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Tag Archives: Sanctions

Iran, Make My Day, Says Trump, by Eric Margolis

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.

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What if Iran Retaliates and Shuts Down the Strait of Hormuz? by Scott Ritter

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”.

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Whom The Gods Would Destroy, They First Make Mad, by Eric Margolis

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.

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Trump Kicks the Sanctions Can on Iran Oil, by Tom Luongo

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.

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Trump Tells the Truth: Sanctions Cause People to Suffer, by Ron Paul

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.

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Real Reason Trump Wants to Ban Huawei: US Wants to Spy and China Won’t Cooperate, by Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Huawei’s technology is for the most part better than its American counterparts, and unlike its counterparts, it won’t let the US government use its technology to spy. From Mike “Mish” Shedlock at moneymaven.io:

The UK, Germany, India, and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries resisting US pressure to Ban Huawei.

The New York Times reports U.S. Campaign to Ban Huawei Overseas Stumbles as Allies Resist.

Over the past several months, American officials have tried to pressure, scold and, increasingly, threaten other nations that are considering using Huawei in building fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, has pledged to withhold intelligence from nations that continue to use Chinese telecom equipment. The American ambassador to Germany cautioned Berlin this month that the United States would curtail intelligence sharing if that country used Huawei.

But the campaign has run aground. Britain, Germany, India and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries signaling they are unlikely to back the American effort to entirely ban Huawei from building their 5G networks. While some countries like Britain share the United States’ concerns, they argue that the security risks can be managed by closely scrutinizing the company and its software.

The United States is not ready to admit defeat, but its campaign has suffered from what foreign officials say is a scolding approach and a lack of concrete evidence that Huawei poses a real risk. It has also been hampered by a perception among European and Asian officials that President Trump may not be fully committed to the fight.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly undercut his own Justice Department, which unveiled sweeping criminal indictments against Huawei and its chief financial officer with accusations of fraud, sanctions evasion and obstruction of justice. Mr. Trump has suggested that the charges could be dropped as part of a trade deal with China. The president previously eased penalties on another Chinese telecom firm accused of violating American sanctions, ZTE, after a personal appeal by President Xi Jinping of China.

One senior European telecommunications executive said that no American officials had presented “actual facts” about China’s abuse of Huawei networks.

The UK, Germany, India, and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries resisting US pressure to Ban Huawei.

The New York Times reports U.S. Campaign to Ban Huawei Overseas Stumbles as Allies Resist.

Over the past several months, American officials have tried to pressure, scold and, increasingly, threaten other nations that are considering using Huawei in building fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, has pledged to withhold intelligence from nations that continue to use Chinese telecom equipment. The American ambassador to Germany cautioned Berlin this month that the United States would curtail intelligence sharing if that country used Huawei.

But the campaign has run aground. Britain, Germany, India and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries signaling they are unlikely to back the American effort to entirely ban Huawei from building their 5G networks. While some countries like Britain share the United States’ concerns, they argue that the security risks can be managed by closely scrutinizing the company and its software.

The United States is not ready to admit defeat, but its campaign has suffered from what foreign officials say is a scolding approach and a lack of concrete evidence that Huawei poses a real risk. It has also been hampered by a perception among European and Asian officials that President Trump may not be fully committed to the fight.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly undercut his own Justice Department, which unveiled sweeping criminal indictments against Huawei and its chief financial officer with accusations of fraud, sanctions evasion and obstruction of justice. Mr. Trump has suggested that the charges could be dropped as part of a trade deal with China. The president previously eased penalties on another Chinese telecom firm accused of violating American sanctions, ZTE, after a personal appeal by President Xi Jinping of China.

One senior European telecommunications executive said that no American officials had presented “actual facts” about China’s abuse of Huawei networks.

Moving Forward, Iran Outflanks the U.S. in Iraq and Beyond, by Tom Luongo

Sanctioning Iran is not going as envisioned and hoped for by the Trump administration. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Iran has successfully navigated the first phase of its resistance to U.S. sanctions pressure. The U.S. State Department has admitted it’s goal of reducing Iran’s oil exports to zero is not feasible.

The goal now is a 25% drop to 800,000 barrel per day. And that is no joke. It’s a big drop from where Iran was looking to produce in the coming years under the auspice of the JCPOA.

The U.S. will not stop until all avenues have been exhausted or Trump fires his current cabinet.

Iran’s total non-oil exports have suffered as well, since gas condensate exports have also dropped along with the crude oil numbers.

But Iran is finding friends in other places. They are currently finalizing a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) with Belarus leading the talks at the 15th meeting between their Joint Economic Committee.

Iran’s non-oil exports, however, are still just one-fifth of their peak exports. Like Russia it is working quickly with regional partners to change that dynamic.

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