Friday, June 16, 2017

Sanctions can lead to war

It's true as a general matter that economic sanctions can bring pressure on a country without leading to war. It's also true that our general political culture regards sanctions are a relatively harmless war of pressuring a country that isn't doing what we Americans want. And we don't generally view sanctions as a step toward war. But sometimes they can be.

I'm still bumfuddled by the Senate vote yesterday about sanctions on Russia and Iran. It was hard from the early news reports to tell what they actually about. That's among the few news reports that people were able to find even with the Google machine.

Oh, and there's this:


ThinkProgress generally reflects the corporate Democratic perspective. but they also often do good reporting. Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani reports for them in Tillerson calls for regime change in Iran 06/15/2017, "[Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson was asked on Wednesday whether the United States supports regime change inside Iran. He replied in the affirmative, saying that U.S. policy is driven by relying on 'elements inside of Iran' to bring about 'peaceful transition of that government.'"

Peaceful change? Like in 1953? Or maybe Brazil 2016? What could possibly go wrong?

Matthew Calabria and several co-writers wrote recently in a piece for the Atlantic Council, Bringing Iran Back into the Global Economy Will Bolster the JCPOA 06/07/2017:

Given the absence of bilateral ties, Washington lacks sufficient leverage to push Iran in one direction or another to advance core US regional interests—peace, security, prosperity, and stability. Unless the United States changes course, Iran will continue supporting anti-American aims, turning to European, Russian and Asian sources of investment and trade.

We recommend that the Trump administration issue a general license through the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to allow US banks to complete dollar-clearing transactions for Iranian entities, except for those individuals and organizations on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.

A license for dollar-clearing transactions would signal that the United States intends to go beyond the letter of its JCPOA commitments and honor the spirit of the accord, which promised Iran major economic benefits in return for long-term restrictions on its nuclear activities. Licensing would also undercut anti-US rhetoric from Iranian hardliners who maintain that the United States does not want to improve relations with Iran. Iran has a sizeable young, well-educated and pro-Western population that supports relations between Washington and Tehran. The United States should strive to maintain the goodwill of the younger generation; improving Iran’s economy is crucial to this goal.

Approving dollar-clearing transactions would also facilitate increased trade between Europe and Iran. Generally, the more ties Iran has to international markets and to Western countries, the more willing Iran should be to abide by international norms. If the United States facilitates Iran’s integration into international markets, Iran would have more to lose by violating these norms. Moreover, it would lessen the possibility that the European Union or other countries would lobby to have their currency replace the dollar as the global reserve standard.
I remember in the 1990s when Bill Clinton signed off on a Congressional resolution pushed by warmongers committing the US to a policy of "regime change" in Iraq. And we did it in a few years, even though Iraq had given up its "weapons of mass destruction." Libya agreed to give up their "WMDs" and a few years later we intervened militarily to overthrow the same government and leave violent chaos behind. Oh, and the head of state that made the disarmament deal with the US was unceremoniously murdered in the process. Our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thought that was a big laugh, saying, "We came, we saw, he died." More specifically, he was anally raped with a bayonet and murdered just afterward.

Now Iran reaches a nuclear agreement that goes beyond the Non-Proliferation Treaty - and a couple of years later the Secretary of State declares "regime change" to be our policy there, too. And the Senate passes new Bipartisan sanctions near-unanimously.

Hey, North Korea, have we got a deal for you! Give up your nukes and we'll always be nice to you after that, honest to goodness we will! Pakistan? India? Let's talk about you giving up your nukes!

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