In Background, Media critique

By Riley Waggaman, Russia Insider, Feb 11, 2015

The usual suspects are giddy with delight at the prospect of total economic war against Russia

Most modern wars are violent conflicts between flying robots and unarmed children. But the war in Ukraine is different. It can’t be fought in a conventional way because any robot flying in East Ukraine is liable to be shot down—which is patently unfair. It’s also very Russian.

Goofy soldierAlthough the evidence is highly confidential, American newspapers know for sure that Ukraine is overflowing with Russian soldiers. (It’s true that America’s ambassador to NATO begs to differ, but this just proves how contrarian Western media truly is.) But the question now is: How do we stop Putin from conquering the entire world? Should there be a world war or a boring cold war? These are our only two options, according to conflict resolution expert and syndicated crazy person Anne Applebaum.

A world war with Russia wouldn’t be half-bad, but it could get a bit messy, as Applebaum reminds her loyal readers: Best to stick with the “cold” variety, which means instead of dumping white phosphorous on Moscow, we’ll have to use other means of persuasion. Applebaum explains:

We could recognize the real danger Russia poses to Europe, not only as a source of violence but also as a source of political and economic corruption. We could impose much harsher, much deeper sanctions. We could cut Russia out of the international payments system. We could enforce our own laws and stop turning a blind eye to Russian money laundering, most of which takes place in European capitals.

We will return to the subject of economic warfare in just a moment.

As for Russia and its shady financial dealings: Applebaum is speaking from personal experience with these sorts of cash-under-the-matress schemes. As the indispensable John Helmer revealed in November, Anne is currently unable to account for her delicious $800,000 income—up from $20,000 in 2011. Did she make all that money writing war erotica for The Washington Post?

And can anyone seriously accuse Russia of being a driving force behind western economic corruption? Really? Isn’t that a bit of a stretch? As far as we know, economists from Moscow State University weren’t fined millions of dollars for fleecing vulnerable emerging economies. Sadly we can’t type the same about their esteemed colleagues from Harvard.

But Applebaum is not alone in her deep yearning for Total Economic Warfare. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, ancient Clinton hack Roger Altman proposes the following course of action against Russia:

[T]he U.S. and the EU should tighten the sanctions further before moving to supply arms. Russia has no method of countering sanctions, unlike its military-response potential. Preventing American and European investors from holding its sovereign debt is a logical next step. If it becomes necessary, barring Russian banks from the Swift system of international payments, for example, would be crippling.

Do people not realize how insane this proposal is? Applebaum and Altman aren’t talking about giving Russia a 1% GDP-spanking: They’re quite literally advocating for a global economic crisis. Perhaps this is news to responsible pundits, but Russia is one of the top recipients of foreign investment, not to mention it is very much involved with “imports” and “exports”—silly words, yes, but words nonetheless. Just look at all these fancy BBC charts!

It’s anyone’s guess what exactly would happen if the Righteous West tried to chop all financial and economic ties with Russia…But does anyone actually want to find out? What about all that Russian energy which Europe depends upon? Are we going to cut gas lines, too?

When you have $800,000…who cares?


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