Sunday, December 7, 2014

Escalating tensions with Russia, and precedents of history


An older generation of lefties now feel the younger generation of lefties running Washington is getting in over its head as it ratchets up rhetoric over Russia.

A new media news site called Sputnik offers this:
"If you wonder," wrote Robert Parry, "how the world could stumble into WWIII — much as it did into WWI a century ago — all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire US political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats versus black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason." 
Parry, the journalist who revealed Iran-Contra, is one of the few who investigate the central role of the media in this "game of chicken", as the Russian foreign minister called it. But is it a game? As I write this, the US Congress votes on Resolution 758 which, in a nutshell, says: ‘Let's get ready for war with Russia’.
And, yes, economic sanctions, if applied in a reckless or overzealous manner can have unintended consequences up to and including full scale, all out, world war.

Don't believe me?

Take a look  at history. Parry may harken back to World War I, but there's a more recent and arguably better example.

American sanctions on Japan preceded Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.

The case can be made Roosevelt never intended those sanctions to be a stringent as they were, but that overzealous federal bureaucrats worked them every way possible, likely hurting Japan deeper and faster than Roosevelt intended.

Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor came roughly five months after Roosevelt's executive order freezing Japanese assets in the U.S.

The Obama adminsitration began rolling out its sanctions against Russia last March.

And there's one more wild card in play right now. Cheap Saudi oil that currently threatens the profitability of U.S. shale drillers already appears to be wreaking much deeper havoc with Russia's oil based economy.

The more players you have, the more complicated things get.

The more complicated things get, the greater the chance of unintended consequences.

Related: Putin's boast

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