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Posts Tagged ‘sanctions’

Murder by sanctions

In foreign policy, sovereignty, war and peace on March 28, 2010 at 9:31 pm

“Look, we need to be honest about this, Iranians are going to die if we impose additional sanctions.” — American Enterprise Institute scholar Fred Kagan.

Tomorrow, foreign ministers of G8 countries will convene in Gatineau, Quebec to discuss “the major issues affecting international peace and security.” High on their agenda is the issue of Iran and the possibility of imposing harsher sanctions against the nation.

According to Canada’s Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, Iran’s nuclear program is of “critical concern.” The Associated Press reported the minister saying he believes it’s necessary to pursue UN-imposed sanctions.

“Unfortunately I believe we are left with little choice but to pursue additional sanctions against Iran ideally through the United Nations Security Council,” Cannon said.

But Cannon, like our own Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, appears to have little concern for the impact such sanctions would have on the Iranian people. Too often, sanctions are viewed as a “peaceful” alternative to war. In reality, sanctions are a means of economic warfare.

Perhaps Cannon is ignorant of the effects of sanctions. Ms. Clinton has no such excuse.

In the 90s, her husband imposed harsh economic sanction against the nation of Iraq — reportedly killing more than a million Iraqis.

Pro-sanction scholar at the American Enterprise Institute Fred Kagan, is aware of the repercussions of such policy. 

“Look, we need to be honest about this,” Kagan said at an April 2009 AEI conference on Iran. “Iranians are going to die if we impose additional sanctions.”

According to AEI, the United States currently blocks “all investment and trade activity with Iran, with exceptions for the import of food, Persian rugs, informational materials, and gifts valued under $100.”

AEI admits that Iran, although host to the world’s third-largest proven petroleum reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves in the world, is vulnerable to sanctions because of its lack of refineries. Iran’s “real plan,” according to the institute, “is to become energy independent.”

Tomorrow, enlightened world leaders try to make sure that doesn’t happen.

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Who do sanctions really hurt?

In foreign policy, war and peace on October 28, 2009 at 12:08 am

We often hear the term sanctions being thrown around by media. Economic sanctions, military sanctions, U.N. sanctions — they’re all perceived as a more humanitarian tool for achieving political ends; with war being the last result.

But who do sanctions really hurt? The rich and powerful government officials residing in their palaces? Or do the actually harm the everyday people in these countries struggling to survive?

Are sanctions a more humanitarian tool than war? I don’t know. But I do know that sanctions, like war, are force.

Imagine what would happen to America if the rest of the world imposed sanctions on us. The result would be great hardship for the American people. And we are a wealthy nation.

Consider this recent statement by AEI resident scholar Fred Kagan and supporter of sanctions on Iran:

“Look, we need to be honest about this, Iranians are going to die if we impose additional sanctions.”

Rebecca Griffin, a writer for Peace Action West’s Groundswell Blog, makes the argument that sanctions don’t work and actually empower the current regime. In her opinion, sanctions create a “sanctions economy” where smuggling is the money maker.

Not only can private individuals take advantage of a sanctions atmosphere, but so too can governments. Griffin argues that sanctions actually serve those in power by increasing their control of an economy and knocking out foreign competition. She also says that sanctions in Iran will inhibit the pro-democracy movement:

“Some people are inclined to take the more punitive route based on their disgust at the Iranian government’s treatment of protesters. While the outrage is warranted, sanctions are a misguided and dangerous response. If we want to support the pro-democracy movement in Iran, we must follow its lead.”

For more of Griffin’s news and views on sanctions, click here.