Daniel Drezner on sanctions against Russia

by on March 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm in Current Affairs, History, Law, Political Science, Uncategorized | Permalink

The piece is here, here is one excerpt:

The only case of economic coercion succeeding in a similar case in history was the 1956 Suez crisis. In that case, Britain, France, and Israel withdrew their forces from the Suez Canal following a U.S.-inspired run on the pound sterling. Except that the Suez case is not at all similar to Russia/Crimea. Britain was a treaty ally of the United States; not so much with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The Suez was far away from British soil; the Crimea is just across the Sea of Azov. And, perhaps most importantly, Britain was in a fragile economic state trying to protect a fixed exchange rate. Russia’s economy has its problems, but a shortage of hard currency reserves ain’t one of them.

So the conditions under which sanctions would force Russia’s hand in Ukraine are far from ideal. The proposed sanctions coalition is equally flawed, however, as my FP colleague Colum Lynch has noted. European Union leaders are not exactly keen on the idea of broad-based economic sanctions, for understandable reasons. Britain needs Russian finance capital; the rest of Europe needs Russian energy. France is traditionally the most hawkish country in Europe, but that country is too busy planning to export warships to Russia to organize European sanctions.

And here is Dan’s conclusion:

Sorry, but the fact remains that sanctions will not force Russia out of the Crimea. This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be imposed. Indeed, there are two excellent reasons why the United States should orchestrate and then implement as tough a set of sanctions on Russia as it can muster. First, this problem is going to crop up again…

Second, while sanctions cannot solve this problem on their own, they can be part of the solution. Over the long term, Russia does need to export energy to finance its government and fuel economic growth. Even if planned sanctions won’t bite in the present, the anticipation of tougher economic coercion to come is a powerful lever in international bargaining.

My earlier post on Drezner on sanctions is here.

1 Dan in Philly March 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Government thinking: “We must do something.”
“This [economic sanctions] is something.”
“Therefore, we must do this.”

I don’t see a whole lot of examples in history of economic sanctions actually doing anything except giving politicians something to talk about. Not that I’m in favor of war in this case, but I personally can’t see why America as a country should care much about who controls the Crimea, or if we do have any vested interest in the outcome why we have any right to determine it.

2 Finch March 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Do you think America as a country should care much about Russian tanks rolling across the Rhine? If you do, it might make sense to try and change things before they get out of hand.

I don’t consider that a likely outcome, but I really don’t want to be wrong. Furthermore, the Crimea has already been lost so there’s nothing really to be done for it. But with several recent defeats or embarrassments in the Mideast, and a resurgent Russia, we may want to reconsider our approach to foreign policy. Firing Kerry and a reconsideration of recently proposed defense spending might be in order. Encouraging Germany to spend a little more might help.

I agree that sanctions don’t seem like an obvious path forward. How exactly are they supposed to help? Threaten Putin with something that actually concerns him: deploy an effective medium-scale missile defense system. Develop and deploy the means to defeat his nuclear arsenal with conventional weapons. Those are real consequences for a man whose goal is power. The Russian nuclear arsenal is the source of his power.

3 Finch March 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm

> Those are real consequences for a man whose goal is power.

I don’t mean to imply he’s evil here. As far as I can tell, Putin views himself as the good guy, standing between Russia and the ascension of a Hitler or Stalin.

4 BC March 8, 2014 at 7:57 am

“Threaten Putin with something that actually concerns him: deploy an effective medium-scale missile defense system …”

I had a similar thought. It seems like we have been presented a false choice between military intervention, which almost no one favors, and economic sanctions, which many doubt will be effective. It doesn’t seem like much consideration has been given to what one might call “geopolitical sanctions”. One example would be deploying the type of missile defense systems in Poland and Czech Republic that Putin objected to and Obama scrapped in 2009. In fact, any of the accommodations/restraint that we previously made for Putin in pursuit of the ill-fated “reset” can now be revisited. For example, we could pursue, or threaten to pursue, more NATO expansion into Eastern Europe, including Ukraine. That could be used as leverage to get Putin out of Crimea. If Putin refused to leave, then admitting Ukraine into NATO would put NATO at Putin’s doorstep. The message would be clear, to both Putin and anyone watching (such as China): if you pursue aggression and disrupt the status quo to strengthen your geopolitical hand, then we will revisit other aspects of the status quo and there will be significant risk that your geopolitical hand will actually end up weaker. It seems to me that “geopolitical sanctions” are much better matched than economic sanctions to geopolitical aggression.

