Monday, January 2, 2017

About US Sanctions On Russia (Again)

Since the inception of this blog (in reality much earlier) I preach the "know thy enemy" and "know thyself" gospel since without it the instability in a complex global military-political system grows exponentially. Being aware and being knowledgeable allows to avoid stupid and down right dangerous decisions. But this important lesson is completely lost on many in US Congress and the new 2017 year starts with some "ranking member" of House Intelligence Committee (US "intelligence" by now is a laughing stock of the rest of the world) stating that Congress will have a "vigorous" response to Trump's attempt to reverse US sanctions on Russia. Many times I stated that most of US establishment decision-makers have no clue on how those sanctions affect Russia and, as I stated not for once, it would cause a real shock if they will learn that huge segments of Russian society are... against lifting of the sanctions on Russia. In fact, majority of Russians are against lifting those "Western" sanctions, because they are good for Russia

1. For people whose formative years were spent in law and Wall Street economic faux-reality it is beyond their grasp that "sanctions" do not work and, in fact, discredit those who impose them. Consider Iran who under severe economic decades-long sanctions did not only OK, but fairly well. Well, Russia is not Iran and by a very very long shot. Thanks to Western sanctions on Russia the structure of Russia's GDP finally received a very needed impetus for a change. You may have guessed it already that this change had everything to do with manufacturing sector. Russia simply started to produce more, much more. Even globalists' shill Kudrin had to admit that the outlook for Russia is very good. Well, the growth, of course, is mostly in manufacturing. Even the brief review of Russia's new manufacturing gives a startling picture of impressive, often double-digit, growth especially in machine-building sectors. And here is the question:

2. Why would Donald Trump want to reverse Russia's sanctions? Is Donald Trump Russia's friend? No. Not even close. In fact, large number of contradictions between US and Russia remain and they may yet factor into serious Russian-American geopolitical dance. But Trump, certainly, knows the real state of the affairs inside the US and he (and his team) they know that in order for the United States to have a chance and a time for the recovery, it needs a new geopolitical arrangement with the player who within last 36 months changed geopolitical dynamics in the most dramatic fashion is an absolute must. This player is Russia and it will be really stupid, not to say embarrassing, to start the negotiations with the counterpart while having it under laughable sanctions. Make no mistake, there are still those who think that US could have imposed much heavier sanctions which could have "hurt" Russia. One of them is Dmitry Simes who passes in US as "Russia expert", because he can speak Russian and can communicate with Russia's uber-liberal "intelligentsia", who is as clueless about its own country as most of US "Russian studies" field. Yes, Simes thinks still that: What President Obama has actually done is to try to use excessively dramatic rhetoric to camouflage a remarkably weak response. For two years, his administration has carefully avoided sanctions that might actually affect Russian behavior, such as sanctions on the Russian Central Bank and other pillars of Russia’s financial system. Steps like this could impose serious costs on the Russian economy and on Mr. Putin’s ability to govern. (c)

Obviously, Simes is not capable (granted his closeness to late Richard Nixon, a man, together with Kissinger, responsible for growing US real serious opponent and rival--China) to even understand that attack on Russia's Central bank would have had a dramatically disastrous for US reaction which would have resulted, first, in a catastrophic reputational damage and, second, in the emergence of  the alternative, not US Dollar-driven, financial system--the process which is ongoing now anyway, but at much slower pace. But calculating consequences of own actions is not a strength of US Russia's "expertdom", infested with a lot of Soviet Jewish ex-pats who have about the same understanding of Russia as I have of Planet Zoltar.  In the end, the stupidity of the above excerpt is simply incomprehensible.  It is also indicative of a desperation within US "political class" of which Trump is keenly aware. Will he go for reversal of US sanctions on Russia? He probably will and this will create a shitstorm in US media and Congress.

3. Reality, however, is such that US "sanctions" on Russia are merely some, at the most, inconvenience and, for the most part, are of very little consequence. So, the reversal of sanctions in this case could merely be a good will gesture and a sign to negotiations' counterpart. Yes, this gesture is important: "The forms must be obeyed"(c). Trump knows this and he, being real American patriot, needs at least a pause in US decline and, if being smart enough, a reversal of it. This means only one thing--changing of geopolitical posture away from unsustainable (and greatly overrated) unipolarity (aka Pax Americana) which is being demolished as I type this. This means the change of the global order. This change, however, may come only with clear formulation of the American national interests. I can formulate one right now, right here--avoid any escalations which may lead to global war. We, actually, barely escaped one (and still not out of the woods with loonies in CIA, Pentagon and State Dept. still in place) recently. 

And here comes this very interesting question: does US have legitimate national interests (apart from obvious defense of Homeland) which may require (and justify) a war? I think US does have such interests, and being still a global power, and "World's Island", as Elmo Zumwalt used to say, she has a claim to control of a significant real estate, aka sphere of influence. How large is this sphere (it is going to be large) will be one of the major discussion points in what seems to be, as some already named it, a "new Yalta". Better late than never. As Pat Buchanan noted: The Russian people, having extended a hand in friendship and seen it slapped away, cheered the ouster of the accommodating Boris Yeltsin and the arrival of an autocratic strong man who would make Russia respected again. We ourselves prepared the path for Vladimir Putin.(c)

Will this "new Yalta" be the meeting of players trying to give it another, second chance for what could be a magnificent play, or will it be a meeting of once high school sweethearts, now married to a different people, having own families and life, getting to the bar to have a drink or two and then part ways never to see each-other again? I don't know, but the world surely has changed and continues to change and that is why I usually do not give any predictions. After all, a life, same as a war, is probabilistic and stochastic and we may only hope for the better, not count on it.

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