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The era of so-called industrial deregulation and globalized free trade, whose icon was the World Trade Organization (established in 1994), has been grotesquely misshaped into an era of restrictive trade, and mean-spirited and often petty recriminations in the form of targeted sanctions exercised mainly by the NATO powers. A strategy once applied with some sense of ethical constraint and purpose, although not so much efficacy, in the cases of Rhodesia and South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in the aftermath of 9/11, has become an ill-considered, go-to, knee-jerk response by lazy foreign policy chiefs of imperial powers. Even this narrative of sanctions history is suspect since it conveniently overlooks the comprehensive economic embargo imposed by the USA on Cuba in 1962 and strengthened in 1996, a crippling constraint on Cuban development ever since, even despite occasional modifications of restrictions. Cuba of course remains a Communist country over 60 years later.

For every action there is a reaction. The slapping-on of sanctions or – as in the case of US pretense of seriousness over “Wuhan Lab” origins of Covid, which has provoked threats of nuclear war by China – the fabrication of pretexts for sanctions provokes counter-productive responses, including import substitution and novel, more aggressive military, and trade alliances. Western sanctions against Russia amidst a two-decade campaign of foolish demonization, have pushed Russia towards China, and western sanctions aggression against both Russia and China may well propel their consideration of a unified, Eurasian first-strike nuclear posture that capitalizes on Russia’s limited-time advance in hypersonic missiles, too late for a return of adults to the foreign policy playrooms of NATO powers.

Sanctions strike hard at the very essence of positive international relationship – trade – and are existentially counter-productive in the long term, except in those cases where the trade itself is self-evidently criminal and undesirable, and deemed to be such by respected international regulators, as in the case of slave trafficking. Several basic principles govern the era of reckless western sanctions warfare that divides the major competing imperial powers and helps consolidate their alliances.

These are as follows: (1) sanctions are mainly imposed by strong against weaker powers; where the disputants are closer to equality, as in US President Trump’s notorious trade war with China -- which appears to have inflicted considerable damage to both parties – they create conditions ripe for global recession, even depression; (2) sanctions may be imposed within democratic structures following democratic protocols as allowed for by the UN or WTO, but for their targets no democracy is required – they are imposed by fiat, only sometimes if rarely challenged in international courts; (3) over time, the targets of sanctions have become more specific, more personal, not infrequently more petty, though not more just, nor less illogical; (4) acquiescence to the sanctions imposed by big powers on weaker opponents is a measure of the loyalty of the empire’s vassals who are expected to imitate imperial sanctions in their own trading domains; (5) while sanctions policies can be relatively benign, even effective in bringing about some desirable change of behavior, they not infrequently induce consequences that are as devastating as military attack and particularly vicious in their impacts on ordinary civilians of targeted countries; (6) sanctions are rarely totally effective, are sometimes counter-productive, and sometimes spiteful, mean and criminal; (7) sanctions regimes are excuses for arbitrariness, cruelty, the lustful seizure of assets, or the blocking of access to the means of self-defense, and other delinquencies of the international “rules-based order” demanded by imperial disorder.

Sanctions are the “gentlemanly” neo-imperial language of gunboat diplomacy, never better expressed than the attempts of the British government in the early 1950s to discipline a newly democratic Iran. First the British Labour Government, then a Conservative government under a splenetic Churchill, tried to put a halt to the runaway popularity of Mohammed Mossadegh, prime minister of Iran, and his policy to shut down the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and nationalize Iran’s own oil. The British sabotaged their own company, refused to distribute the oil, and did everything else they could to impoverish Iran. This was only after the AIOC had refused to budge from its insistence on taking practically all of the profits and to refrain from treating Iranian oil workers as subhuman. Ironically, the British needed AIOC money to finance their own program of industrial nationalization and the welfare state. As is so often the case, the “sanctions” merely hardened anti-imperial sentiment, and were succeeded by a joint US-UK directed regime-change coup d’etat

None of this need suggest a diminution in the importance of national sovereignty. Sovereign nations should be free to trade with whomsoever they choose, to protect which domestic industries they consider worthy of protection. That is their right. They also have the right to enter into trade agreements with others for the purpose of regulating the conditions of trade between them, provided that they enter into such agreements without duress, bribery or punishment.

