WASHINGTON—President Obama is due to sign legislation that will tighten the straightjacket currently choking the Russian economy.
As of this writing the Russian Ruble is drifting down to over 75 Rubles per dollar which is a stupendous drop in its value equaling a slip from 30 Rubles per dollar only months ago.
NATO allies and other western nations are uneasy regarding the Moscow reaction, but the White House appears to believe that either the current situation in Russia will work to weaken or even topple the Putin-led government or at least bring enough pressure on him to remove his eccentricities from Ukraine.
On the side of the coin, some sources worry that pushing the Russians this hard lends a hard handed reputation to the US that it does not need on top of the reports on torture that came from the Senate last week. There is also some chatter, but not on in the media as yet that new and additional sanctions could act to force Putin to move toward more severe measures.
Those measures could range from further folderol in Ukraine to a genuine Russian invasion that would further destabilize a region already hammered by a plummeting economy and other worries about oil prices and Islamic terrorism in Russia itself.
We must also wonder about Russia’s cooperation in other areas like the Middle East and even the US space program.
One must believe the White House has significant even weighty intelligence in these regard and is assured that nothing more than minor placating adjustments from Russia in the Ukraine might result.
Others wonder if the White House has completely sampled the mood in the Kremlin and is keeping in mind that Russia is yet a prodigious nuclear power.
President Obama will have elasticity regarding when and how severe the roll out of these new sanctions, will occur but once Obama begins I am hopeful that Mr. Putin ‘comes to the table’ or telephone and begins a frank and mutually rewarding rather than debilitating solution.