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Saturday, 22 March 2014 01:08
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US strategy is aimed at targeting Putin’s inner circle and threatening to ruin Russia’s finances by dumping oil


While economic sanctions are aimed at bringing a country to its knees, the US is attempting an even more sophisticated version of this. The US sanctions against a Russian bank that it claimed was the one used by senior officials as well as against select Russian tycoons is aimed at telling the Russian public that Putin has amassed billions at their expense. Indeed, by alleging a link between a privately held Swiss oil trader and Putin, the Obama administration has made it clear it is not holding its punches. The Swiss oil trader, for the record, has denied any Putin connection.

And now, the US has announced it will sell 5 million barrels of oil from its strategic petroleum reserve to test how the system is operating. Given the strategic reserve has nearly 700 million barrels of oil, the move is clearly part of a signal to Putin that, should the US want, it can play havoc with Russia’s export economy. So far, however, the threats aren’t working. Apart from the fact that Putin can also threaten to cut off energy supplies to Europe, he has been unmoved by the sharp collapse in the rouble and the stock market along with a big spike in interest rates. Who will blink first?


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