Biden, finally, has his foreign policy ‘success’: Europe is walling itself off from Russia, China, and the emerging integrated Asian market. In its triple strike of sanctions on Russia, the EU initially was not looking to collapse the Russian financial system. Far from it: Its first instinct was to find the means to continue purchasing its energy needs (made all there more vital by the state of the European gas reserves hovering close to zero). Purchases of energy, special metals, rare earths (all needed for high tech manufacture) and agricultural products were to be exempted. In short, at first brush, the sinews of the global financial system were intended to remain intact. The main target rather, was to block the core to the Russian financial system’s ability to raise capital – supplemented by specific sanctions on Alrosa, a major player in the diamond market, and Sovcomflot, a tanker fleet operator. Then, last Saturday morning (26 February) everything changed. It became a blitzkrieg: “We’re waging an all-out economic and financial war on Russia. We will cause the collapse of the Russian economy”, said the French Finance Minister, Le Maire (words, he later said, he regretted).
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