Few even question the idea any longer that inflicting suffering on a country’s population is the way to get that country’s government to do what the US government wants it to do. Furthermore, many people’s only benchmark for such inflicted suffering is whether or not it achieves US government goals. From Gary D. Barnett at lewrockwell.com:
“To see others suffer does one good, to make others suffer even more: this is a hard saying but an ancient, mighty, human, all-too-human principle [….] Without cruelty there is no festival.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals / Ecce Homo
Why do powerful governments revel in their ability to cause human suffering in order to bring about a desired political change? The West, led by the United States, has become the initiator and prosecutor of purposeful pain and suffering, and is continuing to advance policies that breed anguish and hardship against the innocent in many countries. These innocent, many of them children, are left starving, left without medical care, and are forced to live in fear due to the horrible conditions placed on them by the western world.
Much of this agony is due to brutal economic sanctions being levied against those countries that do not bow down to the hegemony known as the U.S. The ruling elites are boastful in their support for these harsh policies, as what they claim to seek from these atrocious sanctions is regime change or major policy change by extreme force. But is that the entire story, or do they also find joy in the festival of causing harm to the people of countries they claim as enemies? Do they secretly gain pleasure from this planned cruelty? It seems evident that those implementing this suffering do take satisfaction in their ability to cause pain in order to gain power.
Without much success, the US government keeps ramping up sanctions to bend other nations to its bidding. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:
Sanctions are economic warfare, pure and simple. As an alternative to a direct military attack on a country that is deemed to be misbehaving they are certainly preferable, but no one should be under any illusions regarding what they actually represent. They are war by other means and they are also illegal unless authorized by a supra-national authority like the United Nations Security Council, which was set up after World War II to create a framework that inter alia would enable putting pressure on a rogue regime without going to war. At least that was the idea, but the sanctions regimes recently put in place unilaterally and without any international authority by the United States have had a remarkable tendency to escalate several conflicts rather than providing the type of pressure that would lead to some kind of agreement.
The most dangerous bit of theater involving sanctions initiated by the Trump administration continues to focus on Iran. Last week, the White House elevated its extreme pressure on the Iranians by engaging in a completely irrational sanctioning of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The sanctions will have no effect whatsoever and they completely contradict Donald Trump’s repeated assertion that he is seeking diplomacy to resolving the conflict with Iran. One doesn’t accomplish that by sanctioning the opposition’s Foreign Minister. Also, the Iranians have received the message loud and clear that the threats coming from Washington have nothing to do with nuclear programs. The White House began its sanctions regime over a year ago when it withdrew from the JCPOA and they have been steadily increasing since that time even though Iran has continued to be fully compliant with the agreement. Recently, the US took the unprecedented step of sanctioning the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is part of the nation’s military.
Posted in banking, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Trade
Tagged China, Iran, Russia, Sanctions, Venezuela
The American way of regime change and war hasn’t worked very well the last few decades, which must be why the Trump administration wants to continue using it in Venezuela. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
Is it just a coincidence that TV networks are re-running old ‘Dirty Harry’ films just as a powerful US Naval armada and Air Force B-52 bombers are headed for what could be a clash with Iran? Here we go again with the ‘good guys’ versus the ‘bad guys,’ and ‘make my day.’
Maybe it’s more bluffing? The current US military deployment was scheduled before the latest flare-up with Iran, but the bellicose threats of White House neocon crusaders like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo certainly create the impression that the US wants war.
Adding to the warlike excitement, President Trump just ordered seizure of a large North Korean bulk cargo ship. This was clearly a brazen act of war and violation of international law. More dangerous brinkmanship by administration war-mongers who increasingly appear besotted by power and hubris.
The general answer to the above question: it wouldn’t be good. From Scott Ritter at theamericanconservative.com:
Some 18 million barrels of oil transit through every day. The economic impact would be catastrophic.
