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Anti-Russan Sanctions Wars Continue

by Stephen Lendman Thursday, Sep. 04, 2014 at 9:35 PM


Anti-Russian Sanctions Wars Continue

by Stephen Lendman

Obama and other NATO member state heads are currently meeting in Wales. Discussions will continue Friday.

Russia bashing continues. New sanctions are planned. More on this below.

This summit meeting is one of NATO's largest. Leaders and ministers from around 60 countries are attending.

Included are senior representatives from 33 partner countries, the UN, OSCE, EU and other international organizations.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said "concrete steps" will be taken "to enhance our partnership" with Kiev.

He wrongfully accused Russia of attacking Ukraine. "We are faced with a dramatically changed security environment," he said.

"To the east, Russia is attacking Ukraine." It's one of the main issues being discussed.

"We continue to call on Russia to pull back its troops from Ukraine's borders, stop the flow of weapons and fighters into Ukraine, stop the support for armed militants in Ukraine and engage in a constructive political process," said Rasmussen.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is this year's host. "What Russia needs to understand is if they continue with this approach in Ukraine, this pressure will be ramped up," he said.

Russian Foreign Minister warned against Ukraine joining NATO. Ending its non-aligned status would "derail all efforts aimed at initiating a dialogue with the aim of ensuring national security," he stressed.

In aThursday op-ed in the UK The Times newspaper, Obama and Cameron turned truth on its head.

They accused Russia of "ripp(ing) up the rulebook with its illegal, self-declared annexation of Crimea and its troops on Ukrainian soil threatening and undermining a sovereign nation state."

NATO's relationship with Russia fundamentally changed. An unidentified alliance official lied, claiming:

Moscow "violated very fundamental agreements on the basis of which we have constructed peace and security in Europe for the last two decades."

After Putin let Crimea join Russia, NATO suspended cooperation with Moscow.

According to Reuters, Washington and EU countries are preparing new economic sanctions on Russia.

They wrongfully blame Moscow for conflict in Ukraine. Deputy White House national security advisor Ben Rhodes provided no details on what sectors will be targeted.

"The key point is that Russia must continue to face costs for its own escalation," he said. "If Russia escalates, we can escalate our pressure."

British, French, German and other EU leaders expressed support. So does Obama.

An earlier White House statement said he and key European leaders  said Russia should face "new costs" for its actions Southeastern Ukraine.

French President Francois Hollande said events in the coming hours will influence what's expected to be adopted tomorrow.

On September 5, Kiev, People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR), Moscow, and OSCE representatives will hold peace talks in Minsk, Belarus.

Previous diplomatic conflict resolution efforts failed. Success remains elusive.

Washington wants war, not peace. So do rogue NATO partners.

Kiev's puppet regime is a convenient proxy. War without mercy continues. Civilians suffer most.

Whether Friday talks achieve what previous ones failed to accomplish remains to be seen.

It takes a giant leap of faith to think so. To believe this time is different regardless of what happens in Minsk.

A joint DPR/LPR statement said they "will present their proposals on the ceasefire, which would describe in detail the guarantees of implementation of the truce by the sides involved in the conflict, to the contact group in Minsk on Friday."

Doing so enables implementation of Putin's seven-step peace plan. It remains to be seen how possible given strong Washington and Kiev opposition.

Previous US and EU sanctions targeted some of Russia's largest banks. So was its oil giant, Rosneft.

On September 3, Britain's Telegraph headlined "EU sanctions to target Russian oil industry and strip Russia of World Cup," saying:

EU nations "will strike at the heart of Russia's economy by extending sanctions to block all investment in the country's oil companies unless Vladimir Putin pulls invading Russian troops out of East Ukraine."

Stripping Russia of 2018 World Cup hosting rights may be agreed on.

The Telegraph claimed knowledge of a confidential three-page document. It prohibits all state-controlled Russian oil and defense companies from raising funds in European capital markets.

It cuts off key sectors of Russia's economy from important investment sources. The document states:

"(To) prohibit debt financing (through bonds, equities and syndicated loans) to defence companies and to all companies whose main activity is the exploration, production and transportation of oil and oil products and in which the Russian state is the majority shareholder."

"This extension would significantly increase the burden placed on the Russian state to finance its companies."

"Beside economic measures, thought could be given to taking coordinated action within the G7 and beyond to recommend suspension of Russian participation in high profile international cultural, economic or sports events (Formula One races, UEFA football competitions, 2018 World Cup etc)."

"Measures could be extended…to provision of future associated services (such as seismic campaign-related services, drilling, well testing, logging and completion services, supply of floating vessels etc) for deep water, oil exploration and production, Arctic oil exploration and production or shale oil projects in Russia."

"Possible measures (include) prohibiting EU persons from participating in syndicated loans to major Russian state owned banks and other entities with a view to further restraining access to capital and closing a possible gap in the current regulation."

"(L)owering the maturity beyond which certain debt instruments are restricted bringing it form the current 90 days to 30 days" may be implemented.

Boycotting newly issued Russian government bonds isn't planned. Or banning purchases of non-industrial diamonds.

Or locking Russia out of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) payment system at this time. Doing so may follow "in the event of a major escalation."

Implementation would be major intensification of sanctions. It would guarantee tough Russian retaliatory measures.

Exclusion from SWIFT disrupts cross-border banking and trade flows. It's one of the toughest type sanctions to impose.

Capital Economics chief emerging markets economist Neil Shearing said sanctions expected to be announced Friday will be an extension of earlier ones imposed.

They "set a precedent," he said. Financial wars at times cause more harm than standing armies.

At risk is economic ruin. Measures imposed or likely planned fall far short of anything this extreme.

At the same time, sanctions cut both ways. Russia can respond in kind. It's increasingly circumventing dollar transactions.

Doing so weakens dollar strength. It's a pillar of America's geopolitical/military might. It furthers US supremacy. It does so at the expense of other nations.

It finances America's global military machine. It advances US imperialism. It benefits financial speculation.

It facilitates corporate takeovers. It does so at the expense of beneficial social change, human and civil rights. It denies democratic values.

Global central banks recycle dollar inflows. They do so into US Treasuries. They finance America's deficit.

Circumventing dollar transactions weakens petrodollar strength. It could become a shadow of its former self.

Nobody wins sanctions wars. Each side harms the other.

It remains to be seen how far Washington will go. And if EU countries intend measures detrimental to their own self-interest.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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