Meaning of the sanctions for Italy: a disaster we cannot afford, and worse, we deprive ourselves of cooperation with Russia


April 5, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

Fulvio Scaglione, in, translated by Tom Winter –

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“Why should we deprive ourselves of cooperation with Russia?”

In December 2016, when the European Union decided to extend the economic sanctions launched in March 2014 against Russia for another six months, the damage to Italy had already reached 10 billion Euros in lost exports. All on the shoulders of our country, which in 2013 was the EU’s second largest exporter to Russia, and recorded with Russia a trade exchange worth 40 billion Euros a year.

To get an idea of what these figures mean, it is worth noting that the value of the entire stability law passed by the Italian Parliament in 2016 was $ 35 billion. To say nothing of what happened in the whole European Union, where according to a study by the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, in the same period 2014-2016 the damage came close to 45 billion euros, with loss of 900,000 jobs. In short, an economic disaster that we can not afford, and that did not contribute in any way to the resolution of the problem for which the sanctions were adopted: the crisis in Ukraine and the reunion of the Crimea to Russia.

And although the data are sensational, the economic aspect of the relationship with Russia is not even the most important. Much more crucial is the need to restore a constructive relationship with a country, Russia, which can make a decisive contribution in international relations. Today, Russia is a protagonist in the Middle East, where it marked a turning point both in the complex negotiations that led to the agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue, and the bloody conflict in Syria. And it is also in North Africa, where it has become a strategic partner with Egypt, and lately also an increasingly influential actor in the Libyan crisis. We are talking about our Mediterranean, now a water frontier quite decisive as the issue of migration demonstrates, to give just one example. Why should we deprive ourselves of cooperation with Russia?

In Europe, then, a change of attitude is even more urgent. For many years the post-Soviet Russia had cordial relations with the European Union, and with almost all the countries that comprise it, cordial relations marked by mutual economic interest (between 2000 and 2005, trade between the two entities grew by 70% ) but also from a broader perspective that it would be correct to call ‘civil.’ In December 2010, when the EU and Russia reached a series of agreements on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, Vladimir Putin, in an interview with German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, envisioned a single area of free economic relations from Lisbon to Vladivostok, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. And this one year after the EU decision to launch the Eastern Partnership, to attract former Soviet bloc countries into the orbit of Brussels.

“countries who take money to Brussels but orders from Washington”

These prospects disturbed “the American friend,” which in fact has been very busy exploiting relationships with a number of countries who take money to Brussels but orders from Washington, and ultimately helping to cause the crisis in Ukraine, with this result: the friendly relationship between the European entities and the Russian state was interrupted.

We now see all the damage caused by that strategy: 

  1. there is war in Europe; 
  2. the voltage at the external borders of the continent grows towards a confrontation between NATO forces and Russia; 
  3. the European Union is increasingly divided;
  4. Russia does not collapse but turns its back on the West, builds strategic relationships with other large countries such as China, and regains relationships with those in crisis such as with Turkey. 

It is a tug of war that has only negative consequences for Europe, and certainly does not change Russia, not even in the sense of greater democratization that many said was in view.

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