‘Ludicrous to use 19th-century tools in globalized market to punish Russia’
RT:Russia has helped broker the truce that is currently in place in the eastern Ukraine. Why did the EU still go ahead with approving the additional sanctions?
John Griffin: That is a great question, and in the connection with the US and its involvement in Ukraine I really think that this is utterly ridiculous. The hypocrisy inherent in this move is palpable. The US and its European allies invade countries for any and every reason, and Russia has a legitimate energy interest in preserving peace and stability in Ukraine. Its pipeline is the sole pipeline to supply oil and natural gas to most of Western Europe, so this is highly counterproductive to the interest of both the EU, the US and Russia itself. And I think many of us across the pond would like to see us move in the other direction.
RT:EU officials also said that the actions will take affect or will be revised only after a few days after assessment of how this ceasefire in eastern Ukraine holds up. How can this then affect the peace efforts on the ground?
JG: Well, beyond the issue of peace is the fact that we have instability in financial markets and the Russian Federation has said that it will be forming a currency zone with China and it would be diversifying away from the dollar, and this could ripple throughout the US market, the European markets and cause substantial financial turmoil and this is something we need to be thinking about in the EU and the US before we advocate and pursue new sanctions.
As far as peace on the ground, I think that Russia wants peace. I think the people of Ukraine simply want to go back to business as usual. This not WWII, this is not Lebensraum as some have said, this is not imperialism. This is simply Russia protecting its energy interests, and the US and Europe should be encouraging this, should be encouraging this move towards stability, not trying to punish Russia, not trying to punish the economies of all of our nations and the consumers with these types of counterproductive moves.
RT:The effects of the sanctions and Russia's response to them, is not really being felt in the US. The EU is mostly going to be affected by whatever Russia decides is going to follow. Is it fair to say that Brussels should have tried other measures to promote peace?
JG: Very much. And I'm an advocate of a new Plaza accord, or Louvre accord, that would adjust the consumer balance against the G20, because I think we have reached a fever pitch where the US dollar is no longer able to be used as an imperial tool and other nations are looking at their options. I know that Russia is now looking at using its own currency, China is looking at using its own currency in international trade and this is re-balancing substantially our consumers.
Our consumers aren’t the only our consumers anymore. Chinese consumers number some 300 million, that is their middle class, according to one estimate. That is as large as the entire US population. So the US and the EU are no longer in the position to make these types of grandiose, unconditional threats. And we have to begin looking at things that advance the interest of peace for all countries involved in the region. And as you'd said, we don’t feel those sanctions and in many cases Russia does not feel those sanctions. It is entirely ludicrous in a globalized market place for us to be using 19th-century tools.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.