Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Canada Cannot Avoid Bite of Sanctions

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Canada Cannot Avoid Bite of Sanctions

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Canada cannot avoid bite of sanctions

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An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published Aug. 9:

The sanctions battle between Russia and the West has ramped up, with that country banning food and agricultural imports and travel rights, in retaliation for financial restrictions imposed by Europe, the U.S. and Canada. The regional war over rebel attacks in Ukraine, widely recognized as backed by Russia, is having an increasing economic imprint on the world's superpowers.

No one foresees the West going into Ukraine in armed assault, although NATO has sent in support in the shape, it says, of advisers. Putting boots on the ground gives that organization some front-line intelligence but it also has the effect of putting Russia on elevated alert.

That may have been central to President Vladimir Putin's decision this week to double the troops on Ukraine's border. No one at the UN security council meeting was swayed by Mr. Putin's explanation it was a "humanitarian" move designed to push the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk back from the brink of disaster. Instead, the West responded by turning the screws on sanctions announced earlier this spring when Russia invaded Crimea.

Now Canada has felt the pinch of Russia's embargo on food and agricultural products. Pork, shellfish, fish, poultry, beef, vegetables and fruits and other imports are banned for a year, matching the western sanction timelines.

How long those sanctions remain in place depends upon the narrative arc of the conflict, and Russia's ability to withstand what the IMF says is a looming recession, caused by trade restrictions, including the West's move against that country's banks. There is a vigorous international debate about the real usefulness of sanctions. Some regimes and leaders (North Korea) seem impervious to such efforts, but others (Syria, Iran) have shown themselves pliable.

Vladimir Putin is not a madman, disinterested in the broader interests of his people. …

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