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.