The usual shot themselves in the foot

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Привычный выстрел себе в ногу

Contrary to promises of the authorities, the new U.S. sanctions will inevitably reduce the standard of living of Russians — the country is not ready for war, which is calling for Dmitry Medvedev.

The Chairman of Russian government Dmitry Medvedev said that the United States needs to understand “what will be the reaction of Russia” in new sanctions. “If you follow something like the prohibition of banks or use a particular currency, it can be called absolutely right, it is a Declaration of economic war,” he said. The Prime Minister has threatened to respond to such pressure: “economic means, political means, and, if necessary, and other methods.” What exactly is unclear, but it is likely that this is an allusion to military force.

To make a start on “vague threat” Dmitry Medvedev’s better at the end. Suppose the other methods — it really is military. It is no wonder that the Russian Prime Minister used the word “war”, let the first and in an economic context.

Where Russia can use force? Options, by and large, only two: Ukraine and Syria. But neither one nor the other the United States are not considered as priorities of its foreign policy. So Russian “TV” political analysts may say that the response to the new sanctions from the Americans may be a sharp increase in pressure on the “Pro-American regime in Ukraine.” Ukrainians this will surely suffer. But the Americans did which will increase monetary and military assistance to the official Kiev. And these costs are irrelevant to the US military budget.

As for Syria, the aggravation has been, and is so serious that it was almost about the possibility of direct conflict between Russia and the United States. All preconditions for this purpose was, however, the Kremlin in direct confrontation did not go. Now to up the ante in Syria is even higher is simply impossible — all methods of pressure on the Americans tried there, but no bonuses that Moscow has not brought.

You can, of course, to get involved beyond the borders of Russia in any conflict, potentially threatening to US interests. But this will require significant expenditures, and money, in the apt words of Dmitry Medvedev, the country now is not. But after the entry into force of the new package of American sanctions they will be even less.

Economically the more Russia can do nothing. The so-called anti-sanctions — a blow to their own people. Well, as any ban on the supply of something American to us, and for export to the United States of any Russian goods (and we don’t so much sell) will only exacerbate the situation. It perfectly showed the spring discussion about the answer to the previous package of U.S. sanctions. Prohibit delivery — and kill Russian production, deprive people of jobs, leaving patients without medication.

So economic instruments responding to American pressure, the Kremlin is now virtually absent. It is impossible to take seriously hysterical screams of the pseudo-patriots that Russia will now abandon the dollar in international transactions with trading partners. Appeared in Moscow are partners, even in the face of real economic war waged by the administration of Donald trump with China and partly with the European Union.

As for the political response, there are already quite unclear what is meant by Dmitry Medvedev. If the answer is a loud statement that Russia is already made. If the complaints of the Americans in the UN, WTO and various international bodies — they are either too long ago filed, or the Kremlin understands that complaining is pointless. If it is cobbling together an anti-American Alliance — Russia (except perhaps Belarus) there just aren’t enough loyal allies.

So the situation is virtually deadlocked. Not to respond to the new American sanctions, the Kremlin may not. It is not only a question of prestige. Moscow is convinced that they are dealing with an enemy that no response takes as a demonstration of weakness — exactly the way it behaves itself the Russian leadership.

So the answer will be. And, as is fashionable to say in Russia, the answer will be asymmetrical. That probably sense that U.S. sanctions will hit the Russian economy and standard of living of ordinary Russians — and Moscow’s response will have exactly the same results. To shoot themselves in the foot we’re not used to.

Ivan Preobrazhensky

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