Jones: What role will sanctions by Canada, the United States, and the European Union play in the development of the political crisis in Ukraine?

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17 March, 2014

Today’s sanctions by the West are likely not aimed, as much of the media commentary suggests, at reversing Russian actions in Crimea; that’s unlikely to succeed short of a devastating blow to the Russian economy, and even then such a blow would just as likely encourage nationalism and spartanism rather than restraint. Rather, this is a signal that far more serious sanctions would come if Russia escalated into Eastern Ukraine. The longer term question is whether the West deepens the effort to weaken the Russian economy over the long term. Modest sanctions will nevertheless place a chill on investment in the Russian market. A shift in U.S. energy sales to Europe would also have a substantial impact. But none of the current policies are going to reverse Russia’s actions in the Crimea in the short term.