Vladimir Putin’s chilling warning to the west over the imposition of sanctions on Russia on Saturday the warning that measures designed to cripple his country’s economy was “akin to an act of war” is also a sign that financial measures are an effective form of retaliation against military invaders.
When we see on the news about Putin’s violent invasion of Ukraine, it’s easy to let your emotions take over and demand our government and NATO to give a stronger response. Mine ran wild in the days and nights of seeing a peaceful nation become war-torn. I don’t know if it’s my conservative foreign policy upbringing that made me think that or my own military service on foreign battlefields that influenced me, but I’ve always believed that using force is the best way to respond to an invasion.
But in the real world, we need to keep our emotions, and often our weapons in check. It’s important to learn from legitimate foreign policy experts before making uneducated comments because they see everything behind the scenes, and base their decisions on the totality of the circumstances. At the same time, understand that sanctions can have impacts here at home but it is the Russian war against Ukraine itself that is changing world market conditions, which is Putin’s war of choice.
In Ukraine, that means trying to prevent World War III.
Sanctions are one of the best methods to de-escalate conflict, and here’s why: Sanctions are making it difficult for Russia to fight this war. It’s hurting their economy and the stock market.
The sanctions NATO and Western nations levied against Russia are having the worst impact in modern history, and they’re getting worse. Sanctions are set in place to encourage the people to stand up to this tyrant because this is not a fight that the people of Russia really want; this is all on Putin himself. These sanctions will make it harder for Putin to win in his re-election in 2024 if he isn’t kicked out of office sooner.
Right now, it may seem that sanctions are not working, but there are lots of occasions where they do work, and here are a few for example;
Example 1: 1921: the League of Nations vs. Yugoslavia
The League of Nations threatened economic sanctions against Yugoslavia if it attempted to seize land from Albania. Yugoslavia backed down.
Example 2: 1925: the League of Nations vs. Greece
Four years later, the League of Nations threatened sanctions against Greece unless it withdrew from Bulgaria’s border territory. Greece withdrew.
Example 3: 1948-1949: The United States vs. the Netherlands
As the Dutch East Indies struggled to become an independent Indonesia after World War II, the United States suspended the Marshall Plan aid to authorities in the region after the Dutch arrested Indonesian leaders. After threats of sanctions, the Dutch agreed to Indonesian independence in 1949. The sanctions cost 1.1% of the Dutch gross national product.
Example 4: 1958-1959: the U.S.S.R. vs. Finland
During the “Night Frost Crisis” of 1958 and 1959, Finnish-Soviet relations were fraught after the Communists were excluded from government. Finnish leader Karl-August Fagerholm, viewed as unfavorable to the Soviets, was appointed as prime minister. The U.S.S.R. used economic sanctions to force Fagerholm’s resignation. The sanctions cost 1.1.% of the Finnish GNP.
Here’s another newspaper article that shows many more examples that we can win by using sanctions.
We just need to give it time.
Putin is terrified.
If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be making comments like this:
“The current leadership needs to understand that if they continue doing what they are doing, they risk the future of Ukrainian statehood. If that happens they will have to be blamed for that.”
In my opinion, that’s why we MUST continue to support Ukraine fighting back against Putin’s war, and they will win in the end.
There is no doubt in my mind that Putin’s war is a loser for Russia.
Opinion columnist and Army veteran. Former MAGA, now a Biden voter.