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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Slamming Russia with Sanctions

Russia may have overplayed his hand.  The Malaysian Airline MH17 shootdown has brought the EU and America together on imposing harder sanctions.  Ambrose Evans-Pritchard argues here in Russia outgunned in economic showdown that Moscow can no longer rely on natural gas blackmail to get its way.  Its major energy firms need access to international credit, and Washington is poised to shut that down. 

We'll see if the WH pulls the trigger. 

It is hard to believe that MH17 was shot down intentionally, but Russia bears much of the blame in letting this crisis get out of hand.  For no good reason, either: if Putin had played the long game, the Ukraine would in time have been back in his camp, just like it had after the failed Orange Revolution in 2004.  The country is just too tied to Russia economically and culturally, and besides, the EU has its own problems to deal with, and can't afford another welfare case.

Putin may have miscalculated so badly as to sacrefice his hold on power.  Stratfor's George Friedman compares his actions to the "harebrained schemes" of a certain premier in the 1960: Can Putin Survive?
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