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European nations cry to WTO not Washington as Russian sanctions create layoffs

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Actions today within the Eurozone took on a Kabuki theater like presence when on Aug. 13, several European nations cried foul and headed to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to protest economic sanctions laid upon them by Russia, and which are now seriously affecting their agricultural exports. What is perhaps the most ironic in all of this, is that it is not Russia who is the originator of problems for farmers in Spain, Greece, Finland, and Poland, but instead the issue lies primarily at the feet of Washington, D.C., and the United States who started the trade war with the Eurasian power, and has brought the Eurozone nations into the conflict as collateral damage.

Last week when Russian President Vladimir Putin signed several economic sanctions into law restricting the importing of foodstuffs by the U.S. and any nation who went along with Washington imposed sanctions, the Eurasian leader specifically detailed that he would remove these sanctions for any country that willingly rebelled against U.S. aggression, and sought free trade outside of U.S. imposed policies directed at Russia.

Unfortunately for many countries tied strongly to the U.S. dollar and financial system, their being put between a rock and a hard place is now threatening their very economies, and potentially as well, their unemployment rates.

Spain:

Spanish Agriculture Minister Isabel Garcia Tejerina said the restrictions have prompted her ministry to convene a meeting with the European Commission in Brussels on Thursday.

The Spanish government has estimated that agricultural losses will amount to €337 million, or about 1.8 percent of Spanish exports. Other groups, like Spain’s opposition Socialist Party, have estimated the losses to be higher- €581 million. - Zerohedge

Finland:

The largest Finnish dairy producer Valio sent a forced leave of the staff with factories working for export to Russia.

Poland:

Poland's agriculture minister went on television to announce the country was taking action against Russia's new import ban. "We believe Russia has broken international law in both its embargo against Poland and its embargo against the EU," Marek Sawicki said.

Russia banned the import of Polish fruit and vegetables in early August - a move Sawicki said would cost Poland 0.6 percent of GDP.

As opposed to a strategy of direct assault against the United States over sanctions imposed upon them for their actions in Ukraine and the Crimea, Russia is focusing instead on America's allies who can ill afford to withstand long term import sanctions against their economy, and are relying upon Eurozone nations to turn upon their financial master to demand an end to the growing economic 'Cold War'.

The stakes are extremely high in this new battle between superpowers, and like during the Cold War of the 20th century, external nations allied to both sides more often than not felt residual consequences from the political, military, and economic actions taken in this ideological and geo-political conflict. But unlike the Cold War that ended just 23 years ago, this one is directed more at the United States than it is at Russia, and the chances of America succumbing to economic collapse are much greater than when the old Soviet Union did to to end the prior conflict.