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EU sanctions and Python’s Fish Slapping Sketch

March 19, 2014

Well the EU Member States really gave it to The Kremlin all guns blazing with its sanctions didn’t they?

One look at the list of people sanctioned leaves you in no doubt that numerous people completely and utterly removed from any degree of serious decision making and influence within the Kremlin inner circle have been targeted.

Upon reading the sanctions and the names of those sanctioned I tweeted:

Shortly afterwards, President Putin officially recognised the independence of Crimea – a step toward annexation should he decide to do so – and I believe he will.

Quite clearly the sanctions placed on Russia and a few Russians scared the Kremlin so much that it increased the speed at which Crimea may accede rather than change course.

It may even be the case that Mr Putin needed to ask aides who some of those on the list were so irrelevant are they to the Kremlin inner circle.

Yesterday I wrote “Sadly I am expecting the other, with the liberals in The Kremlin already banished to the sidelines and the siloviki clearly in the ascendancy – power projection and territorial expansion appear to be the agenda – no political, diplomatic or economic cost too high in its achievement. Time to stop thinking like a westerners and start thinking like the siloviki themselves if we are to understand their rationale.

I am sure European leaders from nations such as Poland and Lithuania will have been telling their dovish “Old Europe” leaders exactly the same thing – stop thinking like westerners and start thinking more like the siloviki for that is all they will understand.

A slap in the face with two small mackerel will not change the Kremlin course.  A smack in the face with a great white shark may have some effect – and yet it is the western nations that are continually being slapped in the face by the great white shark, and responding with two small mackerel – and learning nothing as a result.

Monty Python clearly demonstrating the EU Member States limp actions and the immediate robust Russian response so predictably.

Needless to say, any further European sanctions will have to be of a magnitude numerous times greater to cause even a split-second of doubt in Kremlin thinking – and to be quite frank, the Europeans don’t seem to have it in them despite the extremely high stakes involved, both regionally and globally.

As a common EU foreign policy seems to work only at the lowest common denominator regardless of the stakes – if it works at all – perhaps it is time for the sovereign states to stop hiding behind the EU when the response is so meek as to be practically no response at all.  Particularly so in the face of a determined and prepared Kremlin.

Sanctions are the preserve of individual sovereign states – the EU does not have the power to create them – they simply work better in concert/as a block.  Maybe somewhere amongst the meek and mild Europeans, there will be a few states prepared to go further than the lowest common denominator – alone or as a small group.

Those would be the rare nations who are still capable of putting values before interests when the stakes are so high.  Those where the values don’t walk even when the money talks.

However, let’s be quite honest – The Europeans had but one chance to send a very robust and unexpectedly strong message that could have caught the Kremlin’s attention – even if momentarily.  They blew it.

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