Imposing Sanctions Will Have Costs For Both Sides
Sanctions On Russia Will Have Ramifications
Russia has responded to threats of potential sanctions by the West by asserting it will cease to permit inspectors to monitor its nuclear weapons if they are enacted.
But sanctions are questionable given Europe’s close trade ties with Russia, which have blossomed in the last five years. For example, Germany gets half of its oil from Russia and 40 percent of its gas supplies flow through Ukraine. For the Baltic states, the stakes are even higher.
Francisco Blanch, a commodities strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch tells London’s Telegraph there is a risk to imposing sanctions.
“If you implemented sanctions similar to those on Iran, it would be like shooting yourself in the foot. The Brent [oil] price is almost $110 a barrel. If you impose sanctions on Russia, you’re going to send the energy price through the roof and countries will slip into recession,” he says.
The fact is that in a world globalized and interconnected by trade, sanctions are a punitive measure which can negatively impact both sides. The interconnectedness, however, may also explain why what happens in Ukraine does not stay in Ukraine.
If this is a new incarnation of the Cold War, it will be very different from the old one.
The rules of the old Cold War are different from those of the new. Following World War II, the Soviet Union’s sphere of trade largely was confined to its allies, but the world is a far more globalized place.
The New York Times’ Floyd Norris notes, there is much debate about whether Russia or the West have a greater “ability to frustrate the other” in terms of inflicting economic punishment.
“On the one hand, Russia is a major supplier of energy to Western Europe. If it cut off its natural gas exports, several countries — notably the Netherlands — would have a hard time coping. On the other hand, energy accounts for most of Russia’s exports. Its supply of foreign currency reserves could be depleted rapidly if cash from Western Europe stopped arriving,” Norris says in laying out the complicated playing field of today’s Cold War.
For Some, The Crisis In Crimea Is Personal
It is said that one can lose the battle, but win the war. For many in Ukraine, the invasion by Russia is personal and life-changing. According to Vitaly Portnikov, the battle for Crimea may have been lost, the war for Ukraine can be won.
Portnikov writes that for many Russians in Ukraine, “there is no longer any Russia of any kind. There is only an occupier, treacherous and mindless,” as well as a global community now sympathetic to Ukraine’s fight for freedom.
A Christian’s Life In Syria
Antoine Audo, president of the Catholic aid charity Caritas, describes the bleak life in Syria as a Christian.
“The health system has also fallen apart. In the hospitals, many doctors have been threatened and forced to flee, so people fear that if they do get injured there will be no one to treat them. I thank God for the few brave surgeons who have stayed.
“Most people here are now unemployed, and – without work – daily life lacks a purpose. People have no way to wash and their clothes are ragged. We have almost no electricity, and depression reigns at night. But when the darkness comes, I take courage from the fact that it was not always like this,” he writes.
But, Audo says, Christians have a “crucial role” to play by providing humanitarian aid