Thursday, February 19, 2015
When is a sanction not a sanction? When the penalized party ignores it and keeps doing what others want to stop. Think, for example, of sanctions on Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine. Countries keep tightening the screws but Putin is moving ahead to supply troops and armaments to the rebels. At some point, the US believes, Russia has to give in, but it is not there yet and might never be. It is an example of failing communication, and there is little the world can do about it. A next step would be to supply arms to the Ukrainians but no one believes this will solve the problem. Russia has depots of weapons that it can pour into the turbulent eastern zone for the foreseeable future. The challenge, then, is how to communicate to one who isn't listening and is defiant. There isn't a good answer. If Putin were to wreck his country in order to get his way, his citizens would rebel, but that doesn't seem close and Putin can stamp out unrest with force for some time. Hence, a communications conundrum for world leaders. There isn't much else to do so they keep adding sanctions and hoping at some point, Putin will quit. It is likely that they have under-estimated the man and how far he is willing to go.