The US has released a new blacklist of prominent Russian businessmen and political officials who are officially “on notice” for potentially being personally sanctioned by the US Treasury. The list reads like a ‘who’s who’ of Russian society. On the so-called Kremlin list are Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, long serving Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov and First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov. From the business world, the US list includes the heads of energy giants Gazprom and Rosneft, as well as the Russian air giant Aeroflot.
When told about the official list from Washington, Russian President Putin sarcastically replied that he feels sad to be left out of the list. This list is just another symptom of a US regime which seeks to use sanctions to punish Russia and other nations whenever they achieve a success.
It is no coincidence that the blacklist was released on the eve of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi. The very fact that such a Congress has commenced, represents a a triumph of Eurasian diplomacy, led by the Russian Foreign Ministry. Already, the Congress has generated more meaningful dialogue and multi-national debates than the long stalled and perpetually fruitless Geneva Talks, which the Congress intends to re-ignite in a meaningful way.
Similarly, the recent re-instigation of a ‘Sunshine Policy’ between the two Korean states has been largely due to intensive Russian diplomatic efforts with its long standing partners in the DPRK and its new found partners in the traditionally pro-US South Korea. It is no coincidence that the decision on the part of Seoul and Pyongyang to have their athletes march under a unification flag at the Olympics, came after a Russian proposed tripartite economic cooperation scheme between the two Korean states at Russia, which was made in the presence of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a high level DPRK delegation at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in the autumn of 2017.
Finally, with Russia continuing to expand diplomatic and economic ties with traditional US allies including Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines–Russia’s approach is clearly wining new friends while the US approach seems only to be alienating very old friends. The alienation implicit in contemporaneity American diplomacy’ has caused three prominent schisms even with the EU, the generally most pro-US bloc of nations in the world.
While geopolitically, the EU largely remains America’s playground, officials in Brussels have grown frustrated with US attempts to scarper the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) which has seen European companies engage in profitable business activity with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Likewise, many in Europe are frustrated that the US is trying to cut relatively cheap Russian gas out of the European market and replace it with costly US produced liquefied natural gas. Finally, with Donald Trump saying that the EU is “unfair” in its practices towards US companies, many in Brussels have warned the US not to bully its ally across the Atlantic.
US “diplomacy” is increasingly a series of bully tactics which employ sanctions, the threat of sanctions, economic blackmail/”aid withdrawal”, the threat of war (North Korea) and actual war (the Middle East), in order to get its way. This is not diplomacy nor is it an ‘aggressive business strategy’. The increasingly abrasive attitude of the US to both countries with historical disagreements and its long standing allies is not a ‘businesslike’ attitude, it is the attitude of an international mafia racket doing the dirty work for what is increasingly becoming a dysfunctional mafia state.
Perhaps most embarrassingly for the US, the method has not worked. Turkey, Pakistan and Philippines are moving out of the US geopolitical orbit at a lightening pace. None of these three countries can honestly be called US allies anymore. North Korea and South Korea are cooperating over the Olympics and possibly other matters in spite of US bullying. China and Japan are attempting an historic rapprochement which the US has no hand in, while Sudan has publicly stated that it wants to replace the US with a Russian partnership.
To add insult to injury from a US perspective, the EU just announced it has rejected US calls for further anti-Russian sanctions. The US is losing partners, allies and even dependants with its bullying techniques. If it continues to try and punish countries like Russia, it may find itself even more isolated from diplomatic circles of trust than it already is.