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    Is Washington's Anti-Russian Sanctions Policy Bursting at the Seams?

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    While American mainstream media continue to tell the story of the imaginary Russian menace to the West, the truth nevertheless finds a way out, inflicting damage upon the dominant Washington narrative against Moscow, US political analyst Gilbert Doctorow notes.

    Although US pundits and media sources continue to draw a gloomy picture of Russia's economy being torn to pieces, once in a while the truth finds its way out.

    "Emma Ashford, a visiting research fellow at the neoliberal/libertarian Cato Institute, produced an essay that is a jumble of statistics and arguments, many of them contradictory, and all of them set out without prioritization… But what makes this essay newsworthy is that hit or miss the author is going up against the US establishment and directly calling for an end to US sanctions against Russia," US political analyst and historian Gilbert Doctorow writes in his article for Consortiumnews.com.

    The essay, published in influential Foreign Affairs, argues that the sanctions imposed on Russia by the West have been totally useless. They have neither altered the course of Moscow's foreign and military policy in the directions desired by Washington, nor caused any substantial damage to the Russian economy.

    Furthermore, Ashford emphasized that the Western sanctions policy has caused the Russians to join other BRICS members in creating an alternative financial institution, thereby putting America's dominance under threat.

    "Along the way, Ashford agrees with IMF predictions that 'even with continued low oil prices… growth will return to the Russian economy in 2016.' This means the sectoral prohibitions have not impaired the economy in the ways intended," Doctorow points out.

    "The Kremlin has also managed to circumvent the sanctions, partly by turning to China," Ashford stressed, adding that in October Moscow and Beijing agreed to a 150 billion yuan currency swap, allowing Russian and Chinese companies to trade commodities in rubles and yuans.

    According to Ashford, Western sanctions are also to blame for the Russian population consolidation and Vladimir Putin's growing approval rates.

    At the same time the Cato Institute research fellow is banging the drums over the "costs of containment" to the US and its allies in Europe. Citing the Austrian Institute of Economic Research, she warned that the prolongation of the sanctions may cost Europe "over 90 billion euros in export revenue and more than two million jobs over the next few years."

    Emma Ashford's narrative comes as a complete surprise, Doctorow notes, referring to the fact that her stance differs from that of her counterparts.

    "Ashford's recommendation, the true punch-line of the article, is that 'the United States should cut its losses and unilaterally lift the majority of the sanctions on Russia'," the US political analyst emphasizes.

    In this light, Doctorow notes, her essay may have inflicted even more damage upon Washington's sanctions policy consensus, that John Mearsheimer's article "Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West's Fault" did.

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    Tags:
    International Monetary Fund, backlash, US hegemony, domestic politics, anti-Russian sanctions, foreign policy, oil price, economy, sanctions, BRICS, Vladimir Putin, China, Europe, United States, Ukraine, Russia
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