Biden Team Briefs Wall Street Banks On Looming Russia Sanctions, Including ‘Nuclear Option’
Bloomberg reports that the Biden administration has briefed Wall Street on possible new far-reaching sanctions on Russia, and ongoing efforts to ensure that they wouldn’t disrupt the global financial system.
This included National Security Council officials this week holding discussions with executives from major banks including Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. – according to the Bloomberg report.
This similarly comes as the administration is said to be reaching out to energy firms in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa – in hopes of helping Western Europe tapping alternate supply sources should things escalate to the point of Russia drastically cutting off gas to Europe, which could be a likely retaliatory move by Russia. But while Washington has been talking sanctions and even cutting Russia off from SWIFT, Ukraine’s President Zelensky himself has been busy attempting to reign in the loose canon and “dangerous” rhetoric coming out of Washington officials…
Sky’s @DominicWaghorn asked Volodymyr Zelensky whether President Biden was right to say a Russian invasion was imminent.
Ukraine President replied “the discourse is changing” over the “proxy war” over energy security.https://t.co/HZ38IJyuH3
Sky 501, Virgin 602, Freeview 233 pic.twitter.com/aNdrAwk4I3
— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 28, 2022
Moscow too has been consistent over the past two months in saying there are no “plans” to invade Ukraine, even as it’s recently acknowledged a heavy Russian forces presence in areas near the Russia-Ukraine border – however which are all stationed within its own sovereign territory, which the Kremlin has reminded Washington that it has every right to do.
Officials from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control were also said to be involved in briefing US financial firms on the possible measures. In terms of the likelihood or unlikelihood, and severity, of new sanctions on Russia, Bloomberg had this to say:
“The U.S. and European Union are honing in on a package that would include targeting Moscow’s ability to convert currency. While energy penalties and cutting off access to the Swift system, which manages 42 million orders a day for payments, are on the table, Swift is considered the nuclear option and the most divisive.”
For now the Swift option indeed looks unlikely. “One person familiar with the discussions said it’s coming up only occasionally in talks between the administration and the banks, as the lenders ask whether such a measure is likely,” the report notes.
Meanwhile, talk about giving a “heads up” to Wall Street on potential plans directly impacting investment strategy…
The Trump Administration knew how deadly this virus was back in February.
But they didn’t tell you or your family. Instead, they gave a heads up to their friends on Wall Street so investors could make a profit before the recession hit.
They hid the truth. It’s unforgivable.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 1, 2020
The scenarios is also unlikely given the already deep fissures within the NATO alliance over just how to respond to the Ukraine crisis.
Germany and France have already made abundantly clear that they want to avoid military conflict at all costs, coming on the heels of relatively positive Normandy format talks in Paris on Wednesday, which has resulted in denunciations from eastern European states – Latvia foremost among them – that Germany’s trade and energy relations with Moscow and Beijing have introduced division in Europe.
Increasingly the Ukrainians themselves appear to be seeking de-escalation, and are fast backing off talk of military confrontation in the country’s east…
Zelensky says “we do see” the 100,000 Russian troops. “If it happens, it will be open war. A horrible war, and we understand these things.”
— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) January 28, 2022