European Union leaders are likely to approve a modest escalation in sanctions against Russia when they meet on Thursday to debate a response to the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea…add new names to the list of 13 Russians and 8 Russia-allied Crimean leaders who the EU subjected to an asset freeze and travel ban on Monday….
What’s the matter with sanctions on Russia, the nation, too? Things like freezing Russia out of the international banking system, withdrawing European support for the development of Russian oil and gas fields, stopping the transfer of associated technologies moving to get oil and gas—and coal—for Europe from sources other than Russia? Moves to supply Ukraine with non-Russian energy? Certainly such moves would sting Europe, as well, but Russia’s economy is no larger than Italy’s, and unlike Italy—and the rest of the EU—Russia has no economy outside its oil and gas exports.
Unfortunately, US’ “sanctions” are just as weak, and the Obama administration is just as timid in the face of Russian aggression.
Putin has, in fact, responded with sanctions of his own: he’s barring nine American government officials, including Speaker John Boehner (R, OH) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) from entering Russia. This is an obvious, contemptuous parody of Obama.