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Putin, Erdogan

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

• Anti-Russian sanctions have taken their toll on the U.S. and European economies as well, the U.S. State Department admits. Nonetheless, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that through sanctions on Russia we have “demonstrated that we are willing to inflict some pain on ourselves in order to sustain and advance basic principles …”, largely referring to Ukraine. We will note, however, that while the Russian annexation of Crimea elicited a necessary response in the form of sanctions, Ukraine does enough to destroy itself with a level of corruption that is hard to rival, even in the ‘stans’. At the same time, the sanctions have been fairly unimpressive. Due to the sanctions, the Russian economy contracted by 1 to 1.5 percent more than it would have otherwise done last year. The Russian economy shrank 4 percent in total last year. It’s not exactly a hard blow. Europe probably suffers more, and Putin is punishing them—recently extending an embargo on EU food imports through December next year. It’s a high price to pay for something that doesn’t really work and is only in place to save face.

• Turkey is reeling from yet another bloody terrorist attack in Istanbul—this time at the international airport, where three terrorists (likely ISIS) exploded a bomb first outside in the parking lot and then inside the international terminal and the domestic…

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