If Germany won’t stop buying Russian gas, it should face sanctions too - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15223096
Telegraph wrote:Anyone buying German goods right now is effectively funding Putin’s war

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The gas is still flowing through the pipelines across Europe. The oil is still being unloaded at the refineries. And €800m a day is being sent straight to Moscow.

Germany and to a lesser extent Italy are effectively funding Vladimir Putin's brutal assault on Ukraine. Shelling of innocent civilians, mass rapes, and the destruction of whole cities is being financed by European consumers and industry.

True, Germany is debating cutting off the gas. It is setting targets for winding up the payments to Russia and exploring alternative supplies that would keep the lights switched on.

And yet for now it has decided the cost to German industry would be too high. That is completely unacceptable. If the Germans don't want to make that sacrifice, it is up to them. Yet there is no reason why the rest of the world should tolerate that. The moment is surely close for sanctions to be imposed on Germany.

Anyone buying German goods is funding the war – and while stopping energy imports would not end it immediately they would make it a lot shorter and save tens of thousands of innocent lives.

In response to the invasion of Ukraine, the UK, the United States, and of course the European Union have imposed round after round of sanctions. Yachts belonging to Putin’s corrupt gang of cronies have been seized in the ritzier resorts around the Mediterranean.

Football clubs have been put into trust to be sold to more acceptable owners. Some, but not all, of the Russian banks have been frozen out of the financial system, and, with a handful of shameful exceptions, most Western companies have closed down their operations in the country.

All of that will have a significant impact on the Russian economy. Its GDP is estimated to drop by 10pc to 20pc this year. That is going to cause real pain.

There is a gaping hole in the package, however, and it hardly takes a microscope to see it. Europe is still importing vast quantities of Russian gas, and to a lesser extent oil, with most of it flowing into Germany and Italy.


Even worse, the soaring price of natural gas since the invasion means the amount paid to Moscow has doubled in the last year. Europe is sending Putin a cheque for €800m (£662m) a day.

We can sequester yachts and cut off Netflix if we want to. And yet the blunt truth is that the regime in the Kremlin can simply shrug all that off.

There is still plenty of money to keep the economy going, and to finance even the catastrophic losses of men, machinery and ammunition suffered by an inept, poorly led Russian army. Only an immediate ban on Russian gas would make a real difference.

Here’s the problem, however. Germany has decided that would cause too much economic pain. There would be “social unrest”, according to the economy minister Robert Habeck.

There could be a catastrophic loss of competitiveness, according to the German chemicals industry, with major manufacturers warning that they might have to close plants for months.

An “emergency gas plan” drawn up in Berlin warns of potential rationing, and return to working from home, and offices and factories switching to three days a week. It is not, the government has concluded, worth the pain it would cause.

In reality, that is debatable. Plenty of independent assessments have concluded that even closing down Russian gas completely would cause only a mild recession. It might amount to 2pc or perhaps 3pc of output lost, and even that would be recovered in a year or so.


Germany is one of the richest societies in the world, and, at 60pc, has one of the lowest debt-to-GDP ratios, and could add 10 points to that to pay for the damage without anyone really noticing.

It would be less expensive than dealing with Covid-19. It is simply that the German government and its industrial leaders have decided it is not a price worth paying.

Germany is free to make that decision if it wishes, but there is no reason why the rest of the world should accept it. In effect, anyone buying German cars, chemicals, machine tools, or electrical equipment is paying for Russian gas. And that Russian gas is paying the soldiers shelling cities in Ukraine.

The solution? It is not hard to figure out. As more and more atrocities by Russian soldiers are uncovered, surely the moment has arrived to put sanctions on Germany as well.

That could work in a variety of different ways. There could be temporary tariffs imposed on Germany exports, with the money sent to Ukraine to pay for its war effort and to help the millions of refugees (admittedly, that would be illegal under EU law, but there would be nothing to stop the UK, US, Canada, Australia and many others).

