Sanctions Against Russia are Counterproductive

The recently imposed sanctions regime against Russia is much ill-advised since it stands no chance of influencing the course of war and will only much complicate diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict. 

Two decades ago, Vladimir Putin approached the West and asked for Russia to join NATO. This was rebuffed for obvious reasons since NATO is a purely defensive alliance directed against Russia and before that against the Warsaw Pact. However, Putin did not tell the West the reason he wanted Russia to join NATO: The future threat from China against Siberia and Central Asia. Not that telling would have helped him gain NATO accession for Russia but he should certainly have told his American interlocutors, but in the intelligence world it is standard practice to keep as much secret as possible so as not to show your nation’s cards.

What instead is needed is an Asian defense alliance encompassing China’s neighbors and which would completely encircle China. This would obviously include Russia as well as crucially the United States. Achieving this must be part of the package for a peaceful resolution to the war in Ukraine. The sanctions against Russia make diplomacy far more difficult while in no way helping Ukraine. Contrary to what is assumed, the sanctions do not increase leverage in the peace negotiations with Russia. The Russian leadership does not care about the hardships of the general population in Russia but rather understands this as a natural transition to a war economy in preparation for the planned Russian conquest of the rest of Europe which is intended to provide an economic base for a much larger Russian military that will be able to defend Siberia (and Central Asia) from future Chinese aggression.

The only alternative to this is a US-led Asian defense alliance that would encircle China. Diplomacy must insist on defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine while providing for autonomy and bilingualism within the framework of sovereign Ukraine. Sanctions against Russia only make it more difficult to change tack. While it is perfectly understandable that Ukraine wants to harm Russia as much as possible, the fact is that the sanctions are ill-advised, diplomatically counterproductive and do not help Ukraine even the slightest.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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