Whose wallets are in danger?

March 27, 2014




John Sadler
Managing Editor


With Crimea’s recent hotly debated vote to be annexed into Russia, many Western countries are looking into ways to punish the superpower for what they see as a breach of international protocol.


While starting an armed conflict with Russia has been generally disregarded as an option, many Western powers are looking to hit the Russians in their wallets.


Whose wallets are really being hit, though?


The sanctions that have been done, did not mean much to some of their “victims.”


Individuals hit with these sanctions are, in theory, unable to use American dollars in market transactions, and have a slightly taboo status in some Western banks.


This status might not hurt political officials in Russia, but a few of the sanctioned are high-ups in Russian oil companies, who obviously would be better served by being able to access the currency of one of the largest countries on Earth.


Russia is still a developing economy and needs outside markets. It currently exports 30 percent of the European natural gas market, which would leave European countries with a significantly higher natural gas prices in the event of large-scale market sanctions.


On the flip-side of the spectrum, some U.S. businessmen with financial ties to Russia are worried that a proposed next round of sanctions against certain sectors of the Russian market could come back to bite the United States in the ass.


They are also worried that Russian retaliation against U.S. foreign-based businesses will be brutal.


“The actual sanctions have been targeted, but the potential sanctions contemplated in the most recent executive order would do real damage to U.S. companies with no predictable result regarding Russian responses,” said USA Engage, a Washington-based business coalition.


We should think long and hard about the next sanctions, if any, we take against Russia. Or we could take a hint from The New Yorker’s satire page and ban President Putin from Netflix.


I know that would make me give back any territory, no matter how strategic.


John Sadler is a sophomore journalism and English major from Extension who serves as managing dditor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to jts040@latech.edu.


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