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How to punish Putin

Mikhail Kimentyev/Sputnik/AFP/Getty

The conventional wisdom is that the West can’t do much to stop Vladimir Putin invading Ukraine, says Kevin Williamson in National Review. It’s false. In reality, there’s plenty we could do to give the Russian strongman pause for thought. We could start by kicking all non-resident Russians out of the US – in particular the children of the Russian elite who are studying at our universities. “Give them two weeks to pack, and then expel them.” Boris Johnson could “stop allowing Russian oligarchs to use high-end London real estate as a covert bank” – something even the neutral-minded Swiss have managed.

That’s just for starters. How about making US ports off-limits to Russian ships, or indeed any vessels that have docked in Russia in the past year? This would hurt Moscow more than it would hurt us, as “US-Russia trade is far more important to Russia than it is to the United States”. We could deny Russian firms access to American financial and professional services. And given Russians’ predilection for online shenanigans, we could even “cut them off from Facebook, Twitter, Google, and, especially, from the cloud services provided by Amazon, Google, and Microsoft”. These measures might seem extreme. But seizing another country’s territory by force is pretty extreme, too.