The Daily Escape:
Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains NP, TN- May 2023 photo by Melissa Russell
At the G7 conference in Japan, the Group of Seven (G7) countries announced new sanctions on Russia:
“In a statement, the G7 leaders said restrictions would cover exports of industrial machinery, tools and technology useful to Russia’s war effort, while efforts would be pursued to limit Russian revenues from trade in metals and diamonds…. The actions targeted Russia’s sanctions evasion, future energy revenues and military-industrial supply chains, with sanctions imposed on more than 300 targets on Friday.”
For America’s part, the Treasury imposed sanctions on 22 people and 104 entities in more than 20 countries, while the Department of State targeted almost 200 people, entities, vessels and aircraft.
The NYT reported that Russia had a response ready. Putin sanctioned some Americans:
“Among the 500 people singled out for travel and financial restrictions…were Americans seen as adversaries by Mr. Trump, including Letitia James, the state attorney general of New York who has sued him for alleged fraud, and Jack Smith, the Justice Department special counsel investigating his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his handling of classified documents after leaving office.
Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state of Georgia who rebuffed Mr. Trump’s pressure to “find” enough votes to reverse the outcome of the election, also made the list. So did Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who shot the pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt on Jan. 6, 2021.”
Other prominent figures on Russia’s new list included Barack Obama and Rachel Maddow, as well as late-night television hosts Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Myers. Newsweek quotes Swedish economist Anders Åslund, who wrote in the Kyiv Post:
“Needless to say, nobody from Fox News…is being sanctioned,”
But Newsweek also reported that Russia’s new list included a few Republicans: Senators Katie Britt of Alabama and JD Vance of Ohio, as well as Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
It’s kinda difficult to follow Putin’s thinking about the GOP politicians, but you can imagine Trump saying: “It’s a strong list. A perfect list. People were crying when they read it.”
The NYT added: (emphasis by Wrongo)
“The Russian Foreign Ministry offered no specific explanation for why they would be included on the list but did say that among its targets were ‘those in government and law enforcement agencies who are directly involved in the persecution of dissidents in the wake of the so-called storming of the Capitol.’”
From MSNBC’s Steve Benen: (brackets by Wrongo)
“The use of the phrase ‘so-called storming,’…was unsubtle. The Kremlin isn’t just targeting Trump’s perceived domestic foes, Putin and his government are…embracing Trump’s preferred rhetorical framings about stories [Trump]….doesn’t like.”
Some context by Benen: (brackets by Wrongo)
“There’s…precedent for Russia imposing sanctions on prominent Americans who’ve criticized Vladimir Putin’s government. Nearly a decade ago…after Russia took Crimea, the Kremlin faced bipartisan condemnations in Washington, DC. Soon after, Moscow announced sanctions against Republicans [including] then-House Speaker John Boehner and then-Sen. John McCain, as well as several Democrats, including then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and then-Sen. Mary Landrieu.”
More: (brackets by Wrongo)
“…in each instance, [regarding Crimea] Russia’s sanctions at least made some sense: They targeted prominent American policymakers, each of whom had at least some role in US foreign policy, and each of whom had criticized Moscow’s policies to one degree or another.”
And as Peter Baker says in the NYT:
“…what is particularly striking is how much President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is adopting perceived enemies of former President Donald J. Trump as his own.”
When we think about the impact of the new Russian sanctions, it seems that banning Americans from entering Russia in 2023 is a bit like a mother banning her kid from eating kale.
Not allowing NY’s Attorney General, or Georgia’s AG, or the DOJ’s special counsel in the Trump investigations, Jack Smith to enter Russia isn’t going to do anything to help Russia hold on to Ukrainian territory they have seized. From Martin Longman:
“By a simple process of elimination it’s clear that the strategy is to help Donald Trump win the presidency, which they expect would disrupt America’s ability to support Ukraine.”
Putin must be taking the long view, since even if Trump is elected, he wouldn’t take office until January 2025. That’s a long time to wait for the western support for Ukraine to weaken.
And, of course, if the US defaults on its debt, which Trump has been urging Republicans to do, it would be a victory for Russia, possibly equal to anything they could ever hope to gain on the battlefield.
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