Will punitive measures against Russia deter a full-scale invasion of Ukraine?

Nick Schifrin:

Judy, thank you.

For additional perspective, we turned to Stephen Hadley, national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, and Andrew Weiss, who served in the George H. W. Bush and Clinton administrations on the Security Council staff. national and State Department policy planning staff.

Welcome, you two, back to the NewsHour.

So we just heard from the assistant secretary of the treasury.

Andrew Weiss, let me start with you. Are these Russian banks exposed to the US financial system? And does the targeting of Russian oligarchs and sovereign debt have an impact?

Andrew Weiss, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Well, let’s talk about what Vladimir Putin uses to finance his economy.

It sells commodities on world markets for dollars. Thus, every day Russia sells four million barrels of oil. Oil is currently hovering around $100 a barrel. It’s a remarkable cash flow that Putin is able to tap into for any purpose. And money is always fungible.

Since the 2014 crisis, the Russian economy, in general, has abandoned the dependence it once had on foreign capital markets and has essentially pushed it aside. Thus, the Russian economy is now increasingly cut off from the global economy and much less dependent on Western capital markets for financing.

It is clear that imposing sanctions on well-connected people in Russia (AUDIO GAP) is annoying and frustrating for them. But, remember, there are some very hawkish figures around Vladimir Putin who are actually taking advantage of this. The less globalized Russia is, the less connected it is, which gives them more control.

And so, if you think about who’s sitting in the war room right now with Vladimir Putin, it’s not the people thinking about their 401(k) accounts.

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