Russian Sanctions: The Helpful, the Harmful, and the Pointless

There’s a difference between actions that only make us feel good and actions that actually help Ukraine.


The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put economic sanctions back on the front page. Most of the focus has been on political sanctions—cases where public officials restrict commerce with another country to pressure its leaders to change their policies. For instance, the Biden administration has recently banned the importation of Russian oil and gas to weaken the Russian economy and the Putin regime along with it. But sanctions can also be private, when businesses or individuals voluntarily choose to stop doing business with the sanctioned country. Ford, Nike, Apple, and—in a true test of Russian President Vladimir Putin's mettle—Pornhub have suspended dealings with Russia in protest of the war. So, are these sanctions justified?

To start, it's harder to justify political sanctions than private ones. There's a world of moral difference between choosing not to buy from someone and being forced to not buy from someone. The former is an exercise of economic freedom whereas the latter is a violation of it. By analogy, choosing not to buy weed is one thing—the war on drugs is quite another.

Still, political sanctions can be justified when they effectively deter serious wrongdoing. For instance, this might have been the case during apartheid in South Africa. Even though sanctions interfere with citizens' freedom to exchange or associate with others, they aren't as morally objectionable as many of the alternatives, such as violent military intervention. And the harm of temporarily curtailing the freedom of some to truck, barter, and exchange may be justified to prevent an even greater harm or injustice to others.

Political sanctions are also more morally justifiable when they target a government's use of natural resources, rather than constraining private companies and individual consumers. Many oppressive regimes maintain their power by controlling access to natural resources. But as the philosopher Leif Wenar has argued, the leaders of these oppressive governments do not have property rights to extract and sell their countries' natural resources in support of unjust causes. Sanctions that target oppressive regimes' extraction and sale of natural resources don't violate anyone's property rights, and can potentially counteract the harmful "resource curse," which occurs when a country's possession of natural resources creates incentives for corruption and authoritarianism. To the extent that Russia's substantial oil and natural gas resources are an impediment to good governance and sanctioning those resources doesn't violate any individual Russian's rights, these kinds of sanctions would be morally justified as long as they didn't do more harm than good.

While political sanctions are justifiable in principle, they're tough to justify in practice. For one, public officials are not generally reliable in determining whether and how to effectively impose sanctions against unjust regimes. According to a recent analysis of political sanctions, they're generally unlikely to achieve major policy changes, regime change, or military impairment.

What's more, sanctions are not the least restrictive option for mitigating the injustices of an unjust regime. Though economic sanctioning is appealing because it's a nonviolent way for people to express their disapproval of unjust leadership, there are often better nonviolent responses available to counteract foreign aggression. American officials could, for instance, support policies that relax immigration restrictions for Ukrainian refugees as well as for Russian migrants, including scientific experts and military defectors. These policies would effectively undermine the Russian military while also respecting ordinary Americans' and Russians' freedom of association and exchange.

Another risk of political sanctions is that they'll be too broad, rather than targeted narrowly at political leaders or the military. Here political sanctions are likely to harm innocent people who have done nothing wrong. Most citizens have no effective control over the actions of their government, so ordinary workers and consumers should not be punished for the sins of their states.

The case for sanctioning often appeals to an imputation of collective responsibility, as if the individual citizens are culpable for their leaders' wrongdoing. This imputation of responsibility is implausible because, even in a democratic society, citizens rarely exercise meaningful control over foreign policy. Therefore, citizens shouldn't be morally responsible for what their governments do abroad. Just as American citizens aren't culpably complicit in the unjust wars that the U.S. military has prosecuted, nor are ordinary Russians culpably complicit in Putin's recent aggression against Ukraine.

If anything, this point is even more forceful in the case of citizens of countries like Russia that lack free and fair elections. As Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–Minn.) recently argued, political sanctions may be permissible if they are targeted at Putin and the Russian military or oligarchs, but "broad-based sanctions…would amount to collective punishment of a Russian population that did not choose this." Imagine how you'd feel if your brewery went bankrupt because the Canadian government sanctioned your beer to protest something awful that Presidents Donald Trump or Joe Biden did. (We'll note in passing the inconsistency in calls from political leaders to buy American and boycott Russia—if cutting America off from the global marketplace were good for Americans, wouldn't cutting Russia off from the global marketplace be good for Russians?)

Private sanctions, by contrast, are less morally fraught because they don't prohibit Americans from trading or associating with Russians. If private companies or citizens choose to take their business elsewhere as a way of protesting Russian aggression, they're simply exercising their economic rights. Private companies aren't morally obligated to always maximize shareholder value. Individual consumers don't have a duty to purchase from anyone who's willing to sell to them (for instance, you're not under a moral obligation to buy Thin Mints whenever the Girl Scouts show up at your door).

Nevertheless, private sanctions can backfire too. Like political sanctions, private sanctions risk being enforced in an overly broad way that harms innocent people. Consider, for example, Visa and Mastercard's decisions to suspend operations in Russia. These private sanctions have left thousands of journalists, activists, and ordinary Russians unable to make international payments, which they may need to do in order to flee Putin's regime.

Private sanctions that are merely symbolic are also morally dubious, such as a recent proposal to cancel a lecture about the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky or a bar's decision to discontinue the sale of Russian alcohol. These sanctions won't prevent political leaders from acting wrongly and may worsen nationalist attitudes domestically and internationally (remember "freedom fries")? The philosophers Brandon Warmke and Justin Tosi refer to these kinds of costless public expressions of political condemnation as "moral grandstanding." Moral grandstanding is usually an inconsequential vanity project, but it can have harmful externalities when grandstanding undermines the quality of public discourse, distracts people from more morally urgent issues, and makes it harder to build coalitions around effective solutions.

Performing purely expressive actions can also be morally wrong when they come at the cost of actually advancing the moral values you're expressing support for. For instance, it's wrong to toss valuable coins in a well while announcing your wish for an end to world hunger instead of using that money to buy food for someone who is starving. There's something perverse about missing the chance to feed people to show others how much you care about feeding people. Now take the case of bar owners dumping all of their Russian vodka to express their support for Ukrainians. They'd do better to sell that vodka and donate the proceeds directly to Ukrainian citizens, e.g. by booking an Airbnb in Kyiv. And instead of withdrawing from international markets, the leaders of private companies could protest Russian aggression by providing free or low-cost goods and services to ordinary Ukrainians, as Elon Musk recently did by delivering Starlink internet service to Ukraine.

