Free Markets, Free People

So how are those sanctions against Russia going?

Ask France:

France will press ahead with a 1.2 billion-euro ($1.66 billion) contract to sell helicopter carriers to Russia because cancelling the deal would do more damage to Paris than to Moscow, French diplomatic sources said on Monday.

France has come under pressure from Washington and some European partners to reconsider its supply of high-tech military hardware to Moscow. It had said it would review the deal in October – but not before.

However, French diplomatic sources said on Monday the 2011 contract with Russia for two Mistral helicopter carriers, with an option for two more, would not be part of a third round of sanctions against Moscow.

“The Mistrals are not part of the third level of sanctions. They will be delivered. The contract has been paid and there would be financial penalties for not delivering it.

“It would be France that is penalized. It’s too easy to say France has to give up on the sale of the ships. We have done our part.”

And, we can’t have the sanctions hurt France, can we?

One of the attack helicopter carriers will be deployed in the Black Sea, where all the trouble began:

The first carrier, the Vladivostok, is due to be delivered by the last quarter of 2014. The second, named Sebastopol after the Crimean seaport, is supposed to be delivered by 2016.

How does France justify its intention to provide the ships?

“We are not delivering armed warships, but only the frame of the ship,” the source said.

That, of course, misses the entire point of sanctions. It is a punishment for wrong behavior. It is supposed to be a way one side teaches the other not to do what it has done. And the Western powers agreed that “strong sanctions” be imposed because of Russia’s unacceptable behavior. Now we see the exceptions being made – exceptions that Russia will, rightfully, view as weakness.

Additionally, that “frame” the French are dismissing as inconsequential will give Russia access to advanced technology. And these “frames” have quite a potent capability. The Mistral can carry up to 16 attack helicopters, such as Russia’s Kamov Ka-50/52; more than 40 tanks or 70 motor vehicles; and up to 700 soldiers.

As for leadership from the US insisting that the French not provide the Russians with advanced weaponry?

A French government source said at no point had the U.S. officially expressed any concern over the sale …

Another example of why “strong sanctions” is, in reality, an oxymoron, especially when the Western powers are concerned.


24 Responses to So how are those sanctions against Russia going?

  • #hashtagtheyasses.
    That’ll fix THEM…

  • In a decisive move today, the Obama administration has asked Twitter to prevent Russia from using hashtags for #Vladivostok or #Sebastapol until and unless they withdraw from the Crimea.   In response Russia threatened to rename the first helicopter carrier delivered the Josef Stalin.
    Jay Carney, White House press secretary noted in the daily briefing that the administration is dedicated to utilizing all options with regards to pressuring Vladmir Putin into “Doing the right thing”.
    Joe Biiden, touring small hamburger establishments in the upper northwest corner of Kansas said this was a, quote, “big *expletive* deal and would show the Eastern Europeans the US and the west were behind them.
    Barack Obama, currently golfing at Andrews Air Force base could not be reached for comment, but his wife Michelle sent out a Hashtag photo “Return our Balaclavas” to shame Russia into serious negotiations with Ukraine and withdrawal from the annexed territories.

  • U.S. ambassador to the U.K. Matthew Barzun wrote an editorial on May 10 for the U.K. Daily Mail newspaper where he refers to sanctions on Russia by the U.S., Britain, and EU as a “21st Century use of force,” and said that Russia is in danger of “profound economic costs.”  The ambassador insists the mockery and criticism of the sanctions overlooks their “potency”:
    I spit you not.  BTW, we have had no ambassador to Russia for three months.
    If Russia is paying a price, it sure looks like a bargain to me.

    • That great foreign policy expert, SideShow Erb has studied on this carefully.   And written about it too.
      Putin is losing, can’t you see that?
      The problem is we’re still looking at this in last century terms, maybe even terms familiar to people 2 centuries back.  We’re out of date, we’re completely out of our depth with regards to the potency of the array of sanctions and so forth that the west, and the Obama administration in particular, has laid on the Russians.
      (best Howard Cosell voice over)
      We’re two months into the punishment phase here in the former Ukrainian Crimea, and I think it’s safe to say that this has turned into a real stomach churner for the Russians and Vlad Putin in particular.  They are clearly, CLEARLY, suffering.   Why Putin’s government is practically collapsing and it’s almost a certainty that he himself sleeps with one eye opened at night for fear of being carried into the streets of Moscow and marched through Red Square on the shoulders of the populace in a victory parade….
      I mean, carried out of his house, tarred, feathered and run out of town on a Russian rail for destroying Russia, the Russian economy, and Russian pride.

