Russia Responds to Credit Card Cutoff by Turning to China


Assessment: The strengthening of economic ties between Russia and China also bodes ill for the future. If we don’t end up in a world war this week, we will be facing a revitalization of the old Cold War-era ties between two powerful nations that are fundamentally antagonistic to the United States …

As I noted recently, Visa and MasterCard have suspended operations in Russia because, as Visa’s Al Kelly put it, of “Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed.” It is striking, however, that despite a steady stream of “unacceptable events” coming out China, Visa and MasterCard are reportedly still operating there.

“But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many” Daniel 11:44

The rampant human rights abuses China is committing against the Uighurs apparently don’t rise to the level of “unacceptable” for the credit cards giants, apparently because China didn’t have to invade another country to get to them. MasterCard and Visa, however, don’t do huge business in China anyway, because the Chinese have their own credit card system, UnionPay. So in effect, what MasterCard and Visa have done is bring Russia and China closer together. What could possibly go wrong?

Reuters reported Monday that MasterCard and Visa cards from Russian banks will stop working Thursday, and that “some local lenders would look to use China’s UnionPay system instead….The central bank added that many Russian banks plan to issue cards using UnionPay, a system it said was enabled in 180 countries.” That allows Russian citizens to hardly miss a beat, as they will be able to use UnionPay virtually everywhere they used MasterCard and Visa.

Meanwhile, American Express has now joined the “in” crowd, announcing Sunday that it, too, is suspending Russian operations, “in addition to the previous steps we have taken, which include halting our relationships with banks in Russia impacted by the U.S. and international government sanctions.” More business for the Chinese. It would seem that MasterCard and Visa, like so many others, have shot themselves in the foot with their virtue-signaling, and set a disquieting precedent for shutting down the accounts of anyone whose political opinions are disliked by the political and media elites.

Yet obviously their outrage is selective and inconsistent.

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