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Tue Jul 22, 2014, 07:44 AM

US Loses Patience with Europe: Washington Wants Tough Russia Sanctions


Following the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine, calls are growing in Washington for tough sanctions against Moscow. Many European governments are still hesitating, paving the way for the next big trans-Atlantic row.

US Loses Patience with Europe: Washington Wants Tough Russia Sanctions
By Gregor Peter Schmitz in Brussels
July 22, 2014 12:01 PM

Usually, it takes quite an effort for the ambassador of a European Union member state in Washington to raise the attention of the American government. But lately, it hasn't been difficult at all. "The calls and requests just don't stop," said one European diplomat in the US capital.

The shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 over eastern Ukraine, presumably by pro-Russian separatists, is considered to be a game changer in Washington -- an event of such magnitude that the status quo is no longer possible. All 298 passengers on board the Boeing 777 perished in the crash.

Washington officials have been clear with the Europeans about the lessons it has learned from the disaster, namely that EU members needs to adopt a tougher stance in its dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Even prior to the Flight MH 17 disaster, pressure for additional sanctions in Washington had been growing. Bloomberg reported that Deputy National Security Advisor Anthony Blinken held a closed-door meeting a week ago with EU ambassadors to inform them of the actions Washington would like to see Europe take.

The Americans are proposing an end to EU weapons deliveries to Russia. With orders on the books for two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships for Russia worth 1.2 billion ($1.6 billion), that move could hit France particularly hard. The White House also says it would like to see further restrictions placed on Russia's access to money and capital markets.

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Reply US Loses Patience with Europe: Washington Wants Tough Russia Sanctions (Original post)
unhappycamper Jul 2014 OP
Turbineguy Jul 2014 #1
dipsydoodle Jul 2014 #3
dipsydoodle Jul 2014 #2
amandabeech Jul 2014 #4

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Jul 22, 2014, 07:50 AM

1. Easier said than done.

Europe has lots of trade with Russia. Halting it would push Europe into a serious recession.

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Response to Turbineguy (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 22, 2014, 07:56 AM

3. Simple solution to that.

Let the US bear ALL economic costs

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Jul 22, 2014, 07:53 AM

2. Was / is thought more likely that Europe may speed up sanctions

Not increase them. Consent by all member state to increase sanctions is regarded as being unlikely.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Wed Jul 23, 2014, 08:54 PM

4. The Europeans may have to make at least some economic


sacrifices with respect to Russia, we may be in their situation with respect to China and our treaty allies in east Asia.

There are increasing territorial dispute between Japan and China over control of some small islands and air and maritime rights in the East China Sea. There have been no shots fired, but a small miscue on the part of either party could change that in an instant. We are obligated by treaty to defend Japan, and Japan has asked for assurances that we will come to their aid in the event that they are attacked by China. We've made comforting noises, but not much else.

A similar situation pertains in the South China Sea. China claims almost the entire surface area of that body of water except for 12 mile boundaries off the beaches of the other nations surrounding that sea. These include Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and our treaty ally, the Philippines. The Chinese and the Vietnamese recently engaged in some hostile, but non-shooting activity when China towed an oil drilling rig into place in waters also claimed by the Vietnamese. Vietnam, of course, wants our help against their historical enemy, China. A couple of years ago, the Vietnamese asked the US Navy to make a port call at our old Navy base, Da Nang. We obliged them, and sent a carrier and smaller ships. We entertained the local Vietnamese dignitaries on the carrier. They loved the take off and land show, apparently. Closure of the South China Sea would cut off our increasing imports from Vietnam and other places. Check the labels on any garments that you have purchased recently--more and more are coming from SE Asia.

Everyone here understands just how dependent we are on China for every conceivable type of manufactured product. Our dependency is not unlike that of the Europeans' dependence on Russian oil and gas and investment opportunities.

If fighting breaks out in the East or South China Seas, the container ship pipeline between us and China will not be able to sail in a combat zone. Indeed, commercial ship traffic in and out of East Asia would be severely hampered by any shooting on the part of any nation. Walmart will not be the only store with few items on the shelves.

How willing will we be to defend our treaty allies Japan, South Korea and the Philippines as well as other friendly countries if it cuts off our supplies of iPhones and auto parts?

Russia is doing what its somewhat paranoid (IMHO) leader wants to do and the Europeans are essentially cowering.

But if China flexes its muscles, what will we do and are we willing to make some preparations now?

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