Wednesday, January 26, 2022

CNBC asks 'Can Sanctions Deter Russia From Invading Ukraine?'

I mentioned the military tensions between Russia and Ukraine as one of the reasons the Doomsday Clock remains at 100 seconds to midnight for 2022 last week. The week before that, CNBC asked Can Sanctions Deter Russia From Invading Ukraine?

Economic sanctions remain one of the most powerful tools the United States has in its foreign policy arsenal. And as Russian forces continue to amass along the border with Ukraine, officials in the U.S. hope the threat of those sanctions can deter a full-scale invasion.

Besides sanctions that target individuals or specific companies, some proposals involve cutting Russia off from the SWIFT system, which would remove Russian institutions from an important global financial network.

Another target is the near-completed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which when operational would double the amount of natural gas moved from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea and likely reduce the need for other pipelines, such as the Urengoy–Pomary–Uzhhorod pipeline that runs through Ukraine.
The answer is maybe not, at least by themselves. In addition, the two actions likely to be most effective would require the cooperation of our European allies, Belgium and others for SWIFT and Germany for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. That might be possible, but the experts interviewed by CNBC think those actions would be a major sacrifice for our allies and so are unlikely.

Another expert thought that Russia might be motivated enough to go ahead despite sanctions. Vox explained that when it explained Why Ukraine is trapped in endless conflict four years ago.

The present conflict in Ukraine started in 2014. Today, there are 100,000 fighters stationed in the country, making it one of the most heavily militarized regions in the world. In Ukraine's east, Ukrainian forces are engaged in a struggle with Russian-backed separatists.

A ceasefire was called in 2015, with a security zone established that was meant to foster peace. However, today the security zone remains one of the most violent places in the Ukraine. With over 10,000 deaths to date, and over 1.5 million civilians displaced, the cost of ignoring the ceasefire continues to mount by the day. And both sides are still building up their forces.
It looks like things haven't changed much since then, except Vladimir Putin seems to be running out of patience and sees an opportunity. That's not how I want him to be the Most Interesting Man in the World.

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