Congress May Impose Sanctions On Russia... When It Comes Back From Vacation On March 24

Tyler Durden's picture

If one listens to the endless rhetoric of hollow threats and escalating war of words between Russia and DC, one thing should be clear by now: with the passage of the Crimean referendum, accepted (not to mention planned) as perfectly normal by Moscow and blasted as illegal by the West (since it is the former whose troops are in the Crimea, not the latter) then Putin has certainly crossed the Rubicon this time especially since as it was reported earlier, Crimea will formally apply to join Russia tomorrow. Surely, if nothing else, than at least the, drumroll, sanctions must be coming - after all if there is no forceful response now when Putin has called the Western bluff, the West may as well not bother. Well they very well may be... in about a week. The reason: Congress is now in vacation until March 24, so there will be at least one week before any response to the formal Russian annexation can be debated, let alone enacted into law.

 But once Congress is back from recess it certainly will unleash very harsh and truly "costly" sanction fury and what not. For real this time.

From the WSJ:

The U.S. and European Union must move quickly to exert economic pressure on Russian President Vladmir Putin for his attempt to seize a part of Ukraine, senators who recently returned from the embattled nation said Sunday.


The Senate’s first order of business when lawmakers return to Washington on March 24 will be legislation to impose sanctions against Russia and provide aid to Ukraine, said Sen. John Hoeven (R., N.D.), who was part of a bipartisan group of eight senators to visit Ukraine.  “I believe that Congress will pass that bill,” he said.

The strategy in a nutshell: "We need to move forward and put these things in place,” then wait to see how Russia reacts, Mr. Hoeven said in an interview Sunday. “They can be effective against the Russian ruling class. If we do that in a concerted way with our allies, we can make this painful to Russia.”"

The same ruling class that only cares if commodities go up, and is even happier if the oligarchs that are the traditional foil to the Kremlin face margin class, that one? Because for a second there we though it was Russia that had the upper hand when it steamrolled through every single instance of verbal diarrhea and game of checkers the west could throw at Russia's chess grandmasters.

Meanwhile, the ongoing appeasement - in all but name - continues:

If Russia deescalates the situation, the actions proposed by the U.S. and its allies could be adjusted accordingly, Mr. Hoeven said.

The justification?

Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) said Mr. Putin may have miscalculated how the U.S. and Europe will respond to his actions. “I think he marched into Crimea because he didn’t believe that the United States and Europe would actually take a chunk of flesh out of his economy,” Mr. Murphy said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Or, perhaps, Mr. Putin calculated perfectly to the third decimal place, that should the military conflict in Ukraine escalate to all out war, while it will crush the Micex which already is in a bear market (and yet people in Russia continue to survive even if the wealth effect has been cut by over 20%), the next stock market to take it in the face will be none other than the S&P500 - the same manipulated, artificial indicator of US economic "stability" sustained by the Fed's balance sheet at a time when every other hard data-based metric is screaming recession. Maybe the impact on the US' economy should Russia push on will be far more tangible than anything that could happen to Russia, the bulk of whose trade is with China anyway, and whose commodity exports keep Europe's precarious economy from tumbling into a re-depressionary abyss. And let's not mention what happens to Russia's current account (and Gazprom's bottom line) if the price of crude or nat gas explodes as a result of a Ukraine war.

What about simply freezing Russian assets in the west? "Mr. Hoeven and other lawmakers said the U.S. and Europe would be watching Mr. Putin’s next move closely following Sunday’s referendum, designed to set the stage for Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region.... The proposed sanctions include diplomatic and economic penalties, such as travel restrictions targeting Russian and Ukrainian officials viewed as overseeing or complicit in the Kremlin’s efforts to annex Crimea."

Sure that would work... if Russian oligarchs had not already pulled material amounts of their western-bank parked holdings out as was reported on Friday, just as they did before the Cypriot deposit confiscation, whose one year anniversary incidentally was today. Quite an amusing way for Russia to celebrate said "blueprint" anniversary one would say.

Finally, in lieu of actually doing something, the western experts are proposing sliding scales and staggered sanctions:

Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said the level of sanctions will depend on Russia. “The bigger question is, where does Russia go and does Putin do?” said Mr. Pifer, now with the Brookings Institution think tank.

