Some US policymakers and pundits are declaring that Russia—and its population—are cut off from the rest of the world. For example, political scientist Nina Khrushcheva has declared “Russia is hated by the rest of the world” and that “Russia is the global enemy.” The New York Times concludes Russia is now “an economic pariah” and that a “new iron curtain” is falling. …
It ain’t necessarily so:
In fact, many of the world’s largest countries have shown a reluctance to participate in the US’s sanction schemes and have instead embraced a far more measured approach. So long as China, India, and other large states continue to be at least partially sympathetic toward Moscow, they will provide a large market for Russia’s natural resources and its other exports. And these nations have signaled they’re not cutting off Russia just yet.
Moreover, if the US is going to demand that the world fall into line behind US sanctions, that means the US is going to have to enforce its policy on reluctant nations. That ultimately means the US will need to threaten — or in some cases, implement — secondary sanctions designed to punish nations that don’t sanction Russia as well. The long-term effects of constructing a coerced global anti-Russia bloc may prove costly for Washington, and in any case, pronouncements of a new iron curtain falling around Russia appear premature. …
They spun the UN vote:
Many of those crowing about a world united against Russia are often extrapolating from the fact that most of the world’s regimes voted for a recent United Nations resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Indeed, 141 UN member states voted earlier this month to condemn Russia for the invasion. Only five states, including Russia, voted against the measure. It is assumed from this that virtually all the world has both condemned Russia and is also enthusiastic about the US’s sanctions.
Yet, thirty-five states did choose to abstain from the vote condemning Russia, and many of these abstaining states are very large states indeed …
In fact, the states that either abstained in the UN vote or voted against it contain more than half — 53 percent — of the world’s population.
How the US could end up isolating itself:
The big question now is how Washington will respond to other countries that refuse to jump on the sanctions bandwagon. If the US decides to be content with “sending a message” with sanctions and leaving it at that, then the US will have little to worry about in terms of maintaining good relations with trade partners and geopolitical partners. Even relations with China would continue largely as normal.
But it is becoming clear that most of the world’s regimes don’t plan on voluntarily casting Russia into the outer darkness. That means if the US wants to truly isolate Russia, Washington will have to threaten and coerce other regimes that aren’t going along with it.
The US then puts itself in the position of spending valuable geopolitical capital in order to coerce potential partners like India, Pakistan, and Mexico into toeing the line on sanctions. It remains to be seen how far the US is willing to go. If it goes all-in on this, it would damage relations with allies and this could end up limiting the US’s geopolitical position. That, of course, is exactly what Moscow and Beijing would love to see.
Three weeks ago the rest of the world quietly started working furiously on creating their own financial system and Internet, to detach themselves from US coercion. The world is splitting. No longer can we share one financial system and one Internet, because the caretaker of those systems abused their privilege.