Western retaliation against Russia for its actions in Georgia will do it more good than harm, according to the academic and actvist Boris Kagarlitsky.
As Russian troops finally begin to withdraw from Georgia, the US and Nato are pondering the best punishment for its earlier invasion.
The respected International Crisis group suggested that “the West should deliver a firm message to Russia that if it does not respect the ceasefire deal and cooperate in implementing the international peacekeeping mission, it will be met with a serious response, including suspension of its Moscow's World Trade Organisation application”.
Even Barack Obama is now calling to review the Russian WTO application.
But Kagarlitsky astutely notes that:
what Washington thinks is punishment for Moscow may in fact turn out to be a blessing. For example, the United States believes that blocking Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization is one way to retaliate. But for Russia's domestic industries — particularly when there is a global economic downturn — entry into WTO would be a death sentence. Therefore, if this sentence will be postponed, the Kremlin can only thank the United States and Georgia.
As if that wasn't enough, the other sanctions considered would reduce corruption, improve civil society, and even protect the environment!
Washington and London are threatening to investigate the bank accounts of senior Russian officials that are held abroad. It's surprising that this wasn't done earlier. Russians can only benefit if the United States leads a new fight against money laundering, particularly when it involves top officials from the Russian government. Moreover, NATO is threatening to suspend joint military exercises with Russia. That means Russia will save a nice amount of money and fuel. Finally, in light of the increased tension, liberal opposition groups in Moscow will receive more active help from the West. This is also beneficial because new financing will mean the creation of new media outlets, new nongovernmental organizations and new jobs.
You don't have to be Max Moseley to enjoy this kind of 'slap-down’!