Posts Tagged ‘sanctions’


Monday, May 12th, 2014

In the context of the Russian:Ukrainian conflict of 2014, our American government has placed some admittedly minimal sanctions upon American companies, barring them from doing business with certain Russian entities. Moreover, it has created a climate of anxiety amongst stockbrokers and bankers in the USA such that they refuse to place orders on behalf of customers to buy or sell financial instruments on the Moscow-based stock-exchange.

Such sanctions do not constitute an act of war. As usual, they likely will harm American companies and individuals more than Russian and will benefit our foreign competitors. The sanctions may be foolish; but they are legitimate and, more importantly, constitutional.

In contrast, should enforcing sanctions via foreign companies, barring them from doing business with Russia, be considered an act of undeclared war, especially when threatening such companies and their native countries with American economic reprisals? Do such sanctions represent a form of blockade … economically if not militarily? Is such an economic blockade an act of war? Is it worse than foolish? Is it wantonly dangerous and clearly unconstitutional?

Over the past many decades, the federal government in all its three branches has trashed the U.S. Constitution. Full-scale trashing began  with FDR, followed by the Warren-Court, followed by LBJ, followed by Bush the First, followed by Bush the Second, now by Obama.

One of its most prominent features has been our entering into protracted military conflicts without declarations of war as demanded by the U.S. Constitution. Korea, then Viet Nam, then Iraq twice, then Afghanistan. Never since 1941 has a sitting-President sought a declaration of war, nor has the Congress passed one … only so-called resolutions. A congressional resolution, however, is not a declaration of war; it is a cowardly retreat from political responsibility now coupled with a full-scale loss of our liberty as embodied in the so-called Patriot Act . . . politicians, bureaucrats, and ideologues are partial towards euphemisms. Notwithstanding euphemisms, the loss of liberty by one is the loss of liberty by all.

The Western Hemisphere is the American sphere of direct national interest not the Russian. Ironically, in 2013 and not surprisingly waiting until after his reëlection, Obama renounced his responsibility therein by renouncing the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, a cornerstone of American foreign policy for more than one hundred-fifty years … a policy favored from the start even by Britain.

Ukraine, however, is not in the Western Hemisphere but is in the Russian sphere of direct national interest not the American. Yet it is in Ukraine that Obama is assuming responsibility despite having no basis even under so-called international law. Moreover, as President Putin has noted, given the American intervention into Kosovo, it appears dangerously hypocritical and is. Meanwhile, foreign powers locate military assets in South America whilst China essentially controls the Panamanian Canal.

Compounding the danger, some commentators create a straw-man by providing only two alternatives for the USA in foreign conflicts … active intervention or isolationism. There is, however, a third … interventionism outside the Western Hemisphere only under the strictest of terms and conditions coupled with strong defense inside the Western Hemisphere (

Russia:Ukraine of 2014 is not Germany:Czechoslovakia of 1938. The context is different … potential nuclear war. The consequences are different … potential destruction of not only all humanity but of all aerobic life on Earth.

Accordingly, let us Americans act constitutionally, prudently, and accordingly. One mistake too many, intentional or unintentional, may be our last. Remember the incident at Sarajevo in 1914 and the bloody war that followed but nobody wanted.