FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

No Winners in a Sanctions War

by RENEE PARSONS

I’ve never missed George Carlin as much as in the last week when some of the most utterly preposterous political pronouncements have been foisted upon the American public as gospel truth.   For the young’uns among us who may have missed the brilliance of Carlin, he was a biting political satirist, a comic of clear-eyed integrity who possessed an unparalleled ability to point out the lies, the inconsistencies and utter absurdity of the political elites as sociopathic fools in a country gone loco.

Carlin had great instincts and recognized valuable political comedic material when he saw it and the buffoonery of US Secretary of State John Kerry laying roses at a Kiev memorial and making the sign of the cross would have been one of his all-time favorites.  We can only imagine Carlin’s utter delight in sticking it to the ever-righteous Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as he shared a stage with a very grim reaper neo-Nazi Oleh Tynahabok appearing as if he had just crawled out of the dark dank depths of Transylvania or bring his razor-sharp insights to the photo of a mediocre President Obama dressed in denim as he struck a Reagan-esque pose (minus the cowboy hat) in the Oval Office talking tough to Russian President Vladimir Putin.   It would not have escaped Carlin’s eagle-eye to ridicule Hillary Clinton’s lust for political power, her willingness to reveal her neo-con leanings with Victoria Nuland as her State Department spokesperson and as a supporter of the Iraq war, devotee of AIPAC and Israel.   Nor would he have missed her mimic of former Clinton Secretary of State Madeline Albright in comparing Adolf Hitler to Vladimir Putin’s policy in Ukraine.

With Carlin’s passing, we are left to ferret out the truth for ourselves, to identify what is principled and what is nefarious, challenged to dig deep and see for ourselves without benefit of Carlin’s laser vision through the maze of deceits and obfuscations deliberately meant to confuse and befuddle the American public.

Not enough can be said about the depth of the President and Kerry‘s do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do double standard of the last few weeks as many capable writers have already identified.  My personal favorite has been Kerry telling a Kiev citizen that “we hope Russia will respect the election you are going to have” –  uttered within days of irrefutable evidence of US involvement in deposing a democratically-elected President – that is until Obama’s meeting with “Yats”, (Yatsenyuk of the famed recording with Assistant US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland  dictating Ukraine’s new leadership) at the White House.   During their side-by-side chat, Obama unbelievably declared that Ukraine “cannot have an outside country dictate to them how to arrange their affairs…”  in a statement filled with outright  fabrications and deceits.

The President’s March 6 statement regarding his Executive Order  oddly entitled “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine” declaring a “national emergency” laid the foundation for the long-term US goal of destabilizing Putin and reducing Russia to an inconsequential, irrelevant force.   We can assume that recollections of Putin’s leadership in blocking a US attack on Syria still sting at the White House.

The President’s statement identified the threat as those persons that “undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, [which] constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”   The largely symbolic Executive Order went on to restrict travel of certain individuals (not Vladimir Putin), announced unspecified economic sanctions  including a plea to “let international monitors into all of Ukraine” and that “… if this violation of international law continues, the resolve of the United States…will remain firm.”

It all makes you wonder who is writing this stuff?  Have they no shame, no sense of history or an active conscience?   And what “unusual and extraordinary threat to national security” exists?   Under what circumstances will “international monitors” be allowed into the US?  And presumably the mention of “persons” did not refer to Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for Europe or US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, both of whom spent considerable energy on behalf of American taxpayers creating crisis in the streets designed to overthrow the country’s legitimate government including its President Viktor Yanukovych.

Assuming that Bush holdover neo-cons at State are running the show and there is no reason to believe they are not, has anyone informed the President that in an international  global economy, what happens in one country may very well spill over onto its neighbors; that one country’s economic ills are not limited to its borders but may spread beyond its immediate geographic region to the entire global economy?  Did any of those geniuses at the EU or IMF inform the President that economic isolation is a thing of the past?

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives supported a measure (HR 4152) on a 386-23 vote to approve a $1 billion loan guarantee sought by the Obama Administration while the Senate is expected to act this week.   It would be enlightening to compare Congressional votes to determine which Members  support bailing out the interim Ukrainian government but not millions of Americans applying for food stamps or unemployment insurance.

While economic sanctions have become a favorite punitive tool of US foreign policy against Third World countries to make them financially and politically beholden to US interests, sanctions on Russia is a another matter entirely.   Unlike their US counterparts, Putin and his erudite Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov know how the game is played, as a bevy of US corporations doing business in Russia (ie Pepsi, Coca Cola, McDonalds, IBM, GM etc.) can expect to have their assets frozen.

So whatever form sanctions may take, have any of those geniuses at the White House or in Congress considered that economic sanctions might encourage Russia to accelerate its search for an alternative currency to replace the sinking dollar?   Have the President or Kerry considered the impacts of freezing Russia’s assets that will also freeze its ability to repay its loans to US banks?  How about the scenario that if Russia gets really pissed off and decides to sell its US currency assets  estimated at around $200-300 billion in Treasury bonds, have  any of those aforementioned geniuses considered how the US economy will respond and, in that event, what are the risks of a widespread economic collapse?  Russia has, of course, been instrumental in the BRICS (Brazil, India, China, South Africa and Russia) coalition that has been moving away from the dollar as the basis for international reserve currency and in proposing a development bank to lessen dependence on western financial institutions.

In another scenario, have any of those EU or US movers-and-shakers considered the impacts of Ukraine’s missed payment of $1.89 billion to Gazprom, the Russian-owned petroleum company which supplies Ukraine with more than 50% of its gas.  Putin has already announced that Gazprom will no longer offer a promised 33% discount or provide a $15 billion aid package.  Currently, Gazprom supplies 25% of Europe’s gas requirements.

Oops… I was mistaken.    There are jokesters in today’s politics – just not the funny kind.  

Renee Parsons was a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives and a lobbyist on nuclear energy issues with Friends of the Earth.  in 2005, she was elected to the Durango City Council and served as Councilor and Mayor.  Currently, she is a member of the Treasure Coast ACLU Board.

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
March 23, 2017
Chip Gibbons
Crusader-in-Chief: the Strange Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Michael J. Sainato
Cybersecurity Firm That Attributed DNC Hacks to Russia May Have Fabricated Russia Hacking in Ukraine
Chuck Collins
Underwater Nation: As the Rich Thrive, the Rest of Us Sink
CJ Hopkins
The United States of Cognitive Dissonance
Howard Lisnoff
BDS, Women’s Rights, Human Rights and the Failings of Security States
Mike Whitney
Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate
John Wight
Martin McGuinness: Man of War who Fought for Peace in Ireland
Linn Washington Jr.
Ryancare Wreckage
Eileen Appelbaum
What We Learned From Just Two Pages of Trump’s Tax Returns
Mark Weisbrot
Ecuador’s Elections: Why National Sovereignty Matters
Thomas Knapp
It’s Time to End America’s Longest War
Chris Zinda
Aggregate Journalism at Salon
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail