Russia and the West are at war – over fruits, veggies, pork, and bank loans. The cause is Ukraine, a vast emptiness formerly unknown to the western world, but now deemed a vital national security interest worthy of a risking a very scary war.

Economic embargos such as those launched by the US against Russia may seem relatively harmless. They are not. Trade sanctions are a form of strategic warfare that is sometimes followed by bullets and shells.

Think, for good example, of the 1940 US embargo against Japan that led Tokyo’s fateful decision to go to war rather than face slow, economic strangulation. How many Americans know that President Roosevelt closed the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping to enforce demands that Tokyo get out of Manchuria and China?

Frighteningly, today, there are senior officials in Washington and Moscow who are actually considering a head on clash in Ukraine between Russian forces and NATO – which is an extension of US military power.

Intensifying attacks by Ukrainian government forces (quietly armed and financed by the US) against pro-Russian separatists and civilian targets in eastern Ukraine are increasing the danger that Moscow may intervene militarily to protect Ukraine’s ethnic Russian minority.

A full-scale military clash could begin with a Russian-declared “no-fly” zone over the eastern Ukraine such as the US imposed over Iraq. Moscow’s aim would be to stop the bombing and shelling of Ukrainian rebel cities by Kiev’s air force.

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