Blinken Creates a Stir on Russian Sanctions

We’ve seen that Joe Biden seems to be completely confused when it comes to sanctions on Russia for its war against Ukraine.

He first claimed that Vladimir Putin would be deterred by his threats of sanctions, even though he didn’t impose any. Kamala Harris and the other Biden officials stated, indeed, that deterrence was what they were after.

But then after Russia invaded, Biden tried to claim that they never thought sanctions would deter Putin, that “sanctions never deter.” Not only did that conflict with what they had previously said, but it also doesn’t make any sense. If they don’t deter, then why are you imposing them? The problem with Biden was he didn’t want to admit that his posture pre-invasion had failed, so instead, he came up with the ridiculous posture that “sanctions don’t deter.”

Although, maybe it’s that they don’t deter when they hold no real teeth. We’ve heard a lot about all the sanctions that have been put on Russia, and a lot of companies have indeed pulled out of dealing with Russia. But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized the sanctions , saying they weren’t strong enough — that the SWIFT sanction, for example, only involved seven Russian banks when there are more than 300 banks. Russians have many options for evading sanctions.

Then during a new interview with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd raised questions about the effectiveness of the sanctions, saying that the ruble had been “restrengthened,” and while he acknowledged that there was likely some manipulation in the number, Todd’s implication was that because some in Europe were still buying Russian oil and gas, the Russians were skirting the real effect of sanctions. Todd wanted to know if Blinken could tighten sanctions. Blinken disputed that the sanctions weren’t working, claiming that the Russian economy had contracted by 10 percent.

According to the “Meet the Press” transcript, Todd also raised the question of how potential negotiations might proceed, asking whether Putin would be left in power or given an advantage, after what he had done.

You have just described a situation, and Richard Engel was telling me, that there are people in Ukraine going, “Hey, we’ve got Putin in as weak of a spot as we’ve had him in a long time. This is actually not the time to suddenly negotiate a way for him to get out of this.”

Nobody wants more war. At the same time, I don’t think a lot of people, including the president of the United States, want to see Putin remain in power after this. Can we end the situation by giving Putin something in return for his efforts to win over the Donbass?

Blinken claimed that this depends upon Ukraine in terms of accepting what they will accept and that Putin is subject to what happens.

Todd then asked about sanctions again and whether Zelensky would have the “ability to negotiate sanctions relief with Putin.”

That’s when Blinken said something that was immediately picked up and attacked as weak.

The entire international community that’s come together to impose those sanctions on Russia will be looking to see what Ukraine is doing and what it wants to do. If it decides it is capable of ending this war, stopping the destruction and death, and continuing to claim its sovereignty and independence, then we will be happy to lift the sanctions.

Chuck, it’s not for indefinite use. It’s to change Russia’s conduct. The sanctions, the pressure and the support that we provide for Ukraine as a result will be removed at some point. However, Russia’s actions and future plans are entirely up to them.

On a day when you had reports of citizens being found shot, with their hands tied behind their backs, and stories about torture chambers, the comment about possibly lifting sanctions didn’t go over well.

Chuck Todd then asked Hillary Clinton’s former Secretary-of-State about Blinken.

Secretary! [of State] Blinken essentially say, “look, sanctions relief could happen, it all depends on the behavior of Russia.”

Can we really live in a world where Putin’s let back into the New World Order?

Whoops. There are those words again. We saw Joe Biden drop them a couple of weeks ago in the context of this war as well. Are they now acknowledging it’s no longer a conspiracy? Why are we suddenly hearing that about this war?

Clinton said she wouldn’t let them back into things like the G20 (it isn’t up to her). It is important to note that nobody has mentioned cutting the Russians out of the Iran Deal. The rest of her response was interesting — it was a subtle dig at Joe Biden because she listed some of the things that Biden hasn’t done — including cutting off more banks from the SWIFT system.

She doesn’t want to respond as to what the future would hold for Russia, and neither does Blinken.

Of course, Todd had Hillary Clinton there and didn’t bother to ask her about the FEC fining her campaign and the DNC last week for their lying about the Steele dossier.

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