Tag Archives: Financial warfare

Time for Washington To Stop Sanctioning the World: US Arrogance Leaves Trail of Innocent Victims Behind, by Doug Bandow

There is probably no more counterproductive foreign policy strategy than sanctions, and a lot of innocent people get caught in the crossfire. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

The “Lift Sanctions, Save Lives” network is lobbying Congress to do what it should have done years ago: assess the impact of economic sanctions now routinely applied to ally as well as adversary. Such a review is long overdue.

Economic sanctions have become a new global battlefield. In July Beijing targeted several organizations and individuals, including former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in retaliation for earlier U.S. penalties. In January Beijing sanctioned 28 former Trump administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as the Biden administration took over. In March, after the European Union penalized Beijing for suppressing political liberty in Hong Kong, the Xi regime retaliated against a number of Europeans, including members of the European Parliament.

The Chinese actions had little practical impact – preventing Pompeo and Ross from traveling to Hong Kong is not much of an inconvenience. (Ironically, they deserve to be sanctioned by Americans for their awful performance in office!) Moreover, Beijing’s action, though popular at home, backfired internationally. For instance, the European Parliament effectively killed a pending investment agreement.

Nevertheless, the whining about China’s action is striking. Americans and Europeans declared economic war on the proud, nationalistic People’s Republic of China, and were surprised when it struck back. Who knew that the PRC would dare act like … America!?

Of course, Beijing remains but a babe when it comes to applying sanctions. The US is by far the world’s cruelest and most prolific practitioner of economic warfare, which these days mostly means starving desperate civilians under impoverished dictatorships. Congress appears to be constantly looking for foreign peoples to target, based on the bizarre assumption that if the US punishes civilians already ravaged by civil war, political oppression, and socialist economics, the reigning autocrats will immediately apologize, disarm, liberalize, democratize, and ally with America.

Continue reading→

All along the watchtower: The follies of history, by Pepe Escobar

The US wants to bring China to heel; there’s no way China is going to allow that to happen. From Pepe Escobar at asiatimes.com:

All along the watchtower: The follies of history

Bayon temple, Angkor World Heritage site in Siem Reap, northern Cambodia. File pic by Bruno Morandi, Robert Harding Heritage / AFP
The ultimate American imperial dream is to engineer a Chinese vassal state

There must be some kind of way outta here
Said the joker to the thief
There’s too much confusion
I can’t get no relief

Business men, they drink my wine
Plowmen dig my earth
None were level on the mind
Nobody up at his word

-Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower (immortalized by Jimi Hendrix)

Nothing beats the beguiling, stony smiles at the Bayon temple near Angkor Wat in Cambodia’s Siem Reap to plunge us back into history’s vortex, re-imagining how empires, in their endless pursuit of power, rise and fall, usually because they eventually get the very war they had sought to avoid.

The Bayon was built as a state temple at the end of the 12th century by the undisputed superstar of Khmer empires, Jayavarman VII. Its magical narrative reliefs convey a mix of history and mythology while depicting daily life in Khmer society.

We still don’t know today the identity of the faces shown on the temple’s giant stone carvings. They could be a representation of Brahma, or of Jayavarman himself – a practicing Buddhist. What we do know is that the glorious Khmer empire – incomparable in art and architecture, and even benign in the sense that the mandate for power was based on the king’s relationship with the gods, started to fade after the 15th century, dismembered by war against the Thai and later the Vietnamese.

Continue reading