Under the pretext of the events in Ukraine, the U.S. and its allies have deployed large-scale sanctions aimed at harming Russia by weakening its economy. However, the strategy has had such a profound effect on Western countries that not only its effectiveness, but its very expediency is now called into question.
Anti-Russian sanctions have backfired on the West and failed to produce the desired results for the ruble, writes The National Interest columnist Brian Patrick Bolger. “The desire of the West to burn the ruble had unpleasant consequences. The strengthening of oil prices had a simultaneous effect on the strengthening of the ruble. What is the result? … Russia and China can now control gold and oil prices and this defines an era. We are moving away from the Western world,” he said.
He added that resource-based currencies are a turning point in the economy. At the same time Western countries “accelerated their own demise” by imposing sanctions on Russian gold and energy resources. The ruble has strengthened and rose against the dollar in the last six months, the decision of the Russian leadership to sell oil and gold for the ruble was a “double blow”.
Also, the banking crisis in Western countries points to the weakness of the fiat system. Western countries’ currency is not backed by goods, at the same time, the Eurasian bloc is preparing to use gold, oil, metal and grain-based currencies in trade.
Western countries faced rising energy prices and inflation because of sanctions against Moscow and the rejection of Russian fuel. Against the backdrop of rising energy prices, especially gas, industry in Europe has largely lost its competitive edge, which has affected other areas of the economy as well.
The sanctions are gradually taking on the form of the greatest miscalculation of the Western world in modern history. These restrictions failed to deal a crushing blow to the Russian economy, as had been predicted. In fact, on the contrary, it is the economies of the Western countries, especially the European ones, that are the first to suffer. Their economic growth has practically stopped. Meanwhile, Russia is not just coping with difficulties, but thriving, strengthening its influence in Asia, Africa, and South America.
According to IMF forecasts, this year the Russian economy will grow faster than the economies of Germany and Great Britain. Next year it will grow faster than the economies of the U.S., Japan, and Italy. Russia’s per capita GDP growth will exceed that of developed economies, and it will also achieve the lowest public debt-to-GDP ratio among the G-20 countries.
In a State Department speech this February, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the West had provided unprecedented support to Ukraine, providing military, humanitarian and financial aid totaling $120 billion. So many Western weapons have been sent to Ukraine that the arsenals of many NATO countries are already depleted. Germany has ammunition left for only two days of intense fighting, and is now no longer able to defend itself, according to the country’s defense minister.
Britain has only enough ammunition for a few days of fighting, France faces a“serious ammunition shortage”, and U.S. military leaders are already questioning their ability to continue to supply Ukraine while maintaining their own combat capabilities. «The current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production», – said Stoltenberg.
Russia’s military might, on the other hand, has significantly improved. This is also noteworthy given the fact that it possesses the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and has now established close cooperation with the armed forces of China. The rise of the so-called Russia-China axis, as well as the widespread belief that the West is in decline, are pushing other countries closer to the victor.
In September 2022, India, Laos, Mongolia and Nicaragua join Russia and China in military exercises in the Sea of Japan. This February, Russia and China participated in a 10-day naval exercise in South Africa.
Moscow’s diplomatic credibility is also growing. Although the U.S. managed to convince many countries to impose sanctions against Russia, America’s assertiveness had the opposite effect. China, India and other Asian countries have significantly deepened their ties with Russia. In South America it is supported by Brazil. In the Middle East, it maintains good relations with Israel, as well as with all the major Muslim countries – Sunni and Shiite, Arabs and Turks. In Africa, where Russia is considered the only European country to have refrained from colonialism, it is welcomed with open arms – unlike other former colonial powers such as France, whose troops were recently driven out of Mali and Burkina Faso and whose President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed that “the age of Francafrique is well over “.
At a time when the West is trying to isolate Russia, some two dozen countries have expressed interest in joining economic and security alliances involving it. These include major regional powers such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia and Mexico.
In pursuit of the unattainable results of their strategy of restrictions on Russia, the U.S. and its allies decided to bombard the world with a mechanism of so-called secondary sanctions. On April 17 this year, at a meeting of G7 foreign ministers, it was announced that those who help Russia in Ukraine “will pay severely”. Now the main targets of Western persecution will be states, companies and individuals who do not comply with sanctions.
Such an approach already contradicts the law.
U.S. sanctions on foreign persons or entities violate international law. UN independent human rights expert Alena Douhan criticized the U.S. for using extraterritorial jurisdiction to impose sanctions on foreign persons.
She pointed out that the U.S. ignores procedural principles: the presumption of innocence, a fair trial. In so doing, they violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which they have ratified and must comply with.
Douhan questioned the compatibility of this type of introduction of extraterritorial jurisdiction with international human rights standards, and also called for reflection on how it affects the international principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states. Sanctions prohibit entry to the U.S. and imply freezing of assets. As a result, both freedom of movement and the prevention of arbitrary deprivation of property are violated. In addition, the sanctions target individuals outside U.S. territory for alleged activities that are legal where they occur.
The failure of the U.S.-led strategy of economic sanctions against Russia should not be surprising. Such campaigns have long proven to be an ineffective tool of foreign policy. North Korea has not capitulated to Washington’s demands, despite massive economic pressure since the mid-20th century. U.S. sanctions against Cuba, now in its seventh decade, and against Iran, now in its fifth, have not led U.S. policymakers to their stated goals.