March 17, 2014

Obama's sanctions could have the reverse effect of intentions

The sanctions announced today by president Obama (if you blinked you probably missed it) , could end up having the reverse effect of that intended by the administration.  According to the Moscow Times, senior Russian officials envision a scenario where sanctions boost the Russian economy, or at least do no harm.  Certainly there would be no consequences from anything announced so far that would deter Russia's intent.
...But many commentators immediately said that the measures — which targeted senior officials including Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko, and longtime Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov — would not deter the Kremlin from reversing course in Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov indicated the same attitude, saying that Western criticism was "not a reason for any kind of adjustments" to Russia's foreign policy, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported late Sunday.
Whether Russian economists see it as no deterrent doesn't really matter. If that's the perception in Russian leadership, their actions, in the short term at least, are being aided by sanctions that 'might actually help' Russia's economy:
Some pro-Kremlin pundits said the sanctions could even have the opposite of the intended effect, saying they would help fight corruption by officials who are banned by law from having assets abroad and that broader trade sanctions, if imposed, could stimulate economic reforms in Russia.
President Obama may need to go back to the drawing board very quickly.

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