We could impose a six-month ban on German exports, and keep extending it until the war was over, or the gas pipelines closed down. Alternatively, we could organise consumer boycotts. After all, anyone buying a new BMW or Volkswagen is indirectly paying for Putin’s army – a point worth keeping in mind when choosing a new car.

There wouldn’t be much of a cost. Sure, Germany is one of the world’s leading manufacturers. But we can buy cars from France, or Japan, and chemicals from South Korea or the US.

There is nothing it makes that can’t be relatively simply sourced elsewhere. The impact in Germany, however, would be dramatic. Cutting off the gas would hurt its industries. But so would not cutting off the gas.

In fact, the hit from keeping the pipes open would probably be worse. The equation would change dramatically.

True it wouldn't end the war overnight. Putin might struggle on with his failing campaign for a while. But it would shorten the war, save thousands of Ukrainian lives – and that is surely a step worth taking.
#15223103
Istanbuller wrote:That sounds too harsh, @noemon bro. But maybe this is the only way to stop Russians. I mean destroying the economy completely.


I don't think it's too harsh mate. I think it's quite obvious that the west needs to step up its support for Ukraine to protect it from another round of mayhem and death.

If you(.ie any western country`) haven't managed to switch your energy for next winter by now -we are about to enter the 3rd month after all- then you clearly don't want to and that's a different thing, besides Germany can tap into its existing nuclear plants and source everything else from elsewhere via LNG as well as increase its storage capacity.

Sanctioning Russia but sending it an 800m paycheck per day is quite ridiculous. It is undermining the sanctions effort and the associated pain.
#15223133
noemon wrote:I don't think it's too harsh mate. I think it's quite obvious that the west needs to step up its support for Ukraine to protect it from another round of mayhem and death.

I found this thread very helpful, I wasn't really clear what I thought till I considered it. I'm categorically opposed to all the sanctions. The sanctions very definitely are not protecting Ukrainians from mayhem and death and its very doubtful that they will in the future. We should move our forces into Ukraine and put a stop to this nonsense now. We should negotiate directly with Putin. Putin should be allowed to keep the territory he currently occupies, but hostilities must seek. We should move our forces up to the frontline with Russian forces and along the border with Russia and Belarus.

Putin should be given 2 options and only 2 options. He ceases his advance into Ukraine and removes his troops from Transnistria or he is at war with the whole of NATO. Is this a risky strategy? Sure but its hard to see how its more risky than the sanctions plan. If Putin won't back down to avoid a direct war with NATO I fail to see why he will just quietly allow himself to be sanctioned into humiliating defeat, retreat and capitulation without seeking to use his unused destructive capabilities.
#15223134
MistyTiger wrote:Europe is heavily dependent on Russian gas. It's going to take years to let go of those sources. One suggestion is that everyone bikes to work for awhile. It is better for the legs anyhow. :)


It will take about 1 year to massively reduce dependence from Russia. It will take about 2-3 years to end all dependence on Russian gas and not have to pay a premium for it either. This is a blink of an eye time frame, and should be done. It is insane that this is the short term pain Germany has been trying to avoid. Time to rip the bandage off and get on with it.

Germany needs to build some LNG terminals like Lithuania (Lithuanian doesn't buy gas from Russia anymore).

Anyway, I agree with the title of the thread. If NATO isn't willing to do a full on assault on Russian forces around the globe (which I fully support), then this is the least that should be done.
#15223137
Somebody here asked this.
If Germany is paying dollars into Russian accounts that are frozen by the sanctions, then how does this help Russia fund its war?

OTOH, why would Russia keep pumping gas and oil to Europe if it can't access its money payments?

IMO, going to war over Ukraine is very likely to lead to a nuclear exchange, after tactical nukes have been used.
. . . I live in Thailand, so I will not die in the exchange, but instead from its other long lasting effects. Most of you will die in the exchange, if there is one.

