How Russia Sank American Sanctions

American sanctions don’t work, and the world knows it


Tyranny by teletype (touring a modern-day cargo ship)

An empire can be feared or loved, but they cannot be ignored. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. This is no different for empires as for men on Earth. For decades America has used sanctions and the fear of sanctions to rule the world. To get natural resources and labor, and cut out the competition. Sanctions (née sieges) are a very powerful weapon, one America used so often it doesn’t even register as siege warfare anymore. But sanctions are sieges, sieges are powerful, and now that power is gone. America shot their best shot at Russia and it didn’t work. Now everybody knows that American sanctions don’t work. If anything they make you more powerful.

’Tis best to be feared or loved, and nobody fears American sanctions now, and nobody ever loved them. They’re increasingly just ignored, which is fatal to imperial ambitions. Power resides where people believe it resides, and if people don’t believe in it, it’s gone. Sanctions are just magic spells cast through fax machines. That’s all they are. If people don’t believe in magic, the magic doesn’t work anymore. And who believes in American magic now? As BB King said, the thrill is gone. The imperial power to issue imperious sanctions simply doesn’t exist anymore. They were just ‘shadows on the wall’, a ‘mummer’s trick’. For a critical mass of nations, the lights have come on and the crowds have gone home. An Empire can survive and even thrive on being hated but it’s fatal to be ignored.

The Shitshow

America made a big fucking show about sanctioning Russia, but what do they really have to show for it? By vulgar GDP, Russia’s economy is growing faster than America’s now. By the less profane PPP, Russia has reportedly overtaken Germany. In terms of the real economy of natural resources and heavy industry, Russia is getting good prices and re-industrializing. They have things and they make things, which is what really matters*.

Data from the Imperial Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook, January 2024

Don’t take my word for it, even the Imperial Monetary Fund said Russia experienced “stronger-than-expected growth in



Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at