Similar moral considerations bear on the ethics of individual boycotts. Another objection to individual boycotting is that it is an approach to consumerism that amounts to what the philosopher Waheed Hussain called "common good anarchism." This is view that individual consumers can make choices in the market with the goal of promoting the common good based on their own private judgment of what the common good entails. Unlike Hussain, we have no objection to individual consumers using their private judgment about which purchases do or do not advance the common good. Rather, we insist only that they use good private judgment, unlike those consumers who recently decided to throw away and boycott Smirnoff vodka, even though Smirnoff is manufactured by a British company and distilled in America. Cases like this suggest that "ethical consumers" are often more interested in grandstanding than sincerely protesting Russia. This isn't an indictment of ethical consumerism as such, but rather ethical consumerism done poorly.

The moral considerations that inform the ethics of sanctions have broader lessons for the ethics of consumerism, business, and international trade. The upshot is that government action is harder to justify than private action because political interactions aren't voluntary. Broad interventions are typically worse than targeted interventions because they harm innocent people. And purely symbolic gestures risk perpetuating counterproductive nationalist rhetoric without materially helping the victims of injustice. As is often the case in politics, it's important to distinguish between behavioral changes and policies that make us feel good or look good, and changes that actually do good for Ukraine and the Russian people.

NEXT: Compassionate Releases of Federal Prisoners Surged During the Pandemic

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  1. There’s a difference between actions that only make us feel good and actions that actually help Ukraine.

    But enough about COVID and cloth face coverings.

    1. Yes, the actions that make us feel good are the most important.

      1. "stance, you're not under a moral obligation to buy Thin Mints whenever the Girl Scouts show up at your door)."

        Yeah, till they burn your house to the ground at 2AM....

        Ukraine parallel?

        Am I getting this straight? Putin invades a Soverign Nation without cause ( just that he doesnt like them). gets his ASS BEAT BY CIVILIANS after 20 years of getting his ASS BEAT BY CIVILIANS IN ASSGHANISTAN and somehow its Bidens or the US fault?

        Whats wrong with this assholes thinking processes? He must be a Democrat.

        1. are you retarded?

          1. yes you are!

            I can make an intelligent comment, moron

            Now Fuck Off

            1. I make 85 dollars each hour for working an online job at home. QAAZ I never thought I could do it but my best friend makes 10000 bucks every month working this job and she recommended me to learn more about it. The potential with this is endless.
              For more detail …

      2. Are you talking about hookers?

    2. On 11 March, the UN Security Council convened at Russia's request to discuss the "biological activities of the US on the territory of Ukraine". Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Defence discovered 30 biolabs in Ukraine and released documents indicating collaboration between Kiev and the Pentagon on studying highly dangerous pathogens.

      "The US State Department says that the public mission of the biolabs in Ukraine is about securing Cold War era Soviet bioweapons", says former Pentagon analyst and retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski.

      "The companies that operate and have constructed these labs competed far more recently for contracts awarded by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), so the Cold war or Soviet era weapons disposal rings hollow. In fact, the successful 2014 US colour revolution in Ukraine opened the door for fresh DTRA contracts, and these facilities appear to be relatively modern. What they are working on is not strictly defensive, and Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland publicly stated as much before the US Congress a few days ago".

      Nuland's exchange with Senator Marco Rubio during the Tuesday hearings at the Senate triggered a heated debate, given that Washington had previously strongly denied the presence of any US-run biolabs in Ukraine.

      When asked whether Ukraine possesses "chemical or biological weapons", Nuland admitted that "Ukraine has biological research facilities." What's more, as US independent journalist Glenn Greenwald later remarked, she immediately "destroyed… any hope to depict such 'facilities' as benign or banal" by adding: "We are now in fact quite concerned that Russian troops, Russian forces, may be seeking to gain control of [those labs], so we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach".

      On the same day, the National Pulse, a US-British conservative media outlet, recovered a deleted article titled "Biolab Opens in Ukraine", dating back to 18 June 2010. The article said that the US had built a level-3 biosafety lab in the Ukrainian city of Odessa to study dangerous pathogens, including anthrax, tularemia, and Q fever, "used by bioterrorists".

      A 2011 report from the US National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Anticipating Biosecurity Challenges of the Global Expansion of High-Containment Biological Laboratories, also cited by the National Pulse, further reveals that the Odessa lab was reconstructed through "a cooperative agreement" between the Pentagon and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine that started in 2005 – following the US-backed 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine – and served as "Interim Central Reference Laboratory with a depozitarium (pathogen collection)". A separate document, cited by the media outlet, named the pathogens the facility allegedly conducted research on, including: the Marburg, Ebola, Lassa, Junin, Machupo, and Simian B viruses, the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, as well as other viruses of pathogenicity group II.

      Earlier this week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson raised a red flag over the lack of transparency about the Ukrainian biolabs' research of dangerous pathogens and the US government's role in it. The host quoted Robert Pope, the head of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program at the Pentagon, who claimed in a 25 February interview that some Ukrainian biolabs may hold pathogen strains left over from the Soviet bioweapons programme preserved in freezers for research purposes. According to Carlson, this sounds bizarre, given US mainstream media claims that since 2005, the Pentagon has been busy with "eliminat[ing] biological weapons left behind by the Soviets" in Ukraine.

      "White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki then denounced the reports as 'false' and 'preposterous' and described them as 'the kind of disinformation operation we’ve seen repeatedly from the Russians over the years' - as if the US never engaged in disinformation operations of its own", says independent journalist, author, and writer Daniel Lazare. "Needless to say, such rhetoric did nothing to reduce suspicions, but raised them all the more".

