Monday, May 3, 2010

US Foreign Policy part 2: Sanctions

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Sanctions are thought to be a diplomatic solution for war. "Oh, let's not go to war, instead let's get them to cooperate by placing sanctions on them." In practical terms, sanctions is what older governments did via blockades, where they would place ships around your harbor to prevent you from any outside trade thereby allowing your infrastructure to crumble with the passage of time.

For example, in 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait, the U.N. imposed financial and trade sanctions/embargo on Iraq to compel them to leave Kuwait, and then to get them to pay reparations and then to disclose and eliminate any WMDs. The sanctions were largely overseen by the US and were used in hopes that if life became uncomfortable enough that Iraqi citizens would overthrow Saddam. The logic here is confounding, hoping that the damage *we* do will be blamed on someone else entirely, with the delusion that it's the leader's fault for bringing it upon them. The results were far more devastating, causing a rapid rise in child mortality rates linked directly or indirectly to the lack of potable water. Shortly after the sanctions were imposed the Iraqi government developed a food program that allotted 1,000 calories per person/day.

So, we destroy their ability to freely trade with others resulting in economic collapse, destruction in sanitation (which we predicted would happen 6 months into the sanctions, and prior to the Persian Gulf War), starve them, prevent adequate medical treatment/access to supplies, and that's only scraping the surface. Hundreds of thousands of children died as a result of this embargo.

Does any of that sound peaceful? It sounds like a war to me, and a recipe for inciting hatred abroad. Saddam was not the "good guy", but destroying his people to get to him isn't a good guy move either.
part 1: Blowback
part 2: Sanctions
part 3: Just-War
part 4: Preventive War
part 5: Declaration of War
part 6: Torture
part 7: Finances
part 8: CIA
part 9: War on Terror
part 10: War on Terror part 2, Suicide Terrorists
part 11: Conclusion


Regina Quentin said...

Okay honestly, I used to pay so little attention to politics that this is all new info. to me. Thanks for the enlightenment.

Wes Hemings said...

Same here, during the 2008 election I got really interested and started learning a lot. I used to think it was incredibly complex, but it's starting to make a lot of sense and I'm seeing the principles now and it's actually very easy, way more simple than I had thought.

Regina Quentin said...

Perhaps one of these days you can explain more about the war to me. I really haven't understood much this whole time.

Wes Hemings said...

No doubt, it took me a while to get a good grasp of what happened there and I still feel like there's blind-spots.

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