Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Russia, the West, sanctions, and the changing economies.

I wrote this in September 2008. Does it still apply?

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Just a few weeks ago Russia and the West were facing off against each other over Georgia and its provinces of South Ossetia and Abkahsia. And when the West told Russia that if it didn't back off and allow Georgia to regain those two provinces, it would impose economic sanctions. Russia responded by telling the West that any sanctions would hurt the West more than it would hurt them.

When Russia came out of the Soviet Era it was weak, and the West ripped it off by forcing it into deals that Russia had no choice but to make but over which it has been brooding ever since.

And the feeling in Russia was that now that it had a strong economy it wasn't going to put up with being pushed around with the threat of economic sanctions.

And that's what we heard from Russian diplomats and ministers. I love their plain speaking. When asked about the consequences of sanctions, the Foreign Minister said in that dry kind of Russian voice we all like to imitate, "we won't lose any sleep over it."

Oh how those past few weeks have changed things. The Russian stock market is heading for catastrophic failure and the government is pumping cash into its economy to stem a failure in the markets that must be making the U.S. and the West smile, and the Russians wishing they hadn't spoken.


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