5 DJF March 8, 2014 at 8:27 am

But didn’t the US swear up and down that missile defense in Poland would not be effective against Russian missiles so the Russians were just being paranoid about it?

So which is it, are the missiles effective or is this just a big propaganda exercise that will cost the US billions?

And of course if the Europeans think they need missile defense why don’t the Europeans pay for it?

6 Andao March 9, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Exactly. The US swore up and down that the missile defense was target towards Iran. If they give Poland the missile system now, it’ll be handing the Russians a propaganda victory. See? The US was plotting against us all along.

7 mishka March 8, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Nice. Admit to NATO a country whose population is overwhelmingly against NATO? Yet another smart move. Besides, what would be a better incentive to just annex the whole country before the ink dries?

8 steve March 8, 2014 at 9:55 pm

The SM3’s we have deployed there are what you describe. They have actually worried the Russians much more than the GBIs we were planning first. If anything, the deployment of those missiles may have played a part in pushing Putin’s actions in the Crimea.


9 guest March 8, 2014 at 9:57 pm

overwhelmingly against NATO? After being invaded without one shot being fired? Good try, comrade.

10 GC March 10, 2014 at 6:17 am

“guest”, the majority of the Crimean population has the same feelings about the invading Russian forces as the Kossovo population had about the American one: they are pretty welcomed, with a 15-20% of the population that see them as invaders (the tatars and ethnic ukrainians are teh Mitrovica Serbs of Crimea). you might want to look a bit more into the ethnic composition of Crimea and its history before throwing in such silliness as “Good try, comrade.”

11 ummm March 7, 2014 at 3:02 pm

agree. a watch and wait approach is the best

12 ummm March 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm

as time passes, the odds of Obama screwing up approaches one
Putin and obama are ideological opposites.

Obama is a wealth spreader. putin a wealth creator. Obama is uxorious whereas putin exudes toughness.

Here is evidence Putin has renounced his ties to the KGB

13 Anony March 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm

You’re laying the act on a little thick today

14 Alan March 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm

wealth spreader v wealth accumulator makes more sense.

15 mulp March 7, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Putin creates wealth by pillage plunder, selling the spoils to the EU, then using the profits to make loans to the Ukrainian government which buys spoils for $4 and sells them to the Ukrainian people for $1 because the shock of ending communism where gas was free is too hard to accept as the price of liberty.

Now John Boehner calls for the US to sell the rewards of pillage and plunder to Ukraine at a lower price than Putin will and presumably win the business by making more generous loans to the Ukrainian government without requiring an end to the political corruption, with US taxpayer backing up the debt to keep selling gas at 25% of the current market price.

Of course, continuing to sekk job killing fossil fuels to Ukrainians will ensurethe Ukrainian factories remain idle and unemployment remains high, We can’t allow the Ukrainians to employ the factories and unemployed to manufacture and install heat pumps and build and set up wind generators because it is far better if Ukrainians operate in the free market of free money from someplace else.

Ukraine must become a great power in the global economy using the Reagan model of borrowing from frenemies and laboring less to build productive assets, instead of creating wealth by borrowing and spending.

16 Bill March 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm

I think it is funny that the focus is on the US, and not on Merkel and the EU.

The side effect–win or lose–is that Eastern Europe will push Germany more in the direction of being confrontational with Russia.

The most important sanctions would be those emanating from the EU.

17 yo March 8, 2014 at 2:08 am

I think to a German this comment would seem strange. You don’t seem to realize that relations between Germany and Russia are at a high point now, especially since they granted asylum to Snowden. US-German relations are already quite bad as they are, due to the spying and idiot IP trade demands coming from the US. A lot of trade and investment recently, and bam, the Germans’ chief worry is that the crisis might endanger trade relations!

18 Bill March 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm

I think to a German this would seem strange as well.

How effective are the sanctions of a sieve?

19 GC March 10, 2014 at 6:23 am

You do know, yes, that the former chancellor of Germany works for Gazprom (and started working there one month after having been voted out of office), that Germany is closing down its nuclear powerplants (which means becoming even more dependant on Russian gass in the mid term), that Russia is the third largest non EU trading partner of Germany and 11th overall?

besides, the last time Germany (and was a very different Germany) was confrontational against Russia it didn’t really end that well for everyone involved…

20 Dan Weber March 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Sanctions hurt both sides.

1. How bad would sanctions hurt Europe?

2. How bad would sanctions hurt Russia?

Oil is very fungible, but gas requires infrastructure (pipelines) for shipping and those pipes cannot be easily moved.