Questions of Definition

The Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) explains that sanctions have become one of the most favored tools for governments to respond to foreign policy challenges. The term sanctions can refer to travel bans, asset freezes, arms embargoes, capital restraints, foreign aid reductions, and trade restrictions, and represent efforts to coerce, deter, punish, or shame entities that are considered by those who wield them to endanger their interests. They are generally viewed as a lower-cost, lower-risk course of action in calculations that balance diplomacy against war. Yet sanctions can be just as devasting in terms of loss of human life. They may be particularly attractive in the case of policy responses to foreign crises in which national interest is considered less than vital, or where military action is not feasible.

Sanctions that blanket entire populations generally do most damage to poorer and more vulnerable social strata, who lack the means to avoid or compensate for their consequences. The USA has more than two dozen sanctions regimes. Some target specific countries such as Cuba and Iran, others target specific categories of person or institution or even specific named individuals. Sanctions have been used in efforts of counterterrorism, counter-narcotics, nonproliferation, democracy and human rights promotion, conflict resolution, and cybersecurity. They are frequently applied as a form of punishment or reprisal for behavior in which it is alleged that the target has engaged and of which the applying entity disapproves.

In the case of the UN Security Council sanctions resolutions must pass the fifteen-member council by a majority vote and without a veto from any of the five permanent members: the United States, China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The most common types of UN sanctions, binding for all member states, are asset freezes, travel bans, and arms embargoes. The UN relies on member states for enforcement, with all the idiosyncrasies and abuses that this entails. The council-imposed sanctions against Southern Rhodesia in 1966 were intended to undermine Ian Smith’s white supremacist regime and were followed in 1977 by another set of comprehensive UN sanctions against apartheid South Africa. They have been applied more than twenty times since 1990 against targeting parties to an intrastate conflict, as in Somalia, Liberia, and Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

The European Union imposes sanctions as part of its Common Foreign and Security Policy. They must receive unanimous consent from member states in the Council of the European Union, the body that represents EU leaders. The EU has levied its sanctions more than thirty times. Individual EU states may also impose harsher sanctions independently within their national jurisdiction.

The USA resorts to economic and financial sanctions more than any other country. Presidents may issue an executive order that declares a national emergency and invokes special powers to regulate commerce for a period of one year, unless extended by the president or terminated by a joint resolution of Congress. Most of the more than fifty states of emergency declared by Congress remain in effect today. Congress may pass legislation imposing new sanctions or modifying existing ones.

In 2019, the United States had comprehensive sanctions regimes on Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, and Syria, as well as more than a dozen other programs targeting individuals and entities (currently some 6,000). Existing U.S. sanctions programs are administered by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), while other departments, including State, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Justice, may also play an integral role. The secretary of state can designate a group a foreign terrorist organization or label a country a state sponsor of terrorism, both of which have sanctions implications. State and local authorities may also contribute to enforcement efforts.

The practice of sanctions received a significant boost with the formation of the World Trade Organization, which recognizes the legitimacy of sanctions as a response to the failure of parties in a trade dispute to reach agreement on satisfactory compensation. A complainant may ask the Dispute Settlement Body for permission to impose trade sanctions against the respondent that has failed to implement. The complainant’s retaliatory response may not go beyond the level of the harm caused by the respondent. The complainant should first seek to suspend obligations in the same sector as that in which the violation or other nullification or impairment was found, unless the complainant considers it impracticable or ineffective to remain within the same sector The complainant is allowed countermeasures that are in effect and would in other circumstances be inconsistent with the WTO Agreement. In other words, the result is that a complainant responds to one trade barrier with another trade barrier, contrary to the liberalization philosophy underlying the WTO. Such measures are nearly always harmful for both the complainant and the target. Although such retaliation requires prior approval by the DSB 1, the countermeasures are applied selectively by one Member against another. The suspension of obligations is temporary and the DSB is obligated to maintain a review of the situation for as long as there is no implementation. The suspension must be revoked once the Member concerned has fully complied with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings.

In a 2019 decision the WTO allowed China to impose trade sanctions on $3.6 billion of American goods on the grounds that the USA had not followed WTO rules in the way it imposed duties on what it regarded as unfairly cheap Chinese goods. The ruling concluded a case that China brought against the USA in 2013 that stemmed from levies placed on more than 40 Chinese goods. At