by Stephen Lendman
On April 28, a duplicitous White House press secretary statement said in part:
"The United States has taken further action today in response to Russia's continued illegal intervention in Ukraine and provocative acts that undermine Ukraine's democracy and threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity."
"Since April 17, Russia has done nothing to meet its Geneva commitments and in fact has further escalated the crisis."
"Russia's involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine is indisputable."
"Consequently, today the United States is imposing targeted sanctions on a number of Russian individuals and entities and restricting licenses for certain US exports to Russia."
"The Department of the Treasury is imposing sanctions on seven Russian government officials, including two members of President Putin's inner circle, who will be subject to an asset freeze and a US visa ban, and 17 companies linked to Putin's inner circle, which will be subject to an asset freeze."
"In addition, the Department of Commerce has imposed additional restrictions on 13 of those companies by imposing a license requirement with a presumption of denial for the export, re-export or other foreign transfer of US-origin items to the companies."
"Further, today the Departments of Commerce and State have announced a tightened policy to deny export license applications for any high-technology items that could contribute to Russia's military capabilities."
"Those Departments also will revoke any existing export licenses that meet these conditions."
Fact: Sanctions on Russia have no legitimacy whatever.
Fact: They're political.
Fact: They have no legal standing.
Fact: They expose Washington's dark side.
Fact: Hegemons operate this way.
Fact: Washington exceeds the worst in world history.
Fact: It risks East/West confrontation.
Fact: It risks possible WW III.
Fact: It threatens humanity's survival.
On March 20, Obama's Executive Order Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine authorized Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to target Russian officials and economic interests lawlessly.
Expect harsher measures to follow. Expect heightened tensions to escalate.
Moscow promised an appropriate response. Sanctions cut both ways. Russia can hurt America numerous ways.
Bilateral ruble/renminbi trade weakens dollar strength. It's a pillar of America's geopolitical/military might. It furthers US supremacy. It does so at the expense of other nations.
It finances America's global military machine. It advances US imperialism. It benefits financial speculation.
It facilitates corporate takeovers. It does so at the expense of beneficial social change, human and civil rights. It denies democratic values.
Global central banks recycle dollar inflows. They do so into US Treasuries. They finance America's deficit. It matters with QE diminishing. Perhaps ending.
Petroruble/petrorenminbi trade weakens petrodollar strength. Imagine other nations going the same route.
Imagine petrodollar might becoming a shadow of its former self. Imagine destructive US policies waning.
Imagine mighty America going the way of all previous empires. It's not a matter of if. It's when. It's by what means. Sooner or later it's coming. It can't happen a moment too soon.
Itar Tass responded to Obama's arrogance, saying:
"The United States announced new sanctions against Russia in relation to the events in Ukraine."
"The US Department of treasury said that the list includes presidential envoy to the Crimean region Oleg Belaventsev, CEO of Rostech Sergei Chemezov, Deputy prime-minister Dmitry Kozak, Federal Guard Service Eugene Murov, Chairman of the State Duma lower house committee for international affairs Alexei Pushkov, head of Rosheft Igor Sechin, the first deputy head of the presidential administration Vyacheslav Volodin."
Earlier US sanctions targeted other Russian officials. Doing so reflects imperial arrogance.
Washington "suspended cooperation with Russia in the field of combating drug trafficking and in the space industry (except for the International Space Station project), and introduced restrictions for supplying military and double-purpose products to Russia," said Itar Tass.
EU countries "blacklist(ed) another 15 people." EU Council members targeted "those responsible for the lack of reduction of tension in the east of Ukraine."
EU states blacklisted 48 Russian officials to date. They're banned from EU travel until November. Their Western bank accounts, if any, are frozen.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov "strongly condemn(ed) the announced set of measures aimed at trying to put pressure on Russia by means of sanctions."
"Unilateral exterritorial sanctions are illegitimate in nature," he said.
"Not only do they not conform to the norms of civilised interstate communication and the practice of international relations, but they also run counter to international law."
"By making this decision, the United States was guided by absolutely distorted and unfounded perceptions regarding the events in Ukraine and around it."
"Washington is pouring oil on the flames but has done nothing, has not taken even one step to bring its proteges in Kiev to their senses."
"The new attempt at diktat and ultimatum undertaken by America against us will add no chance for a constructive resolution of the problems."
"The demands the protesters are putting forth in the eastern regions of Ukraine are absolutely legitimate."
"Instead of exerting pressure and making attempts to impose certain solutions, the United States should get preoccupied with more intensive and substantive work with its clients in Kiev in order to normalise the situation."
"We will respond, although it is not our choice. (W)e can't leave this situation without reaction, without practical reaction, without reaction by means of our own decision. US behavior in the field is becoming provocative."
Putin aide Andrei Belousov said sanctions imposed "are insignificant. There may be some short-lived effects, but they are unlikely to have any serious annual impact."
On Monday, Putin said Western sanctions advantage Russia in some ways. Domestic business is bolstered.
Offshore funds came home. Policymakers are establishing a domestic payment system.
Last week, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said sanctions make Russia stronger.
"Thanks to Western sanctions, Russia has been given the incentive to reduce its dependence on outside and instead regional economies are being more self-sufficient."
Restricting Russian Western exports redirects them to Asia. They're sold elsewhere. Expect Sino/Russian ties to become stronger than ever.
Perhaps other significant trading partners will join them. Perhaps Washington and rogue EU partners shot themselves in the foot.
It remains to be seen what follows. Perhaps more sanctions. Perhaps Russia retaliating in kind. Perhaps escalating tensions further.
Perhaps the worst of all possible outcomes. Stay tuned for further updates.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.