The sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and NATO are not likely to change Vladimir Putin’s actions. Instead, the Russian oligarch will succeed in the conquest of Ukraine, resulting in the death of thousands. The punishment imposed by the west, mostly financial and diplomatic, will not faze Putin. The Russian people may feel some pain, but Putin will not suffer. As an autocrat, he has little interest in the welfare of his people.
And the sanctions are far less severe than they might have been. According to Daily KOS, “a divided Senate prevented a bipartisan push for the ‘mother of all sanctions’ against Russia for its escalating aggression against Ukraine. The impasse in part was due to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) demanding sanctions on Nord Stream 2, the Russian gas pipeline. . . So instead of a strong sanctions bill (with or without Nord Stream 2), the Senate sent the equivalent of a sternly worded letter [to Putin].”
The end result is that the sanctions imposed by President Biden are more symbolic than effective. Meanwhile, some Republican leaders are actually expressing support for Putin. Tucker Carlson last Tuesday asked his viewers to ponder if Putin is really so bad after all. And Donald Trump said that “Putin is smart. He’s taken over a country for $2 worth of sanctions. I’d say that’s pretty smart.” Donald Trump in a radio interview Tuesday called Putin’s actions “genius.”
With the U.S. opposition to Putin thus compromised and imposed sanctions less severe than the west could impose, the Russian dictator will pursue the conquest of Ukraine undeterred.