In an article for The Hill, political analyst Brahma Chellaney says that anti-Russian sanctions have undoubtedly hurt Russia, but they have also hurt Western countries. He notes that Russia has a large margin of safety to withstand the penalties: In this regard, the West will have to negotiate with Moscow to end the Ukrainian crisis
The unprecedented Western sanctions against Russia were supposed to destroy Russian economy, but in reality they have become something of a double-edged sword, writes political scientist Brahma Chellaney in his article for The Hill. He notes that the sanctions have hurt Russia, but also cost the countries that imposed them.
As Chellaney writes, the West has essentially fallen into a trap: sanctions and the conflict in Ukraine have driven up energy prices, which in turn have increades Russian revenues from hydrocarbon exports. Another paradox is that despite Russia’s cut-off of its financial arteries, the Russian ruble has strengthened considerably due to government intervention: at the same time, the currency of Japan, which joined Western sanctions, has renewed its 20-year low against the dollar.
In addition, many Western countries have faced inflation and supply chain disruptions, the author notes. This, in turn, is having negative impact on business: April was the worst month for U.S. stock indices since the collapse caused by the onset of the pandemic. As for Russia, it can continue to raise hydrocarbon prices by limiting the supply of its resources.
As Chellaney notes, the main losers from the Ukrainian crisis are the poorest countries suffering from rising energy and food prices. In this regard, the author emphasizes that sanctions are an unpredictable tool with possible unintended consequences.
“Unfortunately, there is not much debate in the United States about whether sanctions can weaken Russia, and whether Russian military forces can be depleted in a protracted conflict by supplying Ukraine with arms. Let’s be honest: Historically, sanctions have worked better against small, vulnerable states than against large, powerful ones,” Chellaney writes.
Moreover, sanctions aimed at weakening Russia could end up shaking the financial power of the United States itself, the author argues. In particular, many countries may have an incentive to become more independent of the dollar system. According to Brahma Chellaney , as the crisis continues, the “boomerang” effect of the sanctions will intensify, ultimately leaving the West with no choice but to negotiate with Russia to end the conflict.