      Biological Warfare Weapons

      Meanwhile, on 10 March the Russian Ministry of Defence released documents related to the suspected military biological activities of the United States on the territory of Ukraine. The US Defence Threat Reduction Agency played the leading role in financing and developing components for biological weapons, according to the Russian MoD.

      In particular, Project UP-4, conducted with the participation of laboratories in Kiev, Kharkov, and Odessa, studied the possibility of the spread of dangerous infections through migrating birds; Project R-781reportedly studied bats as carriers of viral pathogens, including plague, leptospirosis, brucellosis, coronaviruses, and filoviruses that can be transmitted to humans, thus making them "potential biological weapons agents", according to the MoD. Among the goals pursued in the Ukrainian biolabs was the creation of bioagents that would be capable of targeting certain ethnic groups, the Defence Ministry stated.

      On 6 March, the Russian MoD released Ukrainian Ministry of Health documents containing instructions to all biological laboratories to urgently eliminate stored stocks of dangerous pathogens amid Russia's special operation.

      Judging from the incoming reports, it appears that the US carried out bio warfare programmes in Ukraine in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 (BWATA), according to Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, who drafted BWATA and has been fighting against the spread of bioweapons since 1983.

      "These bio warfare labs in Ukraine are offensive biological warfare weapons labs that have been set up by the Pentagon to research, develop, test biological weapons", says Boyle. "Yes, that is true. This is what is going on… It violates the BWC and all American citizens who were involved in any of these biological warfare labs in Ukraine violated my Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 that provides for life in prison. And if you take a look at these biological warfare labs, they have surrounded Russia in different countries there with these offensive biological warfare weapons labs. They have nothing to do with scientific research. This is run by the Pentagon. The Pentagon is interested in warfare and killing people, it's that simple".

      1. 2014? Seriously?

        1. 2014 is when this began. US funded Nazi Ukrainian battalions have coordinated atrocities and are firmly established in the Ukraine army. Sending aid to the Jewish president goes directly to the Nazis.

          “These people Mr. Biden is cutting checks to in Ukraine aren’t being labeled fascists the way the term is thrown around on Twitter. They are full-on, jackbooted, stiff-armed, “Heil Hitler,” cheering-at-Nuremberg Rallies Nazis — and they’re proud of it.”

          1. Oh my god! We have to stop the Nazi Jew Menace!

          2. Hey, Misek! Have you ever thought that maybe Zelenskyy is keeping the Azov he can set them up for slaughter?

            After all, Volodolmyr Zelenskyy had relatives who were murdered in The Holocaust, as well as relatives who suffered under the brutal jncompetance and Anti-Semitism of Joseph Stalin.

            What could be a more cold, quintuple-smooth, sweet revenge than to watch two enemies of humanity who've brought you and your loved ones untold misery destroy each other on the battlefield?

            I've "cut the cord" and I would re-subscribe just to get the pay-per-view of Neo-Nazi Avovs vs. Neo-Commie Putineers Death Match 2022!

            Just a wild thought! Anywho, Fuck off, Nazi!

            1. When Jews extended WW1 for the Balfour declaration, millions died unnecessarily.

              When Jews declared war on Germany in 1933 with global boycotts driving Germany to defend itself by invading Poland starting WW2 as Jews planned, millions more died.

              When Jews declared the state of Israel in 1948, referencing the Balfour declaration, it began the Middle East conflict which is still raging after 74 years and has claimed millions of lives.

              You’re right. Nobody should underestimate the depravity of Jews.

              1. So you're conceding that Zelenskyy could be setting up the Azov Battalion for slaughter by the Putineers?

                Well, then, that doesn't make the Azov Battallion very smart, does it? Where are the super-intelligent Aryan Pure Supermen in this bunch to see they are being played for fools?

                And if assisting a Nazi makes you a Nazi, does assisting a Jewish President Volodolmyr Zelenskyy make you Jewish? Or at least, does it make you a Judeophile?

                Just another wild thought? Fuck off, Nazi!

                1. Imagine the depravity required to cause so much suffering and destruction bringing the world to the verge of WW3 just for spite.

            2. If Truman had had is way that was how we would have dealt with the Nazis and Soviets. Let them kill each other and then take care of whoever was left over.

      2. Notice there is a correction about the bankrolling tycoon. If they can't get their shit straight about that, how much more isn't right?

        1. Also, I hope Herr Misek remembers to set his clocks forward tonight. He frequently forgets because it’s SPRINGTIME for him year round.

          1. Misek's posterboy Mister You Know Who Else got cocaine from his Dentist. He prolly also used it for SPRINGTIME allergy relief, which prolly explained his increasing mania and paranoia, as well as his and Eva's eventual binge with a German Luger crackpipe. Some Aryan Pure Superman, huh?

            1. Epstein Hitler didn't kill himself.

  2. Still, political sanctions can be justified when they effectively deter serious wrongdoing. For instance, this might have been the case during apartheid in South Africa.

    So much for principles.
    If private boycotts were popular, you wouldn't need the government-mandated boycott. Or to put it another way, the fact that the government had to mandate it meant the government was doing something unpopular.

    Slavery, how does it work?

    1. Booker T Washington said slavery worked bc the US Government sponsored it.

      Who had a mighty Navy and could have turned slave ships back mid sea?

      It wasnt the AMISH.

      1. An Amish Navy would be pretty cool, though...

        1. I'm picturing exquisitely crafted wooden aircraft carriers...

          1. I can picture a sail powered aircraft carrier, but I'm having difficulty with the horse-drawn airplanes.

            1. itll dampen the Klop Klop of der horse hooves. Wont be the same.

            2. "Again, not in The Bible. Begatting a big brood o' younuns? Now that's in The Bible!"

              1. So is running people thru with a spear that desperately need it..

                1. Or sending a sucker into battle so you can canoodle with his wife, or bashing infants heads on rocks, or leaving no stone on top of another stone in destroying an enemy. The Holy Bible is filled with warfare tactics that would get somebody a War Crimes or Crimes Against Humanity trial today.

                  1. ...and Israel kicking peoples asses.

                    They should do more of that instead of being perpetual Victims.

                    Trowel and sword. More swording.

