Sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine

But that never bothers the people in charge. It’s all the other people who end up jobless and starving.

So, great, Putin takes over Ukraine, lives out the rest of his life in domestically produced Russian Luxury, and the rest of Russia (and now Ukraine, too, because of that whole being taken over thing) lives miserable live for the next two decades.

Yeah, that seems like a good plan.

There are no good options.

The alternative to economic sanctions of Russia is Putin takes over Ukraine and reaps large enough profits to rebuild and expand his military so that the next conquest is easier than this one.

They are a permanent member.

Most of the initial sanctions appear tailored to personally target Putin and his supporters. Not sure how that shakes out in who actually suffers, but you can’t take out Putin without his dry cleaner taking a hit.

“Permanent” member. Kick them out anyway. They’ve lost any claim to be part of a group of civilized nations. Anyway, I’d guess the Soviet Union was a permanent member, but Russia shouldn’t automatically get their spot.

I see a path forward here

Nonetheless, due to the rather inflexible wording of the United Nations Charter and its lack of provision for succession, the succession’s technical legality has been questioned by some international lawyers.

Which next conquest? Finland? Sweden? Moldova? Those are seemingly his only options, and they all seem worse than Ukraine from Putin’s standpoint. I just don’t see where else he has to go. A NATO country would be suicidal. Anything to Russia’s southeast risks incurring China’s wrath, which is almost as bad.

Sanctions are generally cheaper to implement than a full scale military campaign.

They have a long term, corrosive affect on a countries economy. Often reducing a large part of the population to a miserable, impoverished existence. If the country has big cities and an industrialised economy it frustrates the ambitions of the most articulate and educated and that may put the political leadership under pressure for economic reform. Especially when they compare themselves to neighbouring countries that seem to be prospering.

But if the population lives mainly in rural areas, living off the land and is largely uneducated, it has less affect. If the population is isolated, indoctrinated and the dictator has spies everywhere and big army. Then they live in a bubble and know little else. So it is with North Korea.

The Iranians I have met feel the effect of sanctions very acutely. Iran is also a big country and historically a major regional power. It also has Oil so there is always a deal that can be done.

Sanctions against a country work best if it does significant trade with the rest of the world. Some countries simply do not. The US, for much of its history did not rely on international trade, it had lots of land and resources. Conversely the UK, in common with other European states was always a ‘trading nation’.

Wartime blockades are different thing, a military strategy to starve the enemy.

Sanctions are an economic strategy to put pressure on a country to negotiate if they want to benefit from trade.

It is a viable alternative to a war. Imposing sanctions on Iran that hobbles its economy and puts its leadership under pressure. The alternative: an invasion with massive military power. Well that is what happened in Iraq.

Russia is invested in international trade and it is a big Oil and Gas exporter so there is scope for sanctions. The US as a big gas exporter stands to profit from being an alternative source of supply.

The alternative is a confrontation between nuclear powers and a potential WW3.

The invasion of Ukraine must prove to be a hugely expensive mistake for Russia and sanctions can help with that. I am sure Russia does not want to become as cut off from world markets as Iran.

There are, however, some serious difficulties. Putin has a lot of reserves to fall back on and Russia is a well establish Gas supplier to Europe since Soviet times. There is a big dependency of Russian natural gas in Europe and that will take years to change. So sanctions targeting Russias major export will be a two edged sword unless the US increases the volume of LNG it sells to the European market.

I am sure there are a lot of calculations going on at the moment about what can an cannot be done. The US, UK and EU will be making announcements shortly.

I am pretty sure the big football match in St Petersburg will not be happening.

Absolutely agree. Excellent post.

ETA: I think it’s been mentioned, but sanctions are not a short-term thing, so they aren’t going to nor are they designed to force the Russians or anyone else to stop doing whatever they are doing that caused the sanctions in the first place. They are longer-term actions designed to eventually force a country to negotiate and, perhaps, change its behavior in the future or make concessions about something they have done that triggered the sanctions. They aren’t going to stop the Russians from invading and taking Ukraine, assuming they can do so, they are designed to punish the Russians for doing this and to stifle them in the future from further actions but the cutting of some of their ability to recoup losses and stifling their economy going forward. Assuming enough countries get on board. Because that’s the rub. If it’s just the US, or just the US and a few others, a country will be able to get around the sanctions to a degree. If most countries follow suit, however, that could have a serious impact.

Ultimately, if we let him, Putin would love to regain all the territory held by the USSR.

Looking at a map, I see lots of options.

Yeah, in a mutually assured suicide pact sort of way. If Russia invades Lithuania, what exactly are we going to do about it?

What over in eastern Europe is worth risking nuclear war over?

If Russia did that, I don’t expect NATO to go nuclear; I expect NATO would try to evict Russia on the ground, probably with a major armored + infantry thrust and airpower.

I expect that would be NATO’s next move, but what is Russia’s?

The cold war was all about avoiding a direct confrontation between the nuclear superpowers, and instead having proxy wars all over the world, usually to the great detriment of whatever area we were playing in.

A direct confrontation between the US and Russia risks escalating into a nuclear exchange. Probably very limited at first, but once the seal has been broken, so to speak…

If we don’t do anything then NATO is done and worthless. We need to do everything possible. Horrible thought, but you don’t let a tyrant run rampage to avoid nuclear war. Terrible to think.

We have US troops in the Baltic states and I believe so does the UK. I expect that if they invade we will already be fighting. Which kind of answers the question…we would fight of course. Russia could probably take the Baltic states, especially the two easternmost ones that have borders with Russia, but we have sufficient air assets and missiles to hit them while they do it…and the US could and would move forces from the US to take them back. I expect some if not all of NATO would be doing similar things, though to what extent they could make a difference is debatable.

The alternative is that NATO is broken and meaningless and everyone is on their own at a time when large regional superpowers such as Russia and China are looking to expand outward.

Start shelling St. Petersburg from the Gulf of Finland. An attack on a NATO member is an act of war on all NATO members.

ETA - To be clear, I don’t support attacks on civilians, but just wanted to make the point that Russia proper is no longer off limits after they attack a NATO state.

Europe will be pretty united, for sure. An aggressive, expansionist Russia led by a mad man who wants to recreate the Soviet Union is a huge existential threat. There are very dark memories of the Soviet occupation in eastern an central Europe. The mass deportations to prison camps and the secret police.

Putin has said his intention is to de-Nazify Ukraine. Any guesses what that might involve?

IMHO, the best option in such a scenario would be to reach out to the Russian generals and convince them to launch a coup against Putin. While fighting and presumably winning the conventional war.

“Nazi” seems to be a catch-all in Russia for all anti-Russian sentiment in the former Soviet republics.

What a horrible idea. American encouragement for a coup paints any Russian generals so inclined as American agents.

When the alternative is global thermonuclear annihilation, that seems like it’s a better option. One of the alternatives, of Russia surrendering without using their nukes, is even less likely. The other alternative, of such an overwhelming victory using conventional arms that Russia doesn’t even have the chance to launch their nukes, is even less likely than the chances of them surrendering.

I suspect Putin as an ex-KGB guy keeps a very close eye on his generals.