Sanctions would be imposed on a sliding scale of severity depending on Russia’s response, he said. Already, the threat has led economic forecasters at Goldman Sachs to downgrade their expectations for Russia’s economic growth this year to 1% from 3%.


Mr. Pifer sees three possible roads ahead: One is to recognize Crimea as an independent state, which is unlikely. The second is for Russia to formally make the Crimea region part of Russia. The third step is to take no action, leaving Crimea “in limbo” and using it as a negotiation tool to turn Ukraine away from joining the E.U. with the promise that Crimea’s status can be adjusted in a way that’s favorable to Ukraine.


Eugene Rumer, director of Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said even sanctions come with complications.

Like being unable to buy the S&P at the all time highs? Or maybe the "costs" Obama has been speaking about for so long had precisely the "BTFATH mentality" in mind?

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nmewn's picture

Its such a crisis, you see.

HoofHearted's picture

People were giving BO a lot of shit about still vacationing while everything was going down in Ukraine...but it turns out all politicians are just about equally as worthless. Bunch of assholes and idiots, I would say. But then we the people voted for them. (I wasted my vote and went for all the Libertarians.)

nmewn's picture

Leadership calls the shots, just cuz vacations are scheduled doesn't mean they can't be cancelled, by leadership. So, at the end of the day, vacations are more important to leadership, than Putin taking the Crimea.

I simply find it as hard to get worked up about it, as they do, while they're on vacation.

Obviously a psychological flaw on my part ;-)

HoofHearted's picture

I'm with you. Why don't we just leave the Ukrainians the fuck alone? They have decided, even if it isn't in US politicians' best interests. So let them be...

nmewn's picture

As far as I'm concerned, its a european problem. The fucking halfwit socialists & bilderburging idiots have it coming.

Just so they know and can sleep well tonight, there are Russian speaking enclaves throughout eastern europe (Latvia, Estonia, Belarus etc.) that Putin can say I'm moving in to "protect them".

Sleep well EU, I'm thinkin some UN Bangladeshi's should get involved ;-)

IridiumRebel's picture

Yeah, let the EU and Russia fight it out. We can come in after and help rebuild. There is something to be said about sitting back and letting others fuck each other up only for the one sitting back to go in for clean up. Krugman BitcheZ.

nope-1004's picture

Maxine Waters to the rescue of all those innocent Ukrainian victims?  lmao.


The Vineyard's picture

We're gonna crush those communist bastards.  No more hotdogs for Ivan.  Bitches.

Ralph Spoilsport's picture

Take a long walk off a short pier. Nobody here cares about your bowel movements or what your zipperhead wife serves for dinner.

Manthong's picture

If Reagan came back for a visit, I wonder which bloc he would identify as the "Evil Empire" today?

TruthInSunshine's picture



Flux's picture

So ...

We organize a political coup, destabilize the government, launch a bloody false flag operation, establish a EU-friendly puppet government, then when the Russian tanks roll in ...

Go on vacation?

Independent's picture

No Flux that is what they want, they want Russia dragged into all of Ukraine after they have looted its gold deposits.  They want the Russians to pay for their mess. Putin is not dumb.  He will let the Ukrainians see what the EU and USA and Nazis and Jew Oligarchs have done as Ukraine implodes and its economy shatters.  The USA doesnt want to give money to a lost cause, this was done to trigger the Russians into a Ukraine invasion which would economically weaken them and cause demonstrations that could topple Putin. Putin is not dumb, in the eyes of the world the USA broke Ukraine they can fix it, Putin just got the best part Crimea, and he may take back via referendums, some eastern provinces but only as much as he can afford.

Element's picture

Washington is bluffing, they are weak, they can be taken here.

It is not the vacations that are the issue, it's the vacillations if most allies in Europe decide that butting-heads directly with Russia, right over the top of a powder keg, that could blow up at any time, and completely ruin European 'stability', is something they'd rather not be part of. If humpty falls by Ukraine exploding, the core of Europe will also be trashed.

Then where are the US 'Allies' that are needed to inflict this 'pain' that little Johny-jowels yaps-on about? Where's the western alliance and US superpower status then? It's down the toilet is where. The only place they'll still find some support will be in the Pacific, if that happens.

i.e. the end of the PAX-Americana empire awaits. 

