— AJAM Live (@ajamlive) March 18, 2014
Yesterday the Russian Deputy Prime Minister laughed at the US government’s threat at sanctions and today Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty making Crimea part of Russia. The move comes after Crimea overwhelmingly voted to join the Russian Federation.
Putin also said today that “attempts to frighten Russia with sanctions over its takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region would be viewed as an act of aggression, and that Moscow would retaliate.”
What that retaliation will be is unknown, though some have speculated it could be on the most belligerent US Senators such as Senator John McCain who claimed “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country, it’s kleptocracy, it’s corruption, it’s a nation that is really only dependent upon oil and gas for their economy.” Only time will tell.
The rhetorical attack by McCain struck many as odd and was featured in one of the better pieces so far on the Ukraine conflict written by Gary Brecher.
Just look at McCain’s punchline: “A gas station masquerading as a country,” Why “gas station”? Because Russia is now the world’s #1 oil exporting nation, topping Saudi Arabia—that beacon of democracy and fine American ally—by more than a million barrels a day. With reserves estimated at 80 billion barrels, Russia will have a stash of what everybody wants for a long, long time…
But the truth has rights, and the truth is that Putin has won in Crimea. Better to admit that than to shout insults at the victor, especially when your insults don’t even make sense. McCain says Russia makes its money off oil and gas; true, but so what? Is there a better product to be selling on the world market? What should Russia be making money from, mortgage foreclosures?
Not to mention a klepotcratic elite who rely on domestic oil production hits a little close to home.
But insults aside, the latest development in the Ukraine conflict points to the incredible impotence of the US/EU when their bluff is called. They helped overthrow Russia’s favored leader and when Russia responds all they can threaten to do is sanction them, but not too much. Germany may be willing to take some pain to make a point but is the rest of the EU? And let’s not forget, Russia can always send its oil east to China.