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What About the Sanctions?

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March 16, 2022 3:52 p.m.

There are a few points I disagree with here. And I think — albeit perhaps indirectly — Joe Biden is very much part of these negotiations, for just the reason TPM Reader PT says: What Russia needs most is relief from sanctions and those are not under the Ukrainian government’s control. There is also a lot of broken glass that won’t be fixed even if all the sanctions were rescinded immediately. Having said all this, if the Ukrainian government said ‘hey we have an agreement that’s good for our country. We need you to drop the sanctions to make it happen,’ I think we’d be hard pressed to say, ‘Sorry, but we’re still too pissed about this.’ And yet the nature of Putin’s government, the depth of its revisionism and more, seems much more menacing than it did a month ago. There’s really no winding back to the clock to December 2021.

Here’s TPM Reader PT

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: The person who’s not involved in the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, and who ought to be, is Joe Biden.

I say this because a big part of what Russia is going to want out of a settlement with Ukraine is the removal of economic sanctions, which is not subject to Ukraine’s control. Ultimately it’s the free world that Russia needs to convince to relax those sanctions. At this point, Joe Biden is the undisputed leader of the free world. Thus it’s Biden that Putin needs to work with on this.

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