All Putin has to do is scare the shit out of Europe and they will fold. Some will talk vociferous shit and make some melodrama and get all red faced, but they will still fold. And then the US grip on the western hemisphere is done.

Washington will be up shitz creek in a barbed wire canoe without a paddle. The NWO coalition that came into existence with Gulf War v1.0, will largely finally disintegrate back to the core anglosphere states.

i-dog's picture

The NWO doesn't really care whether independent states like Ukraine are under Brussels' dominion or Moscow's dominion; they simply want them under one of the NWO Regional Central Planners™, rather than remaining independent.

Russia couldn't easily have annexed Ukraine and extended the Ruble Zone without the [seemingly] senseless provocation by McShame and Noodlewoman. It has all been a Punch and Judy Show, with the audience jumping up and down in their seats booing at the respective puppets. Shoddily scripted theatre of the absurd.

Ghordius's picture

Russia is in the process of annexing part of Ukraine. Calling Putin's "regime" as one of the "NWO Regional Central Planners" is a nice intuition, yet does not explain a whole lot of things, including why the whole "Punch and Judy Show" would result in such bad terms for them

putting everything in terms of monetary zones is too way too simplistic, imho. in short, why label as "NWO Order" what can be explained with simple imperialism?

meanwhile in the US this episode is being used to promote the Keystone pipeline (for fracking and exporting to europe) and moar defence spending

note that element's use of "NWO" differs from yours

Element's picture

Element's use simply a reflection of GH Bush's inciting of the term.

You'd have to ask old boy bush what it really means. Certainly it is imperialism, but it seems to have its shadow-empire aspect as well.

Ghordius's picture

I just doubt Bush the Second included Russia as a senior partner in his definition of NWO, that's it. Saudi Arabia and Israel? of course, at least as beloved clients. Russia? don't think so

all empires have shadows. the needs of the "deep state", "intelligence", weapons and drug deals, corruption of the old sort and corporate lobbyism gone wild


take intelligence. nicely tiered, eh? Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, Fourteen Eyes, Thirtyone Eyes. "Germany, you are not allowed to the next higher level of intelligence" lol

Element's picture

No, obviously Russia was never in the NWO in-crowd, unless you want to call it the G8 maybe.

I love the "NO FORN" concept in intelligence ... that's where the really dirty shit resides.

i-dog's picture

I meant Crimea, not Ukraine. Slip of the fingers.

Anyway, my perception of the objectives and extent of the global 'Deep State' NWO is vastly different to the simple 'Anglo-American Empire' that you express. Your perception does not include a global digital currency, nor a single global 'New Age' religion, nor a limited number of regional blocs (eg. EU, Muslim Brotherhood, Russian Federation, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trans-Atlantic Partnership, and probably another covering Latin America), nor a global taxation regime, etc.

When I say "global", I mean global. When I say 'NWO', I mean a New World Order, not a rehash of 19th century competing power blocs. And I believe "they" see it my way. YMMV.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

Ghordius, from putin's finance advisor a warning that Russia knows the $ is the weak link for the west, I predict the west will have no sanctions, they cannot risk the rise in interest rates that would follow if russia did this..

"Mr. Glazyev said earlier today that Russia would be forced to switch to other currencies and set up its own payment system if US Senate were to sanction it over Ukraine.

The advisor claimed that Moscow would recommend everyone to get rid of their US Treasury bonds if the United States froze the assets of Russian public institutions and private investors. He added that Russia would also have to default on its loans to American banks.
Read more:"

Ghordius's picture

I don't see the Russian national bank agreeing. note that Putin's cabinet is also disawowing Glazyev, in the very article you (thanks) linked

fact is, the Rouble needs ammo. to fend off attacks, which are probably forthcoming. and the attacks will be USD based, and for that you'd better have USDs to counter

the original EuroDollar, btw, was Russian balances in USD outside the US, i.e. in europe. loooong story of needing the dollar and hating the fact

Ghordius's picture

element, I disagree on what scares us europeans

a communist Russia with all their soviet republics and communist satellites... was scary indeed. particularly if you think about how our socialists might have welcomed a socialist world order

a conservative, imperialist, proto-fascist, oligarch-driven Russia with only satellites like Belorussia and perhaps Ukraine (or parts of it)?

