Business Community Gives Putin Green Light in Ukraine

| Fri May 2, 2014 12:24 AM EDT

It appears that doing anything to interfere with Russia's latter-day Anschluss of eastern Ukraine doesn't meet with the approval of the Western business community. It might cut into profits, after all. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Several of the biggest names in German business—including chemical giant BASF, engineering group Siemens AG, Volkswagen AG, Adidas AG, and Deutsche Bank—have made their opposition to broader economic sanctions against Russia clear in recent weeks, both in public and in private....Many of Germany's largest companies have substantial Russian operations, built in some cases over decades, and worry that tough economic sanctions would rob them of a key growth market when their home market—Europe—is stagnant.

.....U.S. companies, which have less at stake in Russia compared with their European competitors, are expressing their concerns about further sanctions more privately with the Obama administration. American companies have stressed in Washington that proposed sanctions on broad sectors of the Russian economy, if pursued unilaterally, would cause Russian state-dominated industries to back out of deals with U.S. firms and open the market to competitors from Europe and elsewhere.

....Italy and Greece also have resisted a more aggressive response because of the potential impact on their economies. Some of Washington's closest military allies, including Japan, Egypt and Israel, also are cautioning the Obama administration against taking steps that could permanently rupture Mr. Putin's ties to the West, according to Asian and Middle East officials.

Vladimir Putin must be laughing his ass off. I'm sure he's pleased to know that he's now got a free hand.