And if China doesn’t play along, is it worth bothering at all?

21 Crimea River March 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm

China is playing along already for its own reasons, or have you seen any natural gas infrastructure between abundant Russia and energy starved China? If the EU antitrust fellas give Gazprom the Google, Facebook, Microsoft treatment where will Russia get petro/gas dollars from?

22 AIG March 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm

There are multiple gas pipelines being build (and planned) that will go around Russia and Ukraine to Azerbaijan and Middle East. So sooner or later, Russia’s monopoly on gas to Europe will be broken, and Europe is actively looking to break this monopoly.

Second, some countries in Europe are re-starting their power plant building, mainly coal, to reduce dependence on Russian gas.Third, the only real customer for Russia’s gas is Europe, as China has plenty of coal for its needs. Putin knows that the gravy train isn’t going to last forever.

23 Pat MacAuley March 7, 2014 at 9:57 pm

China will not cooperate on sanctions and probably will help Russia defeat them. Today there was an opinion piece in Xinhua that strongly criticized Western involvement in Ukraine and congratulated the Russian counterstroke (although it recommended a “complete Ukraine”). Xinhua is the press organ of the Chinese Communist party and this editorial couldn’t have been published without approval from very high levels in the China power structure.

In my opinion these sanctions would serve mostly to restart the Cold War, with China far stronger than before. China’s long-range plan anticipates a major conflict in the South China Sea, and China wants Russia on its side. These sanctions will push them closer together and and raise Russian hostility to the US and NATO.

24 Andao March 9, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Interesting, I’m sure if plain clothes Indian soldiers entered Tibet, then Tibet planned a referendum to join India, they’d be singing a different tune. Really, supporting Russia here hurts China a lot more than helps them.

If I were in charge in Beijing, I’d be cursing out the Russians left and right. Then the US/EU feel free to go through with sanctions. Then since Putin doesn’t have any oil/gas buyers, I buy all the fuel on the cheap.

25 Z March 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm

The question of sanctions, it seems to me, starts with the cost to America. Politicians carry on like there’s only one side of the ledger. When a country imposes sanctions on another country, it has to know it can bear the cost first. Otherwise it is self-defeating. The second question is whether there is any chance of the sanctions changing behavior. Symbolic sanctions always harm the sanctioning nation. In this case, there’s no sanctions we can tolerate that will have any impact on Russia.

The right answer is for Obama to realize his foreign policy team is a train wreck. At least when comes to Eurasia, they are getting chased off the field by Putin’s team. He needs to reach out to some old Russian hands and bring a few into his inner circle. These are the folks who can talk to the Russians. The problem is the Americans trusted in Moscow are not consulted by Obama. Instead he sends out climbers looking to make a name for themselves, but with no credibility in Moscow.

26 PD Shaw March 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Those aren’t the only costs though. As Putin explained in his letter to the NYTimes last September:

“The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security. Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. We are left with talk of the need to strengthen nonproliferation, when in reality this is being eroded.”

What I hear Putin saying is that breaches of international law create uncertainty costs. Imposing a sanction, though not sufficient to reverse the action, may reduce uncertainty.

27 Z March 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm

My read is that international law works for those with the strength to ignore international law when it is in their interest. If Russia was a country without nukes, they would get them so they would not be forced to dance to the tune of international law. Iran is just following the Russian example.

At some point, we are going to have to figure out how to deal with guys like Putin.

28 laddeff March 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm

What’s wrong with leaving him alone?

29 Z March 7, 2014 at 6:17 pm

That would be my policy.

30 Edward Burke March 7, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Meanwhile, the clock with less than six months on its timer continues to tick in those oh-so-recently, formerly crucial negotiations with the Iranians. How is US insistence in urging or implementing sanctions being construed in advancing those talks? (Gee, whatever happened to Syria?) How long before we discover just what US-Iran diplomacy can yield in the time remaining?

And has anyone unambiguously confirmed the contents of the EU deal that Yanukovych rejected in November: was Ukrainian compliance with NATO ambitions formally a part of the rejected package or no? Ambassador Matlock has raised the matter, but I hear no clarifications from DC or from our journalistic fraternity.

31 Brett Dunbar March 7, 2014 at 5:48 pm

One lesson Iran might draw from this is nuclear weapons are really useful; if Ukraine still had nukes I doubt Putin would have tried invading.

