RE-ERECTING THE IRON CURTAIN FROM THIS SIDE 

We’ll take Russian oil and gas. We just won’t pay for it. So they’ll cut us off. It’s spring. We’ll shiver, but we won’t freeze. We’ll have to chow down on a little crow from Iran and Venezuela. And we’ll have to subsidise our consumers. But hey, we did that for businesses during Covid. After all, when we’re at war – even if it’s not called that – we all have to tighten our belts. 

When I say nothing goes into Russia, except Russians, and nothing comes out, except refugees, I don’t mean a blockade. I just mean crippling penalties for any business that trades with Russia. And any country that does will share in this isolation from the ‘coalition of the willing’. 

True, if everyone’s in jail, then it’s the jailer who is. But China’s trade with Russia is less than a tenth of what it is with Europe and the Americas. Cheap Russian oil won’t fuel a factory that has no one to sell what it produces. And cheap Russian bread won’t be very satisfying without anything tasty to spread on it.

Suppose we suppose Russia and its trading partners never existed. Well, neither did the Western Hemisphere before Columbus. If, in 1491, the people of the Americas knew that the Europeans existed, and what they had to offer, they’d have come crawling, potatoes and tomatoes in hand. Had they had nuclear weapons they’d hardly have had reason to threaten their would-be trading partners. So neither will the Russians. What they’ll do – I give it six weeks – is withdraw from Ukraine and thank us profusely for accepting their reparation payments.

Of course none of this will happen. Though come to think of it it did happen with Germany from 1939 to 1945, and with Japan from 1941 to 1945. But it won’t happen now because … Because Russia hasn’t invaded Poland, or launched an attack on Pearl Harbour. Will it? Probably not. Mariupol isn’t Poland, and Bucha isn’t Hawaii.        



Categories: Editorials, Everything You Wanted to Know About What's Going On in the World But Were Afraid to Ask

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3 replies

  1. I’m in. We pretend that Russia doesn’t exist and deal with that part of the world that does. If Russia sells or buys something, we do without. Let Germany spin its windmills to keep the lights on. Though I imagine they are wondering if de-commissioning a nuclear reactor is in any way reversible. Perhaps easier than reversing a policy folly, if Vietnam is an object lesson. Which it is.

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  2. “… the Government of Canada is taking strong and decisive action. Today, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced the Government of Canada will ban crude oil imports from Russia.” – Govt of Canada website –
    To give credit where credit is due, they go on to say Canada does not actually import crude oil from Russia and hasn’t since 2019. They are also ‘taking steps’ to ID any other petro products that may be included in the ban.
    ‘Taking steps’ – the attack on the Ukraine could possibly be over by the time Canada has finished taking steps…

    Like

    • We’re also slow-walking a proposal from industry to dispatch a couple dozen Harpoon anti-ship missiles to help Ukraine complicate any Russian amphibious landings from the Black Sea. (The missiles, according to the National Post, are in storage, pending modernization. We wouldn’t be robbing the Navy’s frigates of their weapons.) I think our great fear is that anything we do might actually kill an armed Russian invader and this would stain our reputation as a peace-loving convenor nation. Again if we take steps slowly enough the Russians will already be lodged ashore and the historians can make arguments that the Harpoons wouldn’t have done any good anyway.

      Let’s be fair. Maybe there is a secret plan here that we want to handle more adroitly than the public flap over the Polish MiGs.

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