Plenty of media focus on Ukrainian military success and Russian failure in the fighting in Ukraine but far too little attention is given to the way in which the Western economic war against Russia has boomeranged against the EU states.
The bid to ensure that Russia went on exporting plenty of crude oil – 11.2 million barrels a day in December – while at the same time limiting its earnings from higher oil prices was always contradictory and bizarre. President Vladimir Putin was derisive about the economic impact of a Western price cap on the price of Russian crude that is above the Russian sales price.
Effective sanctions on Russian oil exports would require heavy punishment of anybody breaking the rules – and that would send the price of oil soaring to the benefit of Moscow.
Big winners here are the Middle East, China and India as they buy cheap Russian crude and oil products such as diesel. I found this article in Middle East Eye particularly interesting about the profitable games now being played by many countries as they tranship Russian crude, blending it with a few drops of something else, or supply their domestic market with Russian product and, in the case of oil producers, sell their own on to the Europeans.
“Gulf states have already traded places with Russia in the crude market, redirecting sales to Europe, while Moscow muscles in on their traditional customers in Asia with cut-rate prices,” notes the piece.
I may not have spent enough time in recent years thinking about transgender issues. I felt there were other, possibly more significant things, to reflect on, and found it perplexing to find the question in the frontline of the so-called culture wars, debates on freedom of speech, and the future of Scotland within the UK.
But it turns out that I was not alone and many others spend much time not thinking about the trans issue. After conducting a poll, YouGov concluded from its findings that “despite Westminster’s fixation with such issues – alongside sections of the media and Twitter – the public themselves are far less invested. Two thirds of Britons say they pay little attention (42 per cent) or no attention (24 per cent) to the debate in the media and politics about trans rights. Only one in three say they pay more attention than this, including just 8 per cent who say they pay ‘a lot’ of attention.”
Most of the “culture wars” in Britain turn out to be better described as “cultural skirmishes” that few people engage in or take very seriously. A curious aspect of these supposed wars is that those who claim most vociferously to be defending British values have transplanted cultural conflicts from America that do not resonate to anything like the same degree in the UK. The controversy over statues, for example, never really took fire in Britain as it did in the US where the statues of Confederate generals who fought to preserve slavery carry a live – and bitterly resented – political message.
I remember an Iraqi friend, long active in trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein, saying to me a couple of months before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003: “I only hope the Americans do not realise that what they are about to do is against their own best interests.” I remember also a conversation with an influential American journalist in Washington about the proposed US occupation of Iraq. “I don’t believe Iraqis will like that very much,” I said. “Who cares what they think?” he inquired by way of reply. “Who cares?” This book – Confronting Saddam Hussein: George W Bush and the Invasion of Iraq by Melvyn P Leffler – has much interesting to say about what happened.
This content originally appeared on CounterPunch.org and was authored by Patrick Cockburn.
Patrick Cockburn | Radio Free (2023-01-23T06:57:10+00:00) The Blowback From Sanctions Against Russia. Retrieved from https://www.radiofree.org/2023/01/23/the-blowback-from-sanctions-against-russia/
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