I wonder if any of these brilliant “soft power” strategists have taken into account the fact that a) Russia has prepared for this move, and b) Russia and China already have a SWIFT alternative in place and ready to go.
The leaders of the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States issued a statement on Saturday, announcing the latest round of restrictive measures targeting Russia’s economy in response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.
In particular, they concern “selected Russian banks,” which will be “removed from the SWIFT messaging system.” Russian Central Bank, meanwhile, will be prevented “from deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact” of the sanctions.
The leaders said they will also “limit the sale of citizenship — so called golden passports — that let wealthy Russians connected to the Russian government become citizens of our countries and gain access to our financial systems.”
Finally, the countries announced plans to launch “a transatlantic task force” that will identify and freeze the assets of sanctioned entities within their jurisdiction.
As usual, the provocation is a bluff. The Prometheans aren’t willing to simply shut down SWIFT entirely because that would result in Russia simply replacing it with the Sino-Russian alternative. And because it would shut off natural gas shipments to Western Europe for lack of payment. So, they’re trying to cause enough pain to encourage submission, but not so much that would result in rejection and competition.