        2. "Not in The Bible, Jacob."

        3. An Amish Navy? I’m picturing…Oh never mind, it’s just PLAIN silly!

      2. The American Navy did join in anti-slavery interdiction cruises with the British early in the 19th century, decades before slavery was eradicated in the States.

  3. Hmm...
    Reason won't allow a link to Oliver Stone's "Ukraine On Fire" documentary

    1. Oliver Stone has been spreading debunked misinformation since the 80s, regardless. He's a pure ideologue and completely in his own space. I would not trust anything he qualified as a documentary, no matter how hypothetically well researched it might be. Dan Brown also claims to do extensive and thorough research.

      1. Still tells part of the story currently being hidden from view.
        You as a viewer should be able to determine which parts of the film are opinion/narrative, and which are facts that you can add up to come to a logical understanding.

        1. No thanks. People who lie while pretending they're just trying to tell the truth are the worst. It's frustrating and generally a waste of time. If there's good points made, it gets buried beneath the bullshit.

          1. Agree = If there's good points made, it gets buried beneath the bullshit.

          2. So you must mean MSM journalism.

            1. People must be protected against wrongthink.
              Do you want east Asia to win?

        2. Says the fuckwit who mutes, automatically censoring counter arguments he can’t refute.

          To this bigot, the world is a smaller place that only mirrors his own opinions.

          It’s not truth he values.

          1. Thank you for your candor.

            1. You know who else had a MISEK-like candor?

              1. Trump?

          2. Your mind is indeed a bit low resolution. Using the mute function here is more akin to deafening oneself or using earplugs. It's not really censoring as would be truly silencing (muting) somebody else.

            1. Squeaky hinge oil....

  4. What this administration is missing is the use of sanctions in this particular circumstance has the potential to harm the USA equally if not moreso than Russia. Russia is resource plentiful, it neither needs energy or food from the west...the west is in short supply of some of the resources that Russia does have. Russia may have an appetite for western goods, but for the most part they are replaceable with cheap Chinese knockoffs. The United States power lies in the fact that the global reserve currency is the petrodollar...they've just shown many countries how far they are willing to go to destroy a country they are at odds with economically. I expect Russia and China to introduce an alternative reserve currency...possibly backed up by gold to gain trust. The United States is blowing the one thing it has which is faith in the dollar by using it as a weapon against a country that might not have an immediate response but is not so defenseless that it can't and won't retaliate.

    1. I'm not at all convinced that isn't the entire point.
      The main goal of globohomo is to destroy the middle and working class.

    2. Where is Sir Neville Chamberlain now that The West so desperately needs him again?

    3. Hell, considering how much "western"goods are made in China they're just cutting out the middle man.

    1. That's almost a Scooby Doo moment. He just needed to put on a different hat and casually start walking past them.

      1. I really thought he was going to get away for a minute. If he'd gone over the fence once they went down the alley, he might have pulled it off.

  5. If you now 100% agree with these people on an issue, you should start asking yourself some questions

    Jen Psaki tells the Tik-Tok influencers in her briefing that Russia "of course hacked our election here" in 2016.

    Full Psaki quote from @TaylorLorenz audio: "If you look back at 2014, and frankly even 2016, when Russia invaded Ukraine and then in 2016, when they, you know, of course, hacked our election here, we did not do that, we did not declassify information."

    1. Isn't that "hacked election" stuff not only misinformation, but actionable defamation? It was yesterday for Giuliani et. al.

      1. "It's only okay if we do it"

        I wonder if Sullum will write another 134 columns in three months attacking Psaki's claim of electoral fraud or if Reason will ignore it?

        1. Ignore, no. Support, absolutely.

    2. They are briefing Tik Tok "stars" on Ukraine.

      We deserve to get nuked at this point.

      1. Thank god Biden unbanned the Chinese communist spy app.

        1. Hes secretly Pelosis chauffer...

  6. Jewish leaders bragging that global Jewish boycotts of Germany in 1933 brought us WW2.

    “We Jews are going to bring a war on Germany”.
    David A Brown, national chairman, united Jewish campaign, 1934.

    “The Israeli people around the world declare economic and financial war against Germany …holy war against Hitlers people”

    Chaim Weismann, the Zionist leader, 8 September 1939, Jewish chronicle.

    The Toronto evening telegram of 26 February 1940 quoted rabbi Maurice l. Perlzweig of the world Jewish Congress as telling a Canadian audience that” The world Jewish Congress has been at war with Germany for seven years”.

    1. Remember a few days ago, when you said that Hitler, Himmler, and Goering were Jewish? I do.

      And I've already proven it, stormfag.

      1. You’re still a liar. Cite your proof.

        1. Already did, stormfag. 2 days ago.

          1. Isn’t it strange how Nazis define
            actual Nazis as Jews?
            Maybe he’s George soros?

            1. George Soros shitposting anti-Semitism in the Reason comments? Buttplug would blow a nut.

          2. No cite, you’re a loser.

            1. Go back 2 days, you'll find the cite.

              1. You made the claim here, proving it here is your responsibility not mine.

                I’ll be happy to demonstrate that you haven’t graduated to idiot.

                1. Fuck off and die, Nazi shit.

    2. As a dog returns to vomit, so a fool to his folly = Misek

      1. Worse. It's not even his vomit.

        "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

        1. What I'm hearing is that Misek likes rolling in pig shit. Possibly as a way to attract a Squirrelly tongue bath.


    3. Note that not one of these fuckwit apologists have refuted what they deny or proved what they claim. Hahaha.

      1. And yet, we're all still laughing at you.

        1. Do you think that I communicate for you hopeless bigots who will never have any leverage over me?

          I communicate the truth, reality for people who value it but have been coerced out of fear of canceling and abuse to lurk instead of asking questions and learning.

          There’s nothing a bigot likes more than the silence in an echo chamber.

          Your bigoted speech is a hollow echo. Truth is solid reality.

          1. Thank you, Dr. Bronner.

  7. Reason's method is more immigration funny when people will not be allowed to leave and those few who can it would take forever to have an effect. Reason is literally stupid here. Reason some people don't want to leave their homes they want to protect them thats why thankfully the U.S. has a second amendment

    1. Not stupid. theyre closet Communists.

      1. ...whats left of Hank Phillips mind enters the room..