32 GC March 10, 2014 at 6:28 am

of course, Ukraine never actually had nukes in the first place.

That said, including countries bordering Russia within the NATO has been understandable when Russia was on its knees in the early 90s, but adding Georgia or Ukraine today is suicidal: buffer countries have existed for centuries to answer a very precise geopolitical need, which is not ot have adversaries sharing a border.. and we are just pushing with our elbows to get to the russian border… what for?

33 Crimea River March 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Actually, Russia’s threatened economic sanctions turned Ukraine away from the EU deal in the first place.

34 NK March 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm

The claim is laughable.
Russia will not be deterred by silly sanctions.
Obama is a terrorist. It wasn’t long ago that he failed to overthrow Syrian government and now he and MIC are trying to destabilize another country.

35 dearieme March 7, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Apparently Russia need fear economic sanctions from the USA only if she becomes America’s ally.

36 AIG March 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm

There are a few differences between Russia and other cases of state sanctions. Russian capital is in the hands of a few oligarchs who are willing to switch Putin for someone else, if pressured enough. They hold the real power, which is why Putin tried so hard to marginalize the other oligarchs who weren’t in his sphere (they financed all the opposition, all the press etc. So with them gone, there is no independent press or independent opposition).

These oligarchs want to invest their money outside of Russia. So the most effective way of pressuring political change in Russia is to limit their ability to move their money, and their ability to physically move.

Of course, Putin knows all this, which is why he is creating a police state, and drumming up nationalistic sentiment and nostalgia for the USSR. After all, the communists and neo-fascist parties in Russia are the ones who win the most votes after Putin’s party.

37 Deripaska et al. March 7, 2014 at 5:24 pm

That’s the way. Broad economic sanctions won’t work. Same with suspending visas of members of “United Russia” and Putin’s administration. Put ruthless sanctions on few hundred or so wealthiest Putin’s oligarch cronies and Vladimir will be on the street in a month. Not sure about legality though. BTW, Gary Kasparov is the strongest public advocate of this approach.

38 Walter Antoniotti March 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Why not split the country in two with the Russian speaking non catholic east being one country and the non Russian speaking catholic west another? Kissinger told Rose that one country was best but Charlie didn’t ask why!

39 Harold March 8, 2014 at 4:28 am

We were also oft told it was imperative not to split Iraq into three, and likewise never told exactly why. Perhaps Iraq’s and Ukraine’s diversity like America’s is their greatest strength? Does Ukraine have any lucrative and unequally distributed natural resources to make a split contentious? How about a Swiss canton system? How does that work?

40 John Thacker March 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm

First, this problem is going to crop up again…

But surely, if the academics who say that “credibility” doesn’t mean anything re: invasions and red lines are correct, then it won’t hurt the USA at all to not do sanctions here, since they won’t work; other nations will continue to believe that we’d be equally likely to use them in a situation where they would work even if we don’t use them here.

I agree with the statement that “credibility” isn’t a huge factor, but pretending that all actions of state actors are completely determined by some universally agreed-upon value function seems even less likely than pure Homo economicus, especially since there’s a relatively small number of countries led by a relatively small number of people.

41 John B. in NE March 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm

One of the levers the US does have is cheap domestic gas. If the administration wants to hurt Russia, it can sign the permits to convert the Gulf gas plants for export and the permits for pipelines and grant waivers from that law which prohibits export of crude oil. All executive action, no wait for Congress needed. The US price of natural gas is much lower than the price the Europeans pay for Russian gas, even with the cost of transport.

Unfortunately, this would lead to a small rise in the domestic price of natural gas and oil and there would be domestic complaints. But it wouldn’t rise any higher than the current European price and it would _really_ hurt Russian exports.

42 Steve Sailer March 7, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Sounds reasonable.

43 Finch March 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm


But we should do this regardless of the crisis in Ukraine, not because of the crisis in Ukraine.

44 Steve Sailer March 7, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Ross Douthat’s “Five Theses on Ukraine” are sensible:


Henry Kissinger’s WaPo oped was excellent, too.

45 mulp March 7, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Let’s say that the EU spent $100 million per day on operating costs and depreciation for energy capital assets: ground source heat pumps, solar and wind generation, and other labor intensive energy sources instead of paying $100 million per day for natural gas produced with very little labor in comparison.

What is the advantage of paying $100 million per day to Putin to use to buy control over people by subsidizing them not working?

