“When goods don’t cross borders, armies will.” ~Frederic Bastiat
There are two ideas that have been spreading around social media a lot recently. I find them both troubling since they mostly hurt us and our neighbors, not the people in power, as intended.
One is the idea that calling for a torrent of sanctions against Russia will effectively thwart Putin’s invasion. The second is that all Russians are responsible for this war.
Sanctioning Russia into a necessary alliance with China and India is a perfect way to destroy the status and power of the US dollar, (a little too perfect, maybe?) allowing a shift away from the US’s dominance over the global financial system. Plus, China would love a larger acceptance of the RMB to further their Belt-and-Road Initiative.
But those sanctions do more than shift power and global prominence to authoritarian regimes.
The main result of sanctioning hits the regular Russian businessman, regular trade partners, and ultimately just regular Joes with the bad end of the stick. SWIFT sanctions have already “driven” Putin to China’s Unionpay alternative. And we’re hearing stories about Russians getting stuck abroad without being able to withdraw money and get home.
We’re also already seeing the effects of war stopping the export and trade of grain, wheat, and cereals from Russia and Ukraine: food price increases and more countries, particularly Hungary, jumping on the exports ban bandwagon.
Wars in the Balkans largely occurred due to pointing of the finger and calling everyone “else” the enemy. Croatia’s war with Serbia and Montenegro ended in just 1995. Many people here still remember it, and I’m sure no one would hope for it to happen again.
Being in Croatia, it hits close to home to see blame for war pushed on regular citizens. It’s nice to think that the general populace carries enough weight and influence to make their governments do what they want them to. But most of the time, they don’t, especially under totalitarianism.
It would be great to stand together and cheer on the efforts of Russians who’ve protested in Moscow or shown demonstrations of disapproval in many fashions all over the world.
In the words of Barbs from Geography Now, “There is a lot happening and a lot to process, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that insisting upon building more animosity against another people group will never solve anything.”
“But I tell you, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you.” -Luke 6:27-28
*Stepping off my soap box now.*
Hope all my friends in Ukraine, Poland, and Romania are safe and well and hanging in there! Everyday it’s been horrible following the news, but been loving seeing all the outpouring of help and support going on.