This is another installment in the ongoing Ukrainian Crisis series. I wrote an article a few days ago about the path forward in the crisis for the West, and now I am going into detail about the sanctions possibility.
As Russia has now effectively taken control of Crimea, we are weighing our options on how to isolate them. The invasion of Crimea was illegal in regard to international law, and there must be consequences for those responsible.
I am going to say up-front: We must continue to try diplomacy. Even if we are able to get Russia to withdraw from Crimea, which is my hope, we must make sure that it never happens again. We cannot treat Russia like we have North Korea, where, if a nation acts up, we give them aid packages to calm them down for a short period of time. This makes us look incompetent and is inspiration for other nations that like to cause trouble.
If we are to impose sanctions on Russia in response to the occupation of Crimea, we must do it right. We cannot, while isolating Russia, also isolate ourselves. This is why my belief is that we must ally ourselves with our greatest international partner, the UK.
The United Kingdom (I will for now on refer to as Great Britain) is a major investor in Russia. In investments, Great Britain invests about $77 billion dollars USD in the Russian economy. Great Britain agrees with us that Russia must be isolated, with the Prime Minister David Cameron (@David_Cameron) tweeting, “There must be significant costs if they [Russia] don’t change course”
I truly believe that the path forward in regards to any foreign affairs in the United States is our “special relationship” with Great Britain. In this situation, our combined investments in Russia equal $92 billion dollars USD. We should freeze Russian assets and put sanctions on the economic sectors that affect Russian government officials. The financially-poor Russians are not to blame in this, so we should, initially, impose sanctions on industries such as precious jewels, automobiles, alcohol (Russians love the taste and money made off vodka) and some oil corporations.
Now, unfortunately, Europe will lose some of the natural gas they use in the crisis. I would like to explain two points on this, though. One, the crisis is going to result in Russia’s freeze of natural gas trade in Europe with or without sanctions, so we might as well get some positive out of it. Two, Russia will lose much more out of sanctions than we would. Their economy is less stable and less well-rounded than ours. They, in the long run, will lose a lot more finances than we will.
I focus on Great Britain in this article because the EU is trying to offer an “off-ramp” for Putin. I understand where they are coming from, but we need to make sure this will not continue nor will happen again. Great Britain is the least out of the EU nations to pursue this course, and unarguably is more closely allied with us than mainland Europe. We need the European Union’s help, but, if they are not looking into sanctions, we must take action at least with one other world power. I would like to see South Korea on our side of the sanctions argument too, and this is a course that may be taken.
If another “Iron Curtain” is to be pulled across Europe, which I strongly do not want to happen and will work to prevent, we must be the protectors of democracy and freedom again, and need our ally Great Britain the most. Our world is at a tipping point, and the path we take from here may be as influential on this century as the Warsaw Pact was on the last.