“Even as the crisis in Ukraine continues to defy easy resolution, President Obama and his national security team are looking beyond the immediate conflict to forge a new long-term approach to Russia that applies an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment. Just as the United States resolved in the aftermath of World War II to counter the Soviet Union and its global ambitions, Mr. Obama is focused on isolating President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world, limiting its expansionist ambitions in its own neighborhood and effectively making it a pariah state………………”
A pariah state: it sounds ominous. The list is already long and can get longer. Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, etc. Now the mother of all sanctions: a possible creeping economic blockade of the huge Eurasian mass of Russia, with spillover into other countries. Mr. Putin may be excused if someday he makes a famous Reagan-esque speech outside the IMF building, with a great sound bite: “Mr. Obama (or Mrs Clinton or Mr. Bush III) tear down this blockade………”
Yet a blockade against Russia invites blockades against many others, if the Iranian example is to be imitated. Russia is huge; it is still that ‘other’ world (bigger than an Arizona gas station). Many countries, from Asia through Latin America and Africa, and even Europe, will not go along with sanctions against (Mother) Russia. But even if they do, we will have two new definitions of nations. Now we have: First World and Third World, Developed World and Underdeveloped World, Industrial and non-Industrial World (the last one is not as sharp anymore). SCO (Shanghai) countries are highly unlikely to comply. Countries like India and China and Brazil may straddle the two as they are partially blockaded by the “international community”, meaning by the Western powers of North America and Europe. Of course, India and China represent many more people than all of the “international community” of North America and Europe.
Soon we may have new blocs of nations: Sanctioned or Blockaded Nations and Non-blockaded Nations; Blockading nations and Blockaded Nations, etc. Sounds almost like a new Cold war of “beggar they neighbors across the vast oceans”.