    2. Our second Amendment also stops collectivist scientist-impersonators from wheedling Congress into again enabling a nuclear surprise attack on These States by banning our SDI while subsidizing an ABM network around Moscow.

  8. Though economic sanctioning is appealing because it's a nonviolent way for people to express their disapproval of unjust leadership, there are often better nonviolent responses available to counteract foreign aggression. American officials could, for instance, support policies that relax immigration restrictions for Ukrainian refugees as well as for Russian migrants, including scientific experts and military defectors. These policies would effectively undermine the Russian military while also respecting ordinary Americans' and Russians' freedom of association and exchange.

    It's interesting the article doesn't mention removing restrictions on American oil production which would be the best method to hurt Putin's oil revenue, much more than an embargo not joined by half the world's population. They did manage to cite immigration though, their single most important political interest, even though it would have a comparatively miniscule impact.

    1. + a million or so.

    2. It’s not interesting at all, it’s just the narrative and propaganda we’re used to from Reason.


    The most famous quote of this entire conflict, attributed to Zelensky, was probably made up by US intelligence lmao

    1. Be serious. The most famous quote of this conflict is:

      The Americans tried to evacuate Zelensky. But their plan didn't work because his Iron Balls were too heavy for the plane.

  10. If I cancel my summer camping trip to the Russian River, will that help?

    1. Every little bit helps. I burned my copy of Anastasia yesterday.

      1. I quit Russian when I'm running late.

        1. We need to paint all the fire engines blue and yellow.

          1. We need to deplatform anyone who didn't change their Facebook photo or Twitter avatar to a Ukrainian flag for Russian propaganda.

      2. I cancelled my Russian bride.

        Ill try Ukraine instead. They have some real hotties there and they may not be generational alcoholics!

    1. If we've learned anything from Covid it's that biolabs aren't dangerous but nearby farmer's markets are.

      1. Well, we're totally fucked then. Ukraine is "Europe's Breadbasket" so it's gotta be just chock full of farmers and their damned markets.

        1. Also, it rains a lot there, so the markets are wet!


    Full-scale global censorship regime from Google breezily announced in these tweets. This war is being exploited to implement a scheme of information control previously unseen in the West, that is not going anywhere once this war is over. Decide for yourself if you're comfortable:


      1/ Our Community Guidelines prohibit content denying, minimizing or trivializing well-documented violent events. We are now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates this policy.

      2/ In line with that, we are also now blocking access to YouTube channels associated with Russian state-funded media globally, expanding from across Europe. This change is effective immediately, and we expect our systems to take time to ramp up.

      3/ Since our last update, our teams have now removed more than 1,000 channels and over 15,000 videos for violating not only our hate speech policy, but also our policies around misinformation, graphic content and more.

      4/ Our systems are also connecting people to trusted news sources. So far, our breaking news and top news shelves on our homepage have received more than 17M views in Ukraine.

      5/ In addition, we recently paused all YouTube ads in Russia. We’ve now extended this to all of the ways to monetize on our platform in Russia.

      6/ Our teams continue to closely monitor the situation, and are ready to take further action. We will continue to share updates as they become available.

      1. Fuck. Wrapped in the American Ukrainian flag with cheers.

      2. Thanks for the good news Nardz.

        1. I know that censorship is good news to you. That's why the midterms will be good news to us.

        2. When has

          1. censorship ever gone badly?

  12. It's always fun to see "libertarians" discussing the intricacies of progressive interventions in the economy and trade, throwing out any libertarian principles in the process.

    Keep going, Reason. Keep showing us who you really are.


    "Remember, the Russians invaded Afghanistan back in 1980," Hillary Clinton says. "It didn't end well for the Russians...but the fact is, that a very motivated, and then funded, and armed insurgency basically drove the Russians out of Afghanistan."

    1. I wonder if she remembers when they invaded Georgia.

      1. Biden remembers. They burned Atlanta to the ground.

      2. Tariff protectionists sure as hell remember Billy Sherman's March Across Georgia.

  14. The fallout games got everything wrong.

    1. Never played the fallout series. Worth getting on sale?

      1. Fallout 3: New Vegas is really the pinnacle of the series, IMO. It's a very well designed game and fun to play, with all sorts of different paths to a bunch of different endings.

        1. Fallout 3 isn't New Vegas, though. They are different games. Vegas is better.

  15. I wonder how Jews will claim that 6 million of them died at the hands of Nazis in WW3 when it’s already been demonstrated that Jews are funding them during all these sanctions?

    1. Jewish leaders and media claimed no less than 166 times between 1900 and 1945 that there were so many holocausts of 6 million Jews. They did this like lying wastes of skin who fake cancer on go fund me pages for money.

      Too bad we didn’t have social media before WW1.

      To expose propaganda like “Germans are chopping off babies arms” and “turning bodies into soap” and prevent the anti war US from entering it for the promise of Palestine to the Jews, to prevent the Jewish Bolshevik propaganda and revolution creating the Soviet Union and it’s secret police and to prevent all of the above from resulting in WW2.

      A Jew would be nothing more than an adherent to a backward religion. A Nazi just a national socialist. There would be no Middle East conflict. Palestine would be an inclusive home of Muslims, Jews and Christians, not an apartheid state called Israel.

      Well we had it in 2014 when Victoria Nuland if the US was recorded caught red handed planning the Nazi coup and civil war in Ukraine.

      We had it last week when the US was caught red handed once again trying to push Poland into war to make Ukraine a NATO conflict and WW3.

      What did Churchill say about those who fail to learn from history? They’re doomed to repeat it.

      1. Fuck off misek.

      2. They’re doomed to repeat it.

        Take the hint, stormfag.

        1. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

          How many times have you idiots tried to silence me with your feeble requests?

          I’ll give you a hint. If you actually refute anything I say, not just deny it, I’ll never say it again.