Putin has the huge amount per day to use as bribes and other incentives because the production of natural gas requires very little labor but gets priced against labor intensive substitutes like wind, solar, battery electric power, labor intensive capital like ground source heat pumps, high efficiency labor intensive capital assets.

You can’t pump an energy efficient house out of the ground, but you can heat a cheap low labor shell with natural gas to get the same comfort, if Putin is willing to subsidize the gas you need to heat it.

Russia is in decline because it no longer depends primarily on human labor to be a superpower, but instead pillages and plunders its natural assets to buy power. Putin is looking at Russian history over a century or more, but he’s trying to restore the empire by pillage and plunder – mining – that can’t reasonably go on for more than a century as the means of empire.

The best sanction on Putin or other states that pillage and plunder their territory is to stop buying what they sell to end their power before nature does when the limits of the earth are reached. Even Texas with all the new investment in pillage and plunder is producing a fraction of what it did at its peak in 1972 – the production boom from fracking would need to double Texas production from the current levels that are already about double what they were in 2009 when Obama took office.

46 Andao March 10, 2014 at 4:29 am

Gas is more efficient. So actually you might need $300 million per day on renewables instead of $100 million on Putin gas. Poor peoples don’t care where the power comes from, as long as they can afford it.

47 artigas March 7, 2014 at 8:53 pm

The EU and US can and should impose “smart sanctions” on Russia. For example, an 10% import tariff on Russian exports, including petroleum and gas to western markets. Any money raised should then be put aside in a “solidarity fund” to help fund any economic dislocation caused by Russian actions to vulnerable EU economies or to help the future reconstruction of the Ukrainian economy. Since the vast bulk of Russian exports are bulk commodities, they have little discretionary pricing power,the Russians will have to essentially bear the burden of the tax themselves by discounting their FOB prices to match prevailing market prices. The tariff can then be ratcheted up or down depending on political developments. Let Russia pay the price for its destabilisation of Ukraine and its economy and put the West on a path of finding alternatives to Russian “conflict” commodities.

48 Eric March 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm

I read that Napoleon had once said, “Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.”. I think the writer has failed to look at this, because sanctions will not be of that help.In China’s neighbour is India another dormant powerhouse who are always willing to get cheap gas supply to try and control their fiscal deficit. And surely it will with Moscows already planned railway development of connecting it to the East. So probably a rethink of strategies is the need of the hour.

49 William Wright March 7, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Sanctions for what? The US government intervened to set up a friendly government in Ukraine, At worst, the Russian government did the same thing with Crimea. You have to be nuts to think there’s a basis for sanctions against Russia.

50 Mr. Econotarian March 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm

The US did not send large number of military forces to the Ukraine, and did not scuttle a cruiser to block a Ukrainian naval base.

If the Crimea voted for independence without being surrounded by the Russian Army & Navy, I think we would be in a very different situation.

51 Pat MacAuley March 8, 2014 at 9:32 pm

If there were no Russian troops in Crimea, then the Ukrainians wouldn’t let the Crimeans have the referendum. The USA should focus its efforts on ensuring that the referendum is a clean election instead of trying to prevent it from happening.

52 Li Zhi March 8, 2014 at 12:19 am

Has anyone predicted that its now certain the Iranian deal will implode? Not only will Iran hardliners see the benefit of nuclear arms, but it will be child’s play for Iran to play Russia against the USA in negating (most) sanctions. I find it odd that one comment here suggested that protection was the motivation, lmfao. Iran is the bully in the mid-east and wants hegemony, and will probably get it as Obama stumbles around with his head up where the sun don’t shine.
Putin is 60, we need to find an Oswald (Ukrainian version). He is a threat that needs to be dealt with while we maintain (more than) plausible deniability. The judgement ought to be that the chances of his replacement being more dangerous vs his competence at nibbling his way back into Empire.
Why is a repeat of the 1930’s European appeasement our problem? Let the EU deal with it. A plausible case can be made that Crimea should never have left Russian Union, same with South Ossetia and maybe Abkhazia…Doesn’t anyone think it ironic that Sochi is only 20 miles from Russian occupied Abkhazia (Georgia)? If you were Putin, what message would you hear with the entire world visiting you while your troops 20 miles away occupy another country? Talk about the theory that Europe is so corrupt (or war weary, take your pick) that its no longer a viable civilization, and only awaits the next barbarian to fall… Where were the voices in the USA protesting the Olympic Games, not to mention the G8…

53 Pierre March 8, 2014 at 4:34 am

I think French pundits have been predicting the collapse of the US in the next 10 years for the last 50 years.
I guess predictions about the fall of Europe have about the same validity.

54 Li Zhi March 8, 2014 at 12:23 am

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing…

55 Harold March 8, 2014 at 4:19 am

It is also necessary for evil men to do something. Usually they consider themselves to be good men not doing nothing.

56 Pierre March 8, 2014 at 4:35 am

So the US is good and Russia is bad?
That is a pretty childish view.
Russia is just like the US: supporting friendly governments wherever they need them.

57 Harold March 8, 2014 at 5:06 am

They’re all bad guys in my view. I was objecting to the aphorism as much as anything else. The road to hell being paved with good intentions, it seems as likely to be used to induce action when the cause is, in actuality, unjust as it is when the cause is just. First, do no harm.

58 AIG March 8, 2014 at 7:49 am

With the possible exception that the sort of governments Russia supports are the sort of governments that you wouldn’t want to live in. Moral equivalency, eh?

59 Pierre March 8, 2014 at 8:20 am

@AIG. This is just not true. Among American-supported governments in the world are a VERY BIG number of dictatoships.
Think Africa, Middle-East, South America. And personaly I would not like to leave under those regimes.

60 AIG March 8, 2014 at 5:42 pm

There are a very…small…number of dictatorships around the world to begin with. 99% of them are financed, supported and armed by Russia. 1% may be by the US, but even in those cases, I’d still take that kind of a dictatorship over the kind that Russia supports. (i.e. a right-wing dictatorship vs a left-wing dictatorship)

Please feel free to provide examples to the contrary. But moral relativism, isn’t going to fly.

61 William Wright March 8, 2014 at 9:21 am

Harold, nicely said.

62 Benjamin Cole March 8, 2014 at 3:03 am

The USA thrived and prospered when the Ukraine was part of the SU. Now Putin, a thug-monkey is charge of a nation of alcoholics, call it a “thug-alco-utopia,” gets the Crimea back. Big whoop. The Ukraine is often rated as one of the most corrupt nations on earth, one reason its economy does poop, and Western businesses stay away. I should care about this?

Send in the Pope—that might actually work. Putin will have a tough time hurting the Pope.

My next hit song, sing to the tune of Volare, is, “Ah, Cry for me, Crimea!” Gather ’round.

63 ummm March 8, 2014 at 3:58 am

In 2008 Russia invaded Georgia and nothing happened. yet somehow the liberals and blogs thinks we’re on the verge of ww3 even though unlike the 2008 invasion there has yet to be a single casualty. Like Germany invasion of Poland all over again.

Now we have the liberal john stewart joining obama in taking aim at putin


republicans and libertarians need to stand up for Russia’s sovereignty rather than let the left drug us into an economic standoff.

64 AIG March 8, 2014 at 7:52 am

Sovereignty includes invading other countries? Jeeze. I knew lots of “libertarians” in the US were likely on Putin’s payroll, with their cozy relationship with RT.

65 F. Lynx Pardinus March 8, 2014 at 6:47 am

As an aside, the one thing that’s stuck with me through this whole crisis is the bizarreness of watching commenters on the sundry political blogs trying to cram international law, sanctions, credibility, etc, into domestic left-right, liberal-conservative categories.

66 Nathan W March 8, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Didn’t “we” win the Cold War largely on the back of superior economic growth under a market system?

Sure, they have their gas, but if they can’t outgrow us they can’t outgun us in the long run (or in the short run, unless we let them).

So … what’s the worry? Why not come up with a story where everyone can look not-too-crazy while saving face for the home audience?

67 GC March 10, 2014 at 6:31 am

The worry is that over the last 20 years the US (and Europe) has overspent that economic growth advantage. See the debt level and balance of payments of all the western countries against Russia and China.

And that i based on the assumption that you can really go to all out war with Russia for a piece of land bordering Russia itself, whose inhabitants are mostly Russian and which, considering the nuclear arsenals, is really a mind game you should not want to play.

68 nike air max 95 March 13, 2014 at 3:19 am

The Dalai clique takes for granted that with the backing of the only superpower in the world, there is hope for so-called “Tibet independence.” In fact, the U.S. has not met all of the Dalai Lama’s demands.

69 GC March 13, 2014 at 5:00 am

Chinese totally out of context troll much?

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