way less scary. in fact, not scary

so in fact most allies in europe are not going to butt heads with Putin's Russia. France will probably go on selling warships, gas will continue to flow, and some bitching and frictions will continue with probably special targeting of the "Putin Regime" nexus of power. oh, and a clear military message that the Baltic States are not Russia's playthings

all in all I broadly agree with your conclusion: "The NWO coalition that came into existence with Gulf War v1.0, will largely finally disintegrate back to the core anglosphere states." Actually, if you follow up on who was on board during Gulf War v2.0... remember Bush's Coalition of the Willing? You have to add at least Poland to the "core anglosphere nations" (what I once called 1984's Oceania), at least at the moment

Element's picture

Of course Putin's Russia is not scary, it's not meant to be. There is no need to butt heads with Russia, that's my point. He actually wants to be Europe's partner.

But Ukraine's exploding in internal violence, and oil, gas and coal to Europe coming to a halt for a month or three, is a very different kind of fright, no? It has real political weight. The people of Europe will not want this, nor business.

And that sort of development in Ukraine is a real possibility, even just via accident.

You know very well what would occur in that case. Central Europe would become about as trashed as the periphery and it would resound for a long time afterward in recession and business closures and bank and policy crisis. Europe can not afford to not cooperate and have a close relationship with Russia over the Ukraine issue, and all others - that is my point.

At which time the US stranglehold tide over the Western hemisphere's strategic policy and intervention addiction will go out. It just can't work for Europe to have a poor relationship with Moscow. But Europe can afford a downgraded relationship with Washington.

Well, I hope it is that relatively peaceful.

But Washington will do all it can to poison the essential relationship between Europe and Russia, over Ukraine, which is exactly what it is now planning to do.


Unfortunately Poland is a pawn, it will be treated thus, and they will be angry, but they must also play their part in the US tide going out. They have no choice, they can't control it.

Incidentally that "Coalition of the Willing" term was coined in the modern era by John Howard (from UN sources on intervention), as the legal method for INTERFET to form and go into East Timor with legal basis. Bush and Cheney NWO NEOCONs simply adopted it from there.

The Vineyard's picture

My bowel movements are very important.  The world turns on this valuable information.  Shithead.

Nexus789's picture

Well actually, the numbnuts in Wasihing caused the problem by funding the neo nazis. Putin moved nothing. There was already a Russian miliary based already in Crimea.

Muddy1's picture

"Congress is now in vacation until March 24, so there will be at least one week before any response to the formal Russian annexation can be debated, let alone enacted into law."


If this were truly a matter of importance the Speaker and or the apresident could call the House and Senate back into session and commence to taking action.  But vacay and golfing await.

e_goldstein's picture

Don't forget, the clown in charge has a pen, and a phone, and a teleprompter.

HisNameIsRP's picture

I agree, so nicht on the 18 Bil, sorry Ukraine, the people have spoken, oh yeaaaaah

DrData02's picture

Your vote wasn't wasted because you voted for a Libertarian.  All votes are wasted because we only get worthless choices.  How would a vote for Obama or Romney have been worthwhile?

At least your Libertarian vote was a worthwhile statement.


Talleyrand's picture

If you voted, you can't complain.

astitchintime's picture

"People were giving BO a lot of shit about still vacationing while everything was going down in Ukraine"

YES, as they should have.  Silly half-brained sorry excuse for a leader should have been at the helm!

"but it turns out all politicians are just about equally as worthless. Bunch of assholes and idiots, I would say"

And, you would be correct there!!

"(I wasted my vote and went for all the Libertarians.)"

WHY are you still wasting your time voting ??

Muddy1's picture

As reported on ZeroHedge yesterday, not only has Obama been on vacation, more importantly he has been AWOL for national security team meetings on 1 March, and 15 March.



Much as he was absent, and his whereabouts unknown for about 5 hours, when the attack in Benghazi happened.  Sounds like three examples of dereliction of duty to me.

drendebe10's picture

What else but incompetence would any one expect from such an arrogant narcissistic lying illegal alien kenyan muslim sociopathuc ignoramus fudge packer in chief. Its idea of a job is make priclamations, go golfing and get paid so it can buy the wookie 17K dresses to enhance her Ho look.

drendebe10's picture

The whole elected ruling elite and their favored minions are a bunch of self entitled over paid over privileged imbeciles but the golf fudge packer in chief takes the cake. The sheeple put them office and keep them there, not we the people. 

krispkritter's picture

Giving CongressCritters paid vacation is like paying the guy who robs your house overtime for working after dark.  These cretins should be paid minimum wage for the hours they are actually in session and not when sucking $$$ out of lobbyists or blowing coke up the asses of hookers in DC.  