  16. Holy shit

    One difference between Putin and Hitler is that Hitler didn't kill ethnic Germans, German-speaking people.
    Putin slaughters the very people he said he has come to liberate.

      1. Madcow


        BSE victim. Spongiform brain.

      2. 'Smug, but stupid.' A progressive, you mean?

        1. I didn't want to be too redundant.

      3. But she has a PhD from Oxford!

        Funny how they never mention what her major was.

    1. Heh. The only reason the Ukrainians speak Russian is because Russia raped their country for 100 years. What an idiot.

      I asked my Russian co-worker yesterday morning, actually, because I was curious about the difference. The explanation he gave sounded a lot like my experiences with Dutch as a native English speaker who knows some German. Pretty much this nagging feeling like I really should be able to understand what they're saying, but maybe I'm really drunk, or have a head injury I've forgotten about. Only, he put Russians hearing Ukrainian at like, 40% vocabulary and 90% grammar comprehension, and my feeling with Dutch is probably more like 25%/50%. But the Russians aren't shooting the native Russian speakers.

      Now, the Serbs and the Croats are basically the same damned genes and the same damned language and boy howdy, you wanna talk about folks that hate each other... Oi.

      1. "Pretty much this nagging feeling like I really should be able to understand what they're saying, but maybe I'm really drunk, or have a head injury I've forgotten about"

        NOWHERE else on line can we get that quality prose.


  17. Does anyone else find it odd that the Burger King sign in Russian Cyrillic is just letter-for-letter B-U-R-G-E-R K-I-N-G ? Like, no translation, just transcription. But the logo is unchanged. It's very odd to me.

    1. Yes, that's just totally weird, isn't it?

      I mean, I'm totally not surprised that "Burger" goes into Russian simply transliterated; Russian-speakers steal vocabulary for things with the same abandon we English-speakers do. But the Russian word for "king" is "король". I guess they wanted an American aura?

    2. That happens when theres no direct word match in the other language. Its also International Trademark so they may have to use is as close as possible under franchise rules.

      Mmmmm franchise...

      Franchise Joe Biden

      1. Can you get a Build Back Burger from a Joe Biden Franchise?

  18. "Pornhub have suspended dealings with Russia in protest of the war. So, are these sanctions justified?"

    ( bites fist in mock horror )

    Mother-fing Russia doesnt have prostitutes so they import them?

    Wodka must make ugly women!

    1. What are the chances ENB will fail to write about this as a feminist outrage piece about keeping those Russian Pornhub sex workers from making their daily fuck money? I say zip.

    2. Wodka makes Russian men unattractive to Russian women. Also, wodka makes Russian men die young, restricting the supply of men.

      1. ...and Wodka!

  19. The authors grasp “prohibit Americans from trading” yet fall back on Nixon’s “War on Drugs” to describe a continuation of TR, Taft, Coolidge and Bert Hoover prohibitionism. Dry Hope Hoover appointed Harry Anslinger drug czar and by Moratorium helped Germans evade debts in the forlorn hope they might stop mass-exports of opiates and obey the Narcotic Limitation Convention that wrecked their economy. Instead, they funded the nazi party and rearmament. Prohibition of beer, acid, weed is mystical prohibitionism in action. It is war on production and trade and wrecks national economies.

  20. What is the deal with this western propaganda push that "Putin is losing it because the war is going badly and he is looking for a way out because he is losing"?

    ABC yesterday had several "analyst" reporters doing standup remotes outside DC locations and European locations, all thousands of miles from anywhere relevant to the action, all telling me that "Putin has been unstable for some time" and "he is surprised that his invasion is failing" and most obviously "up to 6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, possibly more".

    Really? We are going with the shopping mall jewelry marketing claim? "Up to 6,000...or more!!". Or less. Who knows. But it sounds big. Anyway, ABC had a couple of their reporters tell me that the real number could be as high as 15,000.

    I have no specific knowledge at all. But I know bullshit. They are just flat making stuff up. They also told me Putin was using conscripted prisoners, up to 13,000 "middle east fighters" (I wasn't clear as to what that meant, but it was totally a clear indication that he is losing), cluster bombs are being dropped on civilians... And they even targeted a "maternity hospital" in order to break the spirit of the people. (That sounds awefully familiar... Didn't we run this same movie back during Kuwait, with babies being thrown from incubators and left to die on the floor?)

    All of these stories seem to come from "administration sources" or "pentagon sources" or "Government sources in Ukraine". Nobody seems to do any original reporting.

    It all sounds crazy. Why is anyone believing that 7 days or 14 days into an invasion, Russia is frustrated and ready to give up because they have not completely won yet? It took the US 9 months to control Iraq enough to capture Saddam Husein. And that was a much more straightforward invasion, with large swaths of desert obviating the need to follow roads.

    Have all of these reporters gone insane? Do none of them possess even the slightest bit of critical thinking capability? Does nobody on the US national stage even remember things from a few weeks ago, let alone a few decades ago?

    1. 'Why is anyone believing that 7 days or 14 days into an invasion, Russia is frustrated and ready to give up because they have not completely won yet?' The vast majority of dimwits writing have no work experience, no military experience, but do expect things to just work out for them without any hassle. 'Do none of them possess even the slightest bit of critical thinking capability? Does nobody on the US national stage even remember things from a few weeks ago, let alone a few decades ago?' No on all counts.

      1. Also, most have spent their entire careers re-writing gov't press releases just enough to allow a new copywrite claim.

    2. I watched ABC last night and they had reporters in Ukraine, including their senior star Marth Radich. CNN also has numerous reporters in Ukraine and Moscow. Intelligence sources include regular updates from the UK, Pentagon briefings and US intelligence releases which Biden used to keep allies and the world up to date on the lead up to the Russian aggression. It was unfortunately pretty accurate.

    3. perhaps bc their troops are being butchered?

      You dont score highly in Critical Thinking.

      1. Russians are profoundly crushing Ukraine right now. Don't have to like it, but I fear that is what's taking place.

        1. looks as if its changing.

          Thankscto KNYR Biden.

          F him with 47 sticks.

          Hes waiting on sanctions to see if Russias gonna win.

