As the US (but not Germany) threatens more sanctions to “punish” Russia, I keep wondering who is punishing whom?

Is Chancellor Merkel finally beginning to see the economic and geopolitical stupidity of sanctions?

I ask because the Wall Street Journal reports Merkel: No New Economic Sanctions on Russia Planned.

Meanwhile, Obama and Putin briefly met on Tuesday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing.

On that note, the Washington Examiner reports Obama Talks Ukraine with Putin as White House Hints New Sanctions are Coming.

Rocks in Head Sure to Rattle

Russia has responded twice in two days in ways that will have the rocks in president Obama’s and Senator John McCain’s head rattling for sure.

Russia to Build 8 New Nuclear Reactors in Iran

The Financial Times reports Russia-Iran Nuclear Reactor Deal Raises Eyebrows.

Russia has agreed to build eight new nuclear reactors in Iran in a deal raising eyebrows in Washington and Europe as fraught international talks to curb Tehran’s atomic ambitions near their deadline.

Meeting in Moscow on Tuesday, Iranian and Russian officials said they had negotiated terms for the construction by Russia’s state nuclear power company Rosatom of four new reactors at the Islamic republic’s existing Russian-built Bushehr facility, and four more at another site in the country.

Russian officials said their eight-plant nuclear deal – the broad terms of which were first laid down in a 1995 agreement – could boost efforts to make Iran’s nuclear activities more transparent and would benefit the Vienna discussions.

“The entire construction project of the nuclear power units in Iran, including equipment and nuclear fuel supplies, will be under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and fully meet the nuclear non-proliferation regime the same way as during construction of the first power unit of Bushehr,” Rosatom said in a statement.

Make-or-Break Moment

Iranian negotiators and counterparts from the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany – are set to meet next week in Vienna to begin the final bout of talks aimed at ending crippling international sanctions against the Islamic republic in exchange for permanent limits to its uranium enrichment activities.

Speaking in Berlin, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned that the talks were at a “make-or-break moment,” and if no agreement was achievable by the November 24 deadline, it could be at least two years before they could meaningfully resume. 

Oversight Not Wanted

More independent oversight by the International Atomic Energy Agency should be precisely what everyone wants.

Perhaps Merkel can pound some common sense into Obama’s head, but don’t count on that. Her judgement has not been all that brilliant lately, to say the least.   

Instead, I fully expect McCain will have a hyperventilation attack and Obama will go along with McCain.

This is really not about oversight but rather about total control. The US wants to dictate what every country can or cannot do. It’s that simple.

Iran Sanctions Will Break Soon

Should the US scuttle the “make-or-break talks“, look for Russia and China to work out more deals to buy Iranian oil.

South Africa, which only went along with sanctions under pressure from Obama, may also throw in the towel. Other countries will follow. One way or another, I expect the sanctions on Iran to break down soon.

Obama has two unpalatable choices at this point.

Option 1: Should the November 24 talks die without agreement, the Obama-inspired sanctions will end in total complete failure, obvious to the entire world.

Option 2: Obama agrees to lift the sanctions, with McCain and the war hawks howling bloody murder.

No Winning Play for Obama

Putin’s Iran nuclear reactor deal was announced purposely at this time to make Obama look like a fool. And it worked.

There is no real winning play for Obama at this point. That’s something one ought to consider when imposing inane sanctions.

Should sanity prevail and the US lift the sanctions, one needs to stop and ask the questions “What did we get, and was it worth the effort?”  

Perhaps the threat of option 1 will save the day, culminating in an Obama “we did it speech” that in reality will be much ado about nothing, and with McCain bellowing like a sick moose for weeks.

That is the very best Obama can get out of this mess now.

Putin Signs Another Gas Deal with China

The Financial Times takes the cake for the most ridiculous headline of the month with Putin Snubs Europe with Siberian Gas Deal that Bolsters China Ties.

“Putin Snubs Europe?!”

What the H should Europe expect when it bows to the inane wishes of Obama and imposes ridiculous sanctions on Russia. Also note that in response to Ukraine, the EU blocked Russia’s pipeline proposals to bring more gas to Europe.

What’s Putin supposed to do? Kiss Obama’s ass?

Mike “Mish” Shedlock