There's been more blowback from the issue of western sanctions on Russia, and again, it's coming from Europe, this time from a commissar in the EU commission itself, as reported a little over a week ago on Zero Hedge:
Olli Rehn, the European Commissar for Economic Affairs, bluntly stated the case, and I cite the entire article here for its intrinsic interest vis-a-vis themes we've been developing here:
Obama won't be happy! "It would harm everybody, the Europeans and the Russians," warned Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, adding that "any 'sensible' European Union citizen should oppose further sanctions on Russia because of the economic cost for Europe." As Merkel and Obama cozy'd up for discussions this morning, we can only imagine the promises being made if only she will support his crusade (which she clearly was unwilling to judging from the press conference). Perhaps she should check in with her nation's CEOs (who have vociferously demanded no more sanctions) and, as Rehn acknowledges, the slowing Russian economy is already having a “negative impact” on Finland and Austria, and "that economic fallout probably will spread to Germany, Poland and the Baltic countries."
As Bloomberg reports, Europe should shun Russia sanctions on economic cost, according to Olli Rehn...
Any “sensible” European Union citizen should oppose further sanctions on Russia because of the economic cost for Europe, EU Commissioner Olli Rehn said.
“It would harm everybody, the Europeans and the Russians,” Rehn, the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, said in an interview in Vienna today. Yet “it can only be avoided if Russia is committed to avoiding aggravation and escalation of this crisis,” he said.
As EU governments weigh economic sanctions on Russia for failing to stop separatists in Ukraine, the slowing Russian economy is already having a “negative impact” on Finland and Austria, Rehn said. That economic fallout probably will spread to Germany, Poland and the Baltic countries, he said.
Ukraine’s conflict escalated as the army sent armored vehicles and artillery today in a bid to retake the eastern town Slovyansk, a stronghold of pro-Russian separatists. Russian President Vladimir Putin had demanded Ukraine pull back troops as his forces remain massed across the border.
Everybody should try to reduce tension in eastern Ukraine and thus try to prevent an escalation of this regional crisis into a European-wide crisis,” said Rehn, who is on leave from his EU post while running for a seat in European Parliament elections starting May 22.
And there it is... with Ukraine now operating its anti-terrorist campaign, any Putin reaction will leave the West useless as Europe is broadly and loudly against further sanctions... pitting the US against the rest.(all emphases in the original)
Precisely: American insistence on sanctions has blown up in its face, as I blogged this past week about some nasty implications in the Russian law signed by President Putin calling for stiff fees from Visa and Mastercard if they wished to continue to do business in Russia, and which also required them to locate their processing facilities in that nation.
As I also pointed out, the action raises the possibility that Russian banks may make a bid for their own penetration into the Visa-Mastercard franchise, or even to launch their own credit and debit cards with clearing based in Russia, and extending better terms to Western European customers. It's an easy prediction to make, and I suspect that it is an eventual, though not immediate, inevitability. After all, given a choice between a Russian bank, or the big LIBOR-rigging banks of the west, which would consumers rather deal with? In the final analysis, in my opinion it would come down to a matter of whose oligarchy was perceived by consumers as being more corrupt, and contributing to the financial "too-big-to-jail" meltdown perpetrated in recent years.
For such views to be aired by a European commissar is highly significant, and it spells more looming trouble for the post-war system of "protection racketeering" other wise known as the alliance system. Geopolitically, it's a warning and, coming as it does mere weeks after the German Interior Minister, De Maziere, himself a pro-western advocate, warned that the U.S. is operating without any sorts of boundaries and constraints, a significant one.
The result, I believe, is rather obvious though subtle, as the American military presence in Eastern Europe, including Poland and the Baltic states, and one assumes eventually to engulf Romania and the Balkans, is beefed up. The transfer, in other words, from Western European basing to Eastern European basing is already under way. But eventually, eventually, if Washington's attitude and policies do not change, I suspect that the more the US tries to nail down its protection racket in Eastern Europe, the more the bolts will pop loose in Western Europe. And really, when you think about it, why not? because France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, are perfectly capable of defending themselves. This, plus the looming competition for resources in space, are going to add a measure of complication to geopolitical planning we can only guess at. Add to this the growing popular opposition to the protection racket in crucial countries like Australia, or the Philippines, and even domestically in North America for example, and the game is going to become very complicated indeed.
Unipolarism, whether on the international scale, or in domestic politics, is not working, and it's high time the oligarchs recognize that fact, and restore a real measure of genuine popular participation in the departments of their governments and policy-making. Otherwise they will wake up one day, like the nomenklatura, and find that they've not only lost the people, they've lost their power.
See you on the flip side.