    4. What gets me is the constant drumming of this. A simple google search (or whatever your favorite search engine) will show that Russia has at most sent in about a tenth of it's military and has been using air assets pretty minimally. He is fighting this on the cheap, not using his most advanced tanks or fighters, and pretty stringent on his guided munitions. They've been relying heavily on artillery, which is a hell of a lot cheaper than guided munitions. If Russia truly wanted to drop the hammer, the Ukrainian military would cease to exist. From what I can tell, the Ukrainian military still outnumbers the Russian military personal involved. But we must go with Russia is being embarrassed rather than Russia is fighting this on the cheap and we shouldn't draw any conclusions from this about their true abilities. They're basically doing what we did in Iraq.

      The generals told Bush that it would take 300,000 troops and total destruction of the Republican guard, not just it's equipment, but it's personal, to secure the country and occupy it. Rumsfield said that was nonsense, we had the technical edge and destroying the equipment would be adequate. So we let the Republican Guard personal abandon their equipment, failed to secure borders, and ended up fighting a war of attrition against an insurgency. Fighting on the cheap rarely goes the way you want it to.

      In 1943 the US produced more tanks in one year than the Germans did from 1939-1945, and more aircraft than all the rest of the world combined. We didn't stop building tanks and aircraft. Because we wanted total victory and that meant throwing everything against the wall.

      I am sure this isn't going as easy as Putin would have wanted, but the difference in size between the Russian and Ukrainian military is to large to simply overcome. Just for starters, the Russian Air Force had 769 fighters in it's inventory at the start of the war, Ukraine 69. There is no reason that Russia couldn't have achieved air supremacy in the first 24 hours if it had thrown everything, or even half of it's air force into the fray.

      1. Our Generals and politicians are reading 'White Fragility' when they should be reading Clausewitz and Sun-Tzu.

    5. They are claiming that Putin is hopelessly bogged down in Ukraine, but ALSO that he will steamroll over Europe when he's done with Ukraine.

  21. For instance, this might have been the case during apartheid in South Africa.

    Ending apartheid has been an unmitigated disaster for South Africa.

    1. Well then we cant blame the Mitigaters!

      Sounds like a new Fox animated series.

  22. My private companies, getting some innocent pointers from the Biden Administration:

    "As the Russian government has begun paying TikTok creators to produce pro-Kremlin propaganda, briefings like these are a critical tool to ensure that creators can have their questions answered and can provide accurate information to their followers," the official said.

    1. " They " ( internet activist Trolls were paid by ObamaBiden in 2010 to spread propaganda online.

      This, is that, obviously.

  23. "Pornhub have suspended dealings with Russia in protest of the war."

    So did they ban Russians from posting porn, ban Russians from watching porn, or both?

    Regardless, I fail to see how either can be effective in deterring Putin, unless Putin and his top generals are really into Russian porn.

    1. They must be having a Jerk Out ( Morris Day) instead of running a war.

      Civilians are beating his ass.

      Matye hes into that.

      Jerk Out... Bidens jerkin everything in sight!

      1. speaking of jerking things, theres Tiny.

        Stop jerking that or youll go blind.

    2. I dunno but judging by the internet it seems that Russia is largely a porn-based economy.

  24. "American officials could, for instance, support policies that relax immigration restrictions for Ukrainian refugees as well as for Russian migrants, including scientific experts and military defectors. These policies would effectively undermine the Russian military while also respecting ordinary Americans' and Russians' freedom of association and exchange."

    While most Americans would support that policy change (that could be effective over the next several years), it would do very little (if anything) to deter Putin's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

    Seems like the authors of this article have been rooting for Putin.

    1. Of course. Commies Commune. Its what they do.

      Decoding the phrase " sending weapinscwill escalate the war."

      It sure will. It will ESCALATE UKRAINE WINNING and ol Fucknuts Biden doesnt want that.

      Bidick cant push the GND without a crisis.

  25. mediaite shitting on Tucker (Fox) about Bidens Covid power grab continuing in re Russia- Ukraine.

    Now this PROOF hes right:

    "pressure to invoke Cold War-era powers to force more domestic oil production as the war in Ukraine strains supplies, raising gasoline prices and fueling inflation."


    Never let a manufactured crisis go to waste, huh Joe?

    Mediatites attack piece just disappeared.

  26. If we were to ever achieve this "brain drain" via immigration, Putin would simply stop certain people from leaving this country. There aren't thousands of North Koreans crowding the DMZ because the punishment upon return is death, and they'd have to cross China even to get to South Korea. And to use Reason's own logic, losing all the technicians and doctors would result in civilian suffering so.... that's a no go.

    Would you ever do business with a company whose CEO cyberbullied your kid? What if he thought the Holocaust was necessary and justifiable in the future? You would do business with them because their employees had nothing to do with company policy or CEO? That's absurd. You're not going to fund evil on the notion that it inconveniences "innocent' people who nevertheless help run evil.

    The tragedy of articles like this is the lack of perspective and convenient moral equivalency. The Ukrainians are being bombed. That is not on the equal level of Russians losing Mcdonalds and visa cards. The point of sanctions is to hinder and discourage the war effort, and to achieve that, ordinary people have to lose options to pay into their war machine.

    It would be wrong for us to poison water supplies or deny medical treatment to Russians. It's discriminatory for YT demonetize ALL Russian creator. But if companies want to voluntarily pull out of a nation that's waging war for no reason, that's perfectly kosher. The Russians can grow their own food and build their own houses. Right?

    1. The mistake in your premise is putting
      " Reason" and " logic" together.

      Sure Ruskies can grow food....if the US sells the farm equipment to them.

      They grow Wodka ok.

      They need that to make their women less ugly.

  27. From the " cant make it up" page...

    "Elderly dismemberment suspect shopped at 99 Cent store with victim's leg in tow..."

    Was it a...



  28. The Truckers wont have to strike...

    $1200 to fill up on diesel.

    Bidets gonna do it for them.

  29. Never go full Portland:

    Fhupid Fhitheads...