LetThemEatRand's picture

You guys ready for the LTER conspiracy theory du jour?  Plane disappears in an area of constant surveillance.  No one even knows which direction it went.  Putting aside the absurdity that this could happen in today's worldwide grid of military surveillance of the skies and even corporate surveillance of engine performance, we have a constant stream of conflicting misinformation from various governments including stories of "unrelated" oil slicks that are initially reported as consistent with a plane crash.  Then, we have stories of Chinese satellites that find debris in the ocean, because they are looking hard and stuff.  Turns out it's not the plane, of course.  And we also have MSM covering the story 24/7 with barely a mention of how implausible it is that a plane could just disappear.  Then, a week goes by and all of sudden they just "figure out" that one of the pilots is supposedly a fanatic.  Meanwhile, in late February, Cheney got on Hannity and said "the biggest threat to America is that a terrorist flies an EMP device over the fatherland, er, homeland."  

kito's picture

spot on LTER. and whats mindboggling is our federal govt has been doing NOTHING to harden our systems outside of the military. in the grand scheme of hundreds of billions pissed away by our federal govt, hardening the system, or at least subsidizing the hardening of them, is a no brainer. and yet only the states like maine and arizona are beginning to take the lead. one has to wonder why, with all of the money spent on surveillance, with the billions spent on creating a police state, with all of our anti terrorist agencies spending massive amounts of manpower and energy, nothing is being addressed by the federal govt regarding EMPS. hmmmmmmm.........makes you wonder......

LetThemEatRand's picture

Now they have a neat little backstory -- including a fanatic (proven by his wearing of an anti-Malaysian government t-shirt) -- and the idea that planes cannot be tracked if you turn off the transponder, to explain it away if it happens.  No doubt a few passports would fall from the sky during the attack as well just to seal the deal.  Ten years later, the mastermind would be caught in an allied country and quickly buried at sea.

Ignatius's picture

Talking heads paid to mouth inanities.

TruthInSunshine's picture

@LTER - The latest claim is that although it's a remote possibility, Israel is altering civilian aircraft approach protocol and "beefing up" air defense network due to the threat of the 777 being used in an attack upon Israel.

I'm not making this shit up:


Is it just me, or are there more than the average number of nations seemingly hungering for war, catalysts, or other acts of sabotage/aggression/hostilities lately, whether real or staged?

maskone909's picture

Anti gov tshirt?! Wow we are all fukd if thats the case! Emp might be just whats needed, that is, if bitcoin truely is an idiopathic creation and a threat to banks.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Oh no!!!! Fonestarjuice.  Fonestarjuice.....

But that aside, Drudge shamelessly reported today that the younger pilot was a fanatic, and offered as proof that he was "anti-government" because he wore a t-shirt protesting the arrest and imprisonment of a Malaysian politician (for being gay).  This was a top Drudge headline earlier today, linking to freedom loving UK press.

You can't make this shit up.

maskone909's picture

Haha oh geez i really up and did it now!
My conspiracy theory, although a little thin, is that there is an attempt to consolidate powers for the nwo. I meanjust look how bad the sentiment is for our own gov. They are pushingg us to civil war to say the least. At that point the un will jump in and most likely some one like or possibly putin himself will have attained sainthood status by then- will assist in the final disarming and conquering the usa. I am just really skeptical when he msm praises putin for is diplomatic strategy ect amidst our leaders obvious shortcomings

LetThemEatRand's picture

I totally agree.  The knighting of Putin by the MSM is no accident.  

maskone909's picture

Not to mention these so called "sanctions" which everyone knows is like shootingourselves in the foot! It will be a self imposed economic disaster that will require IMF intervention. All part of the MFing plan. Kiss our sovereignty goodbye

LetThemEatRand's picture

You just coined a great new expression -- the IMFing plan.  I'm fucking sick of these IMFing snakes on this IMFing plane.

maskone909's picture

We are all so IMF'ed in the A.