Ukraine: Sanctions


Weeks ago, the German press was reporting that Biden had taken off the table what was said to be one of the most effective sanctions against Russia, i.e., removing Russia from the SWIFT system.  Reuters reported the German article but did not independently confirm the story.  Then, a whole group of articles started to appear in the Western press about how removing Russia from SWIFT could backfire on Western economies.

On Friday, U.S. officials admitted that it was unlikely that any sanctions package would include removal of Russia from the SWIFT system.  The corporate media (to my knowledge) has yet to ask a government official what the purpose was of taking SWIFT off the table at a time when President Zelensky is begging for sanctions.

The Journal, a podcast of the Wall Street Journal, is reporting that the “crippling sanctions” threatened by the Biden administration are likely not to be effective.  The reason is simple.  The only sanctions that will seriously hurt Russia are those involving cutting off revenues from gas and oil.  As the commentator notes, this is unlikely to happen.

Germany needs Russian gas.  Germany is trying to transition off both coal and nuclear.  Some experts don’t think Germany is even able to do without Russian gas.  The pipeline gave Germany access to cheap gas for the first time.  Before, they were buying more expensive gas from other pipelines.  Now, Germany is Russia’s biggest customer.

Even though Biden blithely announced that if Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. would stop Nordstream 2, it is unclear that he can do that. 

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