as Crimea-based separatist leaders Sergey Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov.OK, could we look any sillier and weaker? We are going to "sanction" seven Russians, thereby making them instant heroes in Russia. Notice any names missing? How about Putin and Lavrov for starters? Nah, those guys are powerful and mean, and might actually do something, better to pick on a collection of near nobodies.
I am positively ashamed that we have a leadership so inept that it flogs its weakness and ineptness like some sort of honor. There is nothing we can do to stop Putin from taking Crimea and probably another chunk or two of Ukraine. There, however, are things we can do right away, without ever saying "sanctions," that would strengthen our position in the world and weaken Russia's economy, national budget, and war machine, but which this misadministration has refused to do. Frack! Drill! Dig coal! Unleash the enormous US energy resources on the world market; just an announcement that we are doing this would drive down the price of oil $10-20/barrel, strengthen the dollar, and hit the Russians hard in the pocketbook. Once we started fracking, drilling, and digging in earnest, Russia would be in deep trouble as would other problem children such as Venezuela, Ecuador, and Iran.
But, no; instead, we will prevent Sergey Glazyev from buying a Buick and visiting Disneyworld.