This should be avoided. This is also why there isn't a no-fly-zone over Ukraine.
.
#15224041
Rich wrote:
If Putin won't back down to avoid a direct war with NATO I fail to see why he will just quietly allow himself to be sanctioned into humiliating defeat, retreat and capitulation without seeking to use his unused destructive capabilities.



Oh. So this is now no longer about sanctioning Germany, and instead the *pro-conquest* imperialist talking points are seeping in....


Steve_American wrote:
Somebody here asked this.
If Germany is paying dollars into Russian accounts that are frozen by the sanctions, then how does this help Russia fund its war?

OTOH, why would Russia keep pumping gas and oil to Europe if it can't access its money payments?



Good catch, Steve -- it's becoming an international localized nexus of bullshit.
#15224292

In using the first-person plural to describe both the United States and Ukraine as engaged in a “fight” against Russia, Austin effectively admitted—for the first time by a US official—that the United States is a combatant in the war.

This statement is especially striking given the declaration by Biden in March that “Direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is World War III, something we must strive to prevent.”



Lavrov concluded, “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.”



On Sunday, Blinken and Austin announced over $322 million in new weapons financing for Ukraine, bringing the total US weapons shipments to $3.7 billion since the start of the war, Reuters reported. US weapons deliveries include Javelin missiles, artillery, ammunition and drones.



Today, the US will host a meeting of dozens of countries centering on arming Ukraine.

Now, two months since the outbreak of the war, US officials are stating publicly what they previously admitted only in secret: The United States is the driving force in a war aimed at crippling and subjugating Russia and overthrowing its government.

Austin’s de facto admission that the two countries with the world’s largest nuclear arsenals are both parties to the military conflict in Ukraine must be treated as a stark warning by workers all over the world. The present crisis poses immense dangers and raises the urgent need to mobilize the international working class in opposition to war.



https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/0 ... a-a26.html
#15224765
Poland and Germany are seizing all of the Russian gas and oil infrastructure in their countries, as if this will be of any use to them if no fuel is coming through the pipes. They literally released an order in Poland telling the gas company to turn things back on after seizing the infrastructure but it's not working for some reason :?: These are literally crazy people.

Meanwhile, Russian rouble is at a 2-year high against the Euro and Russia is discussing plans to go from a defacto gold standard to a firm gold and commodities standard. If this trend continues the fiat currencies are going to collapse because it will cost huge amounts of Euros to buy things like gas.
#15224772
Wulfschilde wrote:
Poland and Germany are seizing all of the Russian gas and oil infrastructure in their countries, as if this will be of any use to them if no fuel is coming through the pipes. They literally released an order in Poland telling the gas company to turn things back on after seizing the infrastructure but it's not working for some reason :?: These are literally crazy people.

Meanwhile, Russian rouble is at a 2-year high against the Euro and Russia is discussing plans to go from a defacto gold standard to a firm gold and commodities standard. If this trend continues the fiat currencies are going to collapse because it will cost huge amounts of Euros to buy things like gas.



Hello, petro-rouble.
#15224814
The idea that we are sanctioning Russia in some of the most severe sanctions in history and propping up their economy at the same time is utterly absurd. It is, however, consistent with the decadent ideas we in the west have about doing what is right. We are all for doing what is right and riding heroically to the rescue of Ukraine as long as the price of Bratwurst does not go up.

We should be blockading Russia entirely, if not defeating them on the battlefield.
#15224824
Drlee wrote:The idea that we are sanctioning Russia in some of the most severe sanctions in history and propping up their economy at the same time is utterly absurd. It is, however, consistent with the decadent ideas we in the west have about doing what is right. We are all for doing what is right and riding heroically to the rescue of Ukraine as long as the price of Bratwurst does not go up.

We should be blockading Russia entirely, if not defeating them on the battlefield.


Agree 100%. That said, the sanctions are actually have some effect. The bigger issue for Russia, is the blocking of parts/tech for them. However, this is really a long term problem, and probably doesn't affect the battlefield much.

We should be at war with Russia. No question.
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