Politics Magazine

Russian Sanctions

Posted on the 06 May 2014 by Adask

Kremlin [courtesy Google Images]

[courtesy Google Images]


“The European Union has imposed sanctions related to the crisis in Ukraine on another 15 people, bringing the total number targeted to 48.”

Wow!  There are 144 million people in Russia, and the EU has increased the number of people sanctioned from 33 to 48 (woo-hoo!).

Not to be outdone,

“In its latest round of sanctions, the United States targeted seven Russian government officials and 17 companies linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

“Seven”—count ‘em—“seven Russian government officials” and “17 companies”.  (Y’know, 17 is a lot!  That’s almost as many as I have fingers and toes!)

“The White House said the seven Russians, including two from Putin’s inner circle, are subject to a freeze on any assets they may hold in the United States and a ban on U.S. travel.”

Obama’s gettin’ tough.  No Disneyworld for Putin’s pals.

“The 17 companies the United States named are linked to officials and oligarchs [super-rich; billionaires] . . . . In all, the United States and European Union have imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 66 individuals, most of them senior Russian officials. The United States has sanctioned 18 companies in total.

At first glance, sanctions  imposed on “66 individuals” and “18 companies” seem kinda silly.  But on reflection, the implications of those sanctions are intriguing and possibly profound.

President Obama isn’t placing sanctions or threatening war against the Russian nation.  He’s not even imposing sanctions on the president of the Russian nation.  Instead, Obama is threatening: 1) high Russian officials who are sufficiently corrupt to have bank accounts in foreign countries; 2)  Russian oligarchs (billionaires) who arecloseto President Putin; and 3) some of Russia’s major multinational corporations.

This isn’t merely an odd choice of sanctions; it’s evidence of how the world now works.  Sanctions against a few dozen corrupt officials, a handful ofRussian oligarchs and a few Russian multinational corporations, implies that today’s world no longer functions as a collection of competing nations, but rather as a collection of competing, multi-national corporations who are secretly warring among themselves for global wealth and global power.

President Obama therefore makes personal attacks on oligarchs and officials with economic sanctions much the same as he sought to attack “terrorist leaders” with drones.  Obama isn’t attacking the people of the Russian nation.  He’s attacking some of their officials and multi-national corporations.

•  I’m no fan of Obama.  I’d previously dismissed his sanctions on a few dozen Russians as petty and evidence of his weakness and inability to impose sanctions able to affect Putin’s actions.   But, now, I’m beginning to reconsider.

Insofar as Obama’s attacks are directed at Russian oligarchs and the hidden wealth of corrupt Russian politicians, his strategy just might be brilliant.   It might even be evidence of a new geo-political reality:  primary adversaries are no longer nations but are instead multinational corporations.  Future wars may seemingly be waged by the national politicians and/or national military—but only if the governments of such nations have been captured by competing corporate gangs.

If so, Obama may recognize that attacks against the people or even nations can be largely counter-productive.  Instead, he’s using a divide-and-conquer strategy that attacks oligarchs, corrupt government officials and multinational corporations rather than masses of people.  The oligarchs, corrupt officials and multinational corporations may have power, but I doubt that they command the Russian people’s loyalty.  Therefore, Obama can attack these individual targets without fear of offending the Russian people.

By attacking oligarchs, corrupt government officials and multinational corporations, Obama implies that the people have little influence on their government.  Obama isn’t even attacking the members of the Russian parliament.  Instead of attacking the nation, its people or even their elected political representatives, Obama is only attacking those who wield the real power over government:  corrupt officials, the oligarchs and the multi-national corporations.

•  “The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee pushed for targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy.  ‘To me, hitting four of the largest banks there would send shockwaves into the economy. Hitting Gazprom would certainly send shockwaves into the economy,’ Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said, referring to Russia’s state gas monopoly.”

Hitting the four largest (and therefore multinational) banks?   Hitting the multinational corporation Gazprom?  Senator Corker appears to confirm that modern warfare may be increasingly directed at multinational corporations rather than nations.

•  If Obama’s sanctions against oligarchs “close” to Putin imply that elected Russian representatives have become politically impotent, has something similar happened in America?  Do our Senators and Congressmen still wield significant political power?  Or are they all spear-carriers or sock-puppets owned and operated by American oligarchs and multinational corporations?

Obama’s sanctions against corrupt officials and oligarchs imply that the fundamental structure for some, perhaps most, modern government is fascism—a close association between government and corporations.

Obama’s sanctions on Russian oligarchs indicate that a gang of the super-rich corporations have seized de facto control over Russia.  Can we assume that a similar seizure has taken place here in the U.S.?  Has a conglomerate of oligarchs and multinational corporations seized control of our government?

If modern “wars” are increasingly between multinational corporations rather than nations, we can wonder when elements of foreign governments will begin to expose corrupt US politicians and attack American oligarchs and multinational corporations rather than the US government.

There’s a silver lining in Obama’s cloudy attempts to sanction Russia’s wealthiest (and therefore most corrupt) politicians and oligarchs:  We can expect Russia to respond in kind and at least identify oligarchs and perhaps expose how much money each of our corrupt presidents, senators, congressmen and federal judge have hidden away.

Wouldn’t it be grand if Americans knew how much money our various congressman have grossed while “serving” in government?

It may take a few years, but Obama’s attacks on Russian oligarchs will almost certainly reciprocated with similar attacks on the world’s oligarchs—including those of the U.S..

Obama’s sanctions against Russian oligarchs might even signal the onset of a shift in global awareness and attitudes.   Perhaps the world’s people are on the verge of perceiving that world peace is more threatened by multinational corporations than by nations and national governments.

While we wait to see if attitudes and awareness change, Obama’s sanctions against Russian oligarchs has signaled future conflicts might be increasingly between multi-national corporations (special interests) than between nations.

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