U.S. Navy Sailors Assigned to the harbor patrol boat unit off the coast of Bahrain in 2006. (U.S. Navy/public domain)
The effort on the part of the Trump administration to shut down Iran’s ability to export oil is predicated on the false notion that the rest of the world will fall in lockstep with U.S. policy. But has President Donald Trump really thought through what would happen to the economic health of the world if Iran retaliates, shutting the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world’s oil flows daily?
The Trump administration’s push to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero has entered a new, critical phase, with the United States refusing to extend the waivers it granted six months ago to eight nations, including China, India, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea, to purchase Iranian oil. Moreover, the United States has refused to allow for a “wind-down” period where impacted nations would be able to gradually wean themselves away from Iranian sources of energy. This means that, effective May 1, any nation purchasing oil from Iran will be subjected to punitive U.S. sanctions.
Iran has responded to the American decision not to extend oil waivers in typical fashion, with Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command (IRGC) naval forces, warning on April 23 that “if Iran’s benefits in the Strait of Hormuz, which according to international rules is an international waterway, are denied, we will close it”.
The chances that anything good comes from the Trump administration and Israel’s war against Iran are next to nil. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
The world is still reeling in horror from the deadly Sri Lanka bombings that may have been the work of Islamic State madmen. Poor Sri Lanka has suffered so much after three decades of civil war and communal strife. We weep for this beautiful and once gentle nation.
But behind the horror in Sri Lanka, a huge crisis was building up of which the world has so far taken insufficient notice: renewed tensions in the oil-producing Gulf. This is the latest attempt by the United States to crush Iran’s independent-minded government and return it to American tutelage.
The Trump administration has demanded that the principal importers of 1.2 billion barrels of Iranian oil halt purchases almost immediately. This imperial diktat includes China, South Korea, Turkey, India and Japan. The comprehensive embargo is very close to an all-out act of war. In 1941, America’s cut-off of oil to Japan provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Trump’s slithering away from full sanctions on Iran because the US can’t enforce them and it would disrupt the oil market the year before the 2020 election. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
Sanctions on Iran have failed. The weakness of the U.S. position in the oil markets is now complete. Donald Trump’s Energy Dominance strategy has failed.
The announcement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R – The Eschaton) that no more sanctions waivers will be granted to importers of Iranian oil. Those that do so will face sanctions.
But let’s look at what is actually on the table. Waivers will be extended to a year from now during a ‘wind-down’ period. But, I thought these past six months were the ‘wind down’ period Don?
I told you these would get extended the minute they were granted. Because three of these countries — India, Turkey and China — are in open revolt over the policy.
And they have built plenty of infrastructure to get around these sanctions when or if they are ever implemented.
Three of the eight countries granted waivers — Italy, Greece and Taiwan — do not need waiver extensions as they’ve already cut their imports to zero.
Sanctions can impose tremendous misery, rarely lead to the hoped for revolutions, and when they do, often help plunge the recipient nation into chaos. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:
This week President Trump admitted what the Washington policy establishment of both parties would rather be kept quiet. Asked why he intervened to block a new round of sanctions on North Korea, he told the media that he believes the people of North Korea have suffered enough. “They are suffering greatly in North Korea…And I just didn’t think additional sanctions at this time were necessary,” he said.
The foreign policy establishment in Washington, whether they are neocons, “humanitarian interventionists,” so-called “realists,” or even progressives have long embraced sanctions as a way to pressure governments into doing what Washington wants without having to resort to war.
During my time in Congress I saw many of my antiwar colleagues on the Left vote for sanctions because they believed sanctions are more “humane” than war. Neocons and other interventionists endorse sanctions because they know that sooner or later they will lead to war, their preferred foreign policy.
With his characteristic bluntness, President Trump has exposed this big lie. Sanctions are not a more humane alternative to war. They are just another form of war. In fact they are perhaps the cruelest form of war because they do not target the military of an adversary, but rather the innocent civilian population. As President Trump said, they make people suffer.