Opinion – Ukraine-conflict: German oppose new sanctions Russia – SPIEGEL ONLINE – John Gelmini

As Dr Alf knows, increasing sanctions leads either to war or to people being able to circumvent them.

David Cameron, President Obama and some of our other vacuous and posturing leaders seem to learn nothing from history and in some ways remind me of King Canute, sitting on the coast of Southern England commanding the tide to go back at Bosham and finding that it was coming in any way as it always had.

So if we look into the past we see that for the most part sanctions are counterproductive. For example, the sanctions against South Africa for Apartheid under De Klerk did not work.

Sanctions against Mussolini in the 1930s, brought about by Churchill in an effort to bring him to book for his invasion of Abyssinia, made people like my Italian uncles and Great uncles who were expert marksmen and keen hunters, shoot large numbers of birds for food. Later it forced them to kill my late mother’s pet pig for food but apart from eating black bread, people did not starve.

The British, American and Dutch embargo of oil, applied to Imperial Japan, forced the Japanese into World War 2 as had been planned all along. After all the horrors of the Bataan March and Japanese occupation of large swathes of Asia, it took a great deal of blood and treasure and the flattening of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with two atomic bombs to break their will. Ordinary people, conscripted soldiers and POWs paid the price of those sanctions, rather than Emperor Hirohito and those at the top of the societies of each warring country.

Russia is not a small country; it is a very large one with a powerful military, a massive cyber warfare capability of 2 million people, Iskander missiles capable of breaking through missile shields and the ability to project power globally via stealth fighters, nuclear bombers, allegedly space based weapons and a rapidly improving army. All attempts to invade that country have resulted in defeat for the invaders; the most recent of which were Napoleon and Hitler , yet President Obama says “I don’t worry about Russia, they do not make anything”. What Obama, of course, fails to realize is that under Putin, the Russian economy is ten times bigger than it was, and that with the assistance of Germany and German engineers, they are making things and are getting investment.

For Germany, sanctions on Russia are truly counterproductive, which is why a delegation of top German business-people went to Russia two weeks ago to work out how best to protect their interests and at the same time blunt the effect of sanctions.

The UK if it persists will simply drive the Oligarchs away along with their money.

UK military exercises held jointly with the Poles in Poland, last week, are not going to frighten the Russians because they know that we are a spent and emasculated force that cannot even afford a coastal protection vessel and has an Army which is too small and which not enough reserves want to join.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO so by treaty we are not obliged to defend it. Thus, Chancellor Merkel has taken the pragmatic step of not increasing sanctions but continuing to talk to Putin, in Russian. In the end, this is the only way because we are not in a position to enforce our will on Russia and will end up hurting ourselves.

The EU will do nothing about Southern Europe until there are riots and real disorder.

John Gelmini

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