      • Meanwhile, we are sending over 3.5 billion $$$ so them air Ucranes can pay the Ruskies for their gas.
        Sanctions you say?

        • Yeah!  We’re showing them Rueshans!  They can’t extort people like that!  They seek to weaken Ukraine by taking money from them!  Well we’ll just see about that!  We’ll pay the bill, then let’s see how smart they are after they get that check for $3.5 billion!  Boy that’ll fix em yessirre bobcat tail!
          You know, you just can’t make this kind of stuff up because when you do people don’t believe you.  Nope, it has to REALLY happen, and then people like Erp won’t talk about it.

        We’re really putting the screws to the OTHER Russia…the one in the Middle East.  #Don’tNukeMeBro
        But Erp has Baracula down as a foreign policy GENIUS

    • Here’s Russia, suffering.
      We ban your astronauts.
      And we stop launching your military satellites.
      And good luck using your GPS Amerika!
      Somehow this is not exactly where I thought this would ever get to back in the 70’s…..
      Unless you were reading about John Christian Falkenberg and Vice Admiral Sergi Lermontov and CoDominium Space marines…..

  • I’m struggling here to recall an instance of when sanctions at the national level ever prevented a regime from not doing what they wanted and did not in fact cement their hold on power for a lot longer than necessary. Struggling…

    • There is an argument that South Africa was rid of Apartheid by the concerted sanctions applied against their government.
      But, really, who knows the in and out of that?

      • Well, that and some brushfire wars.

      • Ahh yes, I forgot South Africa. But it was kind of unique in being a western country still largely founded on old Anglo-Saxon and christian principles. I’ve been there a couple of times and stayed with Afrikaaners out in the countryside and they seemed fairly fair minded, even took me on tours of apartheid museums which were pretty ugly. The sanctions may have hastened the change of governance in this case but I think that in this case because the people in power mostly did not believe in the “principles” of apartheid. Therein lies the failure of sanctions as practised by Team Obama, they think Alinskyite methods of making rulers live up to their own principles will work in Russia, when in fact Putin’s only principle is Putin and Mother Russia first. The same reason sanctions fail against other similar states.

        • Yeah, same reason the Brits left India – when you can be made to actually feel guilty for your past actions….
          Vlad isn’t going start feeling guilty any time soon.

          • when you can be made to actually feel guilty for your past actions….

            Silly billy! That is just partisan neanderthal lizard-brain ideological thinking that belongs back in the 20th century. I mean really, what did the Romans ever do for us? Errr, I mean the British…

  • France and the US are two of three the largest arms dealers in the world, the third being Russia.
    Kettle, meet pot.

    • That is silly. See Sigivald’s post below.

    • Non-sequitur, and juvenile. That’s the same logic the Brady Center uses.
      Look at their “customers” for the proper comparisons,

  • France has never cared about sanctions regimes.
    Remember the Iraq sanctions? Yeah.

    (Constitution: SIPRI says for 2013 it’s Russia, USA, China, France. And of course the US. while being an “arms supplier”, is mostly giving or selling to allies, not Whoever Has Some Cash. Congress doesn’t like US companies selling to random unapproved countries so much, and much of the US “supply” is State Department/DoD directed, specifically to our allies.
    Which, while “arms dealing” in a sense, is not quite the same as “selling to anyone with a dollar”.)

  • The same France that armed Saddam, Idi Amin, the PLO, Yassar Arafat….

    Me thinks we should nuke France, the hell with Russia.

  • Video – Found after 500 years, the wreck of Christopher Columbus’s flagship the Santa Maria

  • Hey, who is the US dependent upon for access to the ISS again?  Oh, that’s right… shame if that were to be cut off…

    • “American astronauts depend on Russian rockets to get to the ISS, but after the U.S. imposed sanctions – which deny export licenses for high-tech items that could aid Russia’s military — Rogozin offered up a different idea.

      “I propose that the United States delivers its astronauts to the ISS with the help of a trampoline,” he said.
      So.  That happened…

  • Remind me to laugh long and loud if one day those carriers are the source of French troop deaths