    1. These days they would just let it rot in the sun because nobody would even be able to come up with a BAD plan.

  30. American officials could, for instance, support policies that relax immigration restrictions for Ukrainian refugees as well as for Russian migrants

    That option has absolutely zero relevance to what Putin/Russia actually did or to their goals - but is merely an opportunity to babble on about what this site has always been in favor of for every possible problem in the world. IOW - it is ethically virtue signalling bullshit. And expressing this as a relevant policy option merely serves to undermine both the policy option itself and those who perpetually pretend that this IS an option.

    Putin's goal in invading WAS published on the Internet (through RIA Novosti) - and then quickly deleted - but not before the Wayback robot ran through and preserved that triumphalist nonsense for posterity. Ukraine itself is almost irrelevant except as the means by which Russia:
    a)announces that it, like the Terminator, is now 'back' and Russia is now the Soviet Union again - with all the 'spheres of influence' and Russian Empire tones but without the silly commie shit.
    b)the 'West' is permanently weakened and divided with the 'Anglo-Saxons' deluded and domineering while 'Europe' (Germany and France) are suitably chastened and now accommodative to whatever Russia wants.
    c)the rest of the world will now be able to reject the now-weak and deluded 'West' because everyone knows that Little Russians are destined to be ruled by Great Russians not by themselves.

    This war could actually be an opportunity to learn something about how to deal with life in a complicated world. Instead, it's just the sameoldsameold rhetorical and policy bullshit from 'libertarians' - from DeRp's - from journalists/'influencers'/etc.

    1. Very well said. I think Putin's message was received, finally.

    2. Borderless bolsheviks are not libertarian. The LP uses democracy under a Constitution limiting power of a State--the thing Weber defined back when The Anti-Saloon League and Methodist White Terror ruled These States. Anarchism starts with no laws against murder, torture or invasion, looting and arson for openers. Its infiltrating purpose is to reduce the LP vote count in presidential elections by lopping off the 328% increase we earned in 2016.

    3. We see whom are really weakened- Russia getting beat by civilians so badly they have no tactic but that if the Muslim terrorists- blindly fire rockets.

      They have to go begging to China, another bankrupt Turd World nation for weapons?

      Formerly mighty Russia spent all their game getting beat in Assghanistan.

      So where was the Biden regime in heading this pre published war plan off at the pass?

      Fast Asleep at the helm.

  31. "Consider, for example, Visa and Mastercard's decisions to suspend operations in Russia. These private sanctions have left thousands of journalists, activists, and ordinary Russians unable to make international payments, which they may need to do in order to flee Putin's regime."

    Maybe instead of fleeing Putin's regime, they need to stand up and FIGHT the regime. I would hope that, at the very least, journalists and activists want to free the ordinary Russian from this tyranny.

    Personally I have no problem with the multi-nationals withdrawing from the russian market. At the very least the closed McDonalds and no foreign products will get the point across to the ordinary Russian. Your dictator needs to go. I think the current practice of paying Russian employees during these shutdowns is noble, but wrong. No business in Russia because of your dictator. No business means no revenue. No revenue means no job. No job means no paycheck. Again, maybe the ordinary russian needs to address the problem.

    1. If history is any indication, Revolutions in Russia rarely end well for the Russian people or the rest of the world.

    2. Oh no....holding people responsible for their actions?

      Oh the horror!

    3. Why would they fight against Putin if we're the ones cutting them off from society?

  32. Blocking propaganda never really ends well. The Nazis tried to block Allied propaganda. The Soviets, ChiComs and North Koreans have all tried to block western propaganda at different times. It just made the people crave it more, and made them question why it needed to be blocked. Allied soldiers laughed at Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally. They were ineffective partially because the US never tried to block their transmissions. The soldiers and Marines and sailors knew it was all propaganda, and they derided it accordingly.

  33. "There’s a difference between actions that only make us feel good and actions that actually help Ukraine."

    If droolin' Joe were told of this, he'd be shocked!

  34. I read somewhere the Rooshians were suing whatever Faecebook calls itself these days. That sounds as entertaining as watching the Kleptocracy looters going at it with real short knives. Schadenfreude city!

  35. Notice there are a ton of gray boxes above and I'm sure, by the increase over the last day or so, muting the asshole nardz has reduced my access to twitter and other assholic sources. Or maybe twitter only, since the asshole seems to find no other sources.
    Have I got that right?

    1. You fucking bigot.

      Thanks for demonstrating how your self censorship makes your world smaller, only reflecting your own opinions.

      You’re a coward who hides from the fact that you can’t prove what you claim or refute what you deny.

      Just keep pressing that mute button asshole and do us all a favour, fuck off.

    2. All you need to know is that the people you’ve muted have ripped your myopic perspective to shreds. It’s very entertaining

  36. "The philosophers Brandon Warmke and Justin Tosi refer to these kinds of costless public expressions of political condemnation as "moral grandstanding." Moral grandstanding is usually an inconsequential vanity project,"

    Moral grandstanding is the left's whole political philosophy. From virtue signaling to cancel culture, to sanctions it is all the same thing.

  37. Why do so many people want to support the group of people that have been abusing them for the last two years. Putin is the only entity fighting against this group.

    1. try English composition lessons.

      That was unreadable nonsense

    2. Ukrainians are swamped with the same propaganda we are. Worse because they are funding Neo Nazis in their military and police and their witnessed atrocities need covering up.

      The average Ukrainian is primarily concerned with day to day living. They hear that war with Russia will make their lives better. It’ll make the oligarchs richer and some of those they corrupt.

      Meanwhile every dollar we send, every sanction brings us closer to WW3, no different than if North Korea built biological weapon sites on the border of Mexico and the world funded them, sent weapons and sanctioned the US.

  38. News just now

    The Shizer vaccine is THIRTY ONE PERCENT effective


    So bad they have to use Infomercial As Seen On TV tactics to sell it...

    " it can help"....

    Pathologically LYING CON ARTISTS.

    And whom are paying for this failure?

    Fuck Pfi$er

    1. ...and the Professional Grifters sell a vax 31 % effective but get 100 % MONEY.

      Not performance based.

      That smells of Govt contract fraud and corruption.

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