Washington's sanctions 'own goal'
noun: (in soccer) a goal scored inadvertently when the ball is struck into the goal by a player on the defensive team.
Time and time again Washington has tightened Russian sanctions in an effort to crush the Russian economy. When virtually every legal outlet had been sanctioned, Washington has turned to sanctioning third parties that cooperate with Russia.
So what is the net effect of all of these sanctions?
The Russian stock market has reached record highs this year but still has room to climb further in coming months before paring gains towards the end of 2020, a Reuters poll of market experts found...
The rouble-based MOEX index has reached an all-time high of 3,009.1 in November, taking its year-to-date gain to over 25%, and is seen finishing this year at 3,000.
That's not exactly what Washington had in mind.
However the real kicker is this.
North American investors, led fully by Wall Street, account for over half of the foreign capital flowing into Russian stocks, according to the Moscow Exchange. By comparison, Russia’s next door neighbors in Europe account for only 26%.
So what is happening is that Washington is punishing Europe for cooperating with Russia, while turning a blind eye to when their Wall Street donors cooperate with Russia.
As you may have guessed, this has created some hard feelings.
Speaking on German TV, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the sanctions were an infringement of sovereignty...
The US sanctions have also angered Russia and the European Union, which says it should be able to decide its own energy policies.
"As a matter of principle, the EU opposes the imposition of sanctions against EU companies conducting legitimate business," a spokesman for the trading bloc told AFP news agency on Saturday.
Imagine that: countries making their own policy decisions that don't align with Washington's interests? What's the world coming to?
Allseas, a Dutch-Swiss private company, is going to be significantly harmed by the newest sanctions, and it will delay the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (but it will only delay it).
However, there is a bright side to all of this.
While it costs Moscow hundreds of millions in lost income and additional investments, the country is benefitting on a geostrategic and political level.
For a mere $9.5 billion, NS2’s price tag, Moscow has unintentionally managed to drive another wedge between key Western allies. Berlin is furious about the sanctions and its already fraught relations with Washington are set to escalate even further. According to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the American sanctions amount to “interference in autonomous decisions taken in Europe.”
What is certain is that NS2 will be completed eventually. Most of the work on the 1,230 kilometer or 765 mile long pipeline has already been finished. Also, the vast majority of the $9.5 billion in investments have already been spent.
Much like our GWOT, we've reached a point in sanctions where staying the course just makes things worse.
It isn't just Russia. The Muslim world is looking for an alternative trading system to avoid sanctions that Washington hasn't even threatened yet.
Iran, Malaysia, Turkey and Qatar are considering trading among themselves in gold and through a barter system as a hedge against any future economic sanctions on them, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Saturday.
...“I have suggested that we re-visit the idea of trading using the gold dinar and barter trade among us,” Mahathir said, referring to the Islamic medieval gold coin.
“We are seriously looking into this and we hope that we will be able to find a mechanism to put it into effect.”
The leaders agreed they needed do more business among themselves and trade in each other’s currencies.
You know that you are using sanctions too much when other nations expect to be sanctioned by you before you even consider doing it.
As for the gold dinar, this is what was proposed by Libya's former leader Gaddafi, and also what got him eventually killed.
The most recent batch of Clinton emails reveals perhaps the most bizarre morsel of Blumenthal-baked intelligence to date. An April 2, 2011 memo titled "France's client/Q's gold" quotes "knowledgeable individuals" with insider information about French President Nicolas Sarkozy's motivation for bombing Libya. The military campaign, the anonymous sources say, was designed to quash plans by Gaddafi to use $7 billion in secret gold and silver to prop up a new African currency. The French worried the move would undercut the currency guaranteed by the French treasury, known as CFA franc, that's widely used in West Africa and acts as a strong link between France and many of its former African colonies. After French intelligence officials got wind of this secret plan, the Blumenthal memo reports, Sarkozy freaked out: "This was one of the factors that influenced [his] decision to commit France to the attack on Libya."