Friday, August 15, 2014

Russian food embargo already hurting the EU

The Associated Press reports:

EU Farmers To Lose $16 Billion as Russians Support Food Embargo
Russia Responds to Western Sanctions
Associated Press

MOSCOW, August 14 (RIA Novosti) – According to the Associated Press, the EU agricultural export to Russia reached $15.8 billion in 2013. Thus, the estimated loss for the European economy could be about $16 billion, experts claim. Moreover, Russian sanctions may draw Europe into a market crisis, the French National Federation of Unions of Agricultural Operators warns.

Russia's independent Levada Center pollster admits that about 72 percent of Russians approve of the imposed sanctions. Vladimir Putin's approval ratings in Russia remain at their highest point as well.

I believe the United States made yet another huge blunder in forcing its European Union allies to impose economic sanctions on Russia.  Europe depends, primarily, on hydrocarbon imports from Russia; an embargo on Russian gas and oil imports can hurt Russia only if Russia cannot find an alternative consumer of the natural gas that it pipes to the European Union through tiny Ukraine. The embargo on Russian natural gas had the immediate effect of bring Russia and China closer together.  After 20 years of talks between Russia and China, in May of this year Vladimir Putin signed a huge 30-year deal to pipe 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China; worth about US$400 billion at the time of the deal.  In return, China will invest US$20 billion in Russian's gas fields and pipeline system. And there's a military component. China will buy Russian military exports. 

And that was the most significant outcome of Obama's threats of both military and economic sanctions on Russia ... it drove Russia and China right into signing an agreement in which they'll protect themselves against American-led NATO aggression.

The United States made damned sure that Americans wouldn't feel the effect of those trade sanctions before they imposed them.  America's allies need to realize that ... they were thrown under a bus.

The perception of most Canadians I've talked to about this is that the US and the sycophantic government of Stephen Harper threw Canadian farmers under that bus ... Canada is a major exporter of agricultural products to Russia; the most important, I believe, is pork.

Canadians, by and large, do not believe Canada should be supporting the US in its proxy war with Russia.  The US is proving itself to be a very bad ally.
The political ineptitude of America's government is truly shocking. Fast-forward to this week. The false claims made by the US-backed government in Kiev (claims I'm sure were made with the full approval of the Obama Administration) that the 270 aid trucks sent from Russian to Ukraine were "Trojan horses" containing Russian military hardware.  Those bullshit claims more than doubled the effectiveness of Putin's power play.

The whole purpose of Russia's "humanitarian relief mission" was to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the US using "humanitarian relief" as a pretext for involving itself militarily in Iraq.  So what do those Russian trucks contain? I'm sure you'll find blankets, medical supplies, baby formula.

Score another one for Vladimir Putin.

And, by the way, American – keep pounding your chest if you want, but forcing your astronauts to beg rides home from the International Space Station in Russian vehicles does nothing at all for your image abroad.

The Emperor is, indeed, naked.

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