Topic: Sanctions Against Russia
European Union leaders pose during a group photo at an EU summit in Brussels, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.© AP Photo/ Geert Vanden Wijngaert
It was widely expected that the latest meeting of the European leaders will result in a new round of sanctions. However, the European decision makers opted to postpone the unveiling of new sanctions for a week, offering Russia time to scale back its alleged involvement in Ukraine. That's the official version of events and it is quite likely false.
The real reason for 'postponing' the new sanction round is that the EU leaders desperately needed to save face and avoid a public embarrassment. According to EU diplomatic sources quoted by The Financial Times, Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Cyprus “expressed concerns about a tightened embargo” against Russia. Translated into plain English, this means that four countries vetoed the next round of sanctions, citing concerns about the lack of effect from previous ones and subsequent economic damage from Russian retaliatory measures.
Such interpretation is supported by the fact that at least one of the dissenting European leaders, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico explicitly threatened to veto any new sanctions that could affect Slovakian interests. Given that the European Union adopts decisions by consensus, having four countries that actively oppose Bruxelles' escalation policy, makes the agreement on new sanctions extremely difficult. In this context, the introduction of new token sanctions becomes the most probable scenario.
Sadly, there are people who are so blinded by their Russophobia that they are willing to walk the path of confrontation to the bitter end while underestimating the retaliatory possibilities available to Kremlin. Twitter is awash with angry statement made by American and European politicians whose only desire is to bring back the good old days of the Cold War.
US Senator from Illinois, Mark Kirk demands more sanctions:
The U.S. & the international community need to directly impact #Russia's financial power – stronger financial & energy sanctions are a must.— Mark Kirk (@SenatorKirk) August 30, 2014
Some Polish politicians are ever eager to parrot the views of the American neocons. For instance, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Member of the European Parliament and Vice-President of the European People's Party hopes to make the cost of Russian involvement in Ukraine unbearable:
By sanctions & "by arming and enabling Ukraine's military can West make cost of Putin's war prohibitive for Russia" http://t.co/fsI6hCRzeG— Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (@JSaryuszWolski) August 30, 2014
Sadly, the Mr. Saryusz-Wolski fails to see that an escalation of the sanction war between Russia and the EU will surely destroy the Polish economy that is highly dependent on Russian natural gas and oil. The only saving grace for Poland is that Europe is run by more rational people like Germany's Angela Merkel who is desperately trying to save Europe from a cold winter made even colder by the absence of Russian gas deliveries.
Jim Rickards, former US Department of Defense consultant, investment banker and specialist in financial warfare, is one of the experts who are actively trying to stop the Western politicians from unleashing a scenario in which mutually assured financial destruction is guaranteed:
So far, the voices of experts supporting a diplomatic solution for the latest West vs Russia conflict are few and the Western political establishment is ignoring them. Mutual financial destruction is not a myth, it is a reality of a globalized world. Hopefully, European leaders will soon realize that they're playing with fire and that the best solution is a political deal with Moscow, not an ever escalating war of sanctions.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.