The new round of sanctions this week unleashed by the United States on Russia has only one meaning: the US rulers want to crush Russia’s economy. By any definition, Washington is, in effect, declaring war on Russia.
The implemented economic measures may have a seemingly abstract or sterile quality about them: banning electronic exports to Russia, rattling financial markets, stock prices falling. But the material consequence is that American officials are intending to inflict physical damage on Russian society and Russian people.
It’s economic warfare on a sliding scale to military warfare, as the Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz would no doubt appreciate.
It seems all the more significant that this week also saw US internet services launching a major clampdown on anti-war websites, suggesting that the powers-that-be want to shut down any criticism or public awareness of their reckless warmongering.
What’s more, the latest round of US sanctions – there have been several previous rounds since the contrived Ukrainian conflict in 2014 – is based on nothing but wild, ridiculous speculation. That only adds insult upon injury.
Washington said the new proposed sanctions are due to its “determination” that the Russian state was responsible for an alleged chemical-weapon attack on a former double agent in England earlier this year.
The so-called Skripal affair involving Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia allegedly being poisoned by Russian agents using a deadly nerve agent is as yet an unproven conundrum. Some might even say “farce”.
No evidence has ever been presented by the British government to substantiate its sensational allegations against Moscow. Its claims that Russia was responsible for poisoning the Skripals rests entirely on dubious assertion and innuendo.
Now Washington is proposing sanctions based on a wholly unverified “determination” by the British – sanctions that are intended to crush the Russian economy. The proposed punitive measures go way beyond the usual freezing of assets pertaining to individuals. What Washington is moving to do is attack the core financial operation of the Russian economy.
No wonder that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued a grave response to the latest American sanctions. He said they were comparable to “economic warfare”. Medvedev warned that Moscow would have to retaliate either “politically, economically or in some other way”. Medvedev’s tone was unmistakably one of alarm at the draconian, gratuitous and irrational nature of the US actions.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also expressed incredulity and apprehension over Washington’s conduct. He said that following the seemingly constructive summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last month, this latest provocation from Washington makes the American side completely unpredictable.
The immediate sanctions coming into force are limited to banning exports of US electronics to Russia. But it’s what comes next that is perplexing. Washington is saying that if Russia does not give a “guarantee” on halting the future use of chemical weapons, and if Moscow does not allow international inspectors into its country to monitor alleged chemical weapons – then the second wave of sanctions will be applied within 90 days.
The subsequent round of sanctions include banning Russian state-owned airline, Aeroflot, from operating flights to the US. The impossibility of Russia meeting Washington’s absurd demands make the further application of sanctions inevitable.
A separate bill is passing through Congress which is planning to hit the Russian banking system, aimed at preventing international transactions.
Senators sponsoring that bill have labelled it “the sanctions bill from hell”. The title of the proposed legislation says it all: “Defending American Society From Russian Aggression Act”. Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez and Ben Cardin, among other Russophobes who are pushing the bill, are explicit about the objective. They say the measures implemented will “crush the Kremlin”.
Tragically, the American people are being led to the abyss by politicians who are either ignorant, insane or prostitutes for war profits. Maybe even all of the above. Perversely, these politicians and their media clients accuse Russia of “acts of war” over fantastical claims about “election interference” when in reality it is they who are the ones committing acts of war against Russia.
The chances are paltry that President Trump will use his executive power to block the forthcoming sanctions. The political climate in the US among the intelligence agencies, lawmakers and the mainstream media has become saturated with anti-Russian hysteria. The US is an oligarchy in throes of insanity beyond democratic accountable to its people.
Already this week’s announcement of more offensive economic incursions on Russia sent the Russian economy plummeting. The ruble, bonds and stocks all nosedived. This is an attack on Russia’s vital interests. An economic Barbarossa.
No doubt part of the American calculation is to foment social discontent and discord towards the Putin government. It’s the same illegal playbook that the Americans are using with Iran, whose economy this week was also hit with draconian US sanctions.
If Russia’s economy has been thrown into turmoil already over the latest announced sanctions one can only imagine the damage inflicted when further American attacks are mounted on the fundamentals of Russia’s banking system and its freedom to trade with the rest of the world.
For Washington this seems to be open season for sanctions. It’s not just Russia and Iran on the receiving end. China, Canada, the European Union, Turkey, Venezuela, North Korea, among others, are also being battered with American economic warfare, either under the name of “sanctions” or indirectly using the rhetoric of “tariffs”.
For Russia’s part, it has shown immense forbearance up to now in tolerating Washington’s provocations and indeed aggression over numerous pretexts. From the conflict in Ukraine, to the alleged annexation of Crimea, to Moscow’s principled support for Syria being traduced as “supporting a dictator”, to alleged “meddling in US elections”, and much more, Russia has shown huge reserves of stoicism and self-discipline in tolerating what can only be called gratuitous American aggression.
At all times, Russia has maintained a dignified, unflappable posture in the face of American taunting and irrationality. Moscow perhaps thought that President Trump could bring some normality to bilateral relations. That’s turned out illusory.
But what happens now? When Washington has really gone too far. The US has taken its churlish conduct to a whole new dangerous level, by preparing to launch a full-on economic war on Russia’s vital interests.
The crazed American rulers are pushing the world to the brink by their belligerence.
Washington has heretofore given notice that it is not interested in diplomacy, dialogue, or negotiation. It only has one mode of conduct – war, war, war.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.