People in our government are calling on further sanctions on Russia.
Then again, our government is threatening most of the countries on the planet with some form of sanctions. What’s new?
Let’s take a look at sanctions. How they work in the real world and what the effects are in the broader perspective.
Sanctions are not a magic wand. They do not happen in a vacuum. They have real effects and real consequences not only to the country being sanctioned but to their trading partners.
Look at past trade sanctions on Russia. What effect did they have on Russia? Yes, in the short term they caused some hardship in Russia. To the citizens, not the government so much. Past sanctions were enacted while Putin was in office. Did that cause them to eject Putin from office? Not so much. He was not president from 2008–2011 but then regained office in 2012. He is likely to win again this year. If other countries enacted sanctions on us, would it cause you to reject our president? Or harden your support? (If you supported the current president. If you already do not, that point would be moot.)
In the long term, previous sanctions on Russia caused them to do what is reasonable. They developed entire new industries and technologies. Russia is now the world leader in oil and gas production. They are also the world’s largest grain exporter. They expanded agriculture and developed new technologies for arctic drilling without spending money on foreign contracts. They have started producing cheese on a mass scale.
So the real effects are that trading partners in other countries lost business, sometimes to the point of their own failure. Jobs lost, revenue gone. Because Russia expanded development, that trade will NEVER be regained if sanctions were lifted. What they once bought, they now sell.
Up to the present. If more sanctions are placed on Russia, what would that mean to other countries?
Gas and oil- This would result in restriction of fuel and oil based supplies. Trading countries would have to find alternative suppliers. The remaining suppliers would not have adequate production to replace the world’s largest supplier, so there would be oil and gas shortages almost globally. Utility bills would increase drastically. Very strong possibility of gas shortages leading to circumstances similar to what happened in the 1970’s. Lines at gas pumps, stations running out of gas, gasoline prices over $5 a gallon. Many people in the US at the lower end of the income scale would suffer and die from lack of heat and power.
Grain- This would result in higher prices for wheat, bread, pasta, beer, anything having to do with wheat. In some cases it would lead to malnutrition and even starvation and death. This is NOT an exaggeration.
The ultimate end point is that this would result in global inflation on all real physical products.
How would these sanctions be enforced? Why, with threats of sanctions against any country that violated the sanctions, of course!
Sanctions are not peaceful. They are considered acts of war. They have the potential to cause actual harm and death.
Even the threat of these sanctions are another aspect of an expanding trade war the US is waging against all other countries. Add this to the tariffs being levied on other products. This is all theater and nothing else. Being waged for the benefit of corporate masters who run our government. The same members of CONgress who are attacking Trump for not enacting sanctions on Russia are the SAME people attacking his tariffs. But it is all part of a larger effort which is coordinated to cause inflation, job loss, shortage and desperation. It is all for profit and power, nothing else.
So, before you either cheer for sanctions or consider them benign actions which will not affect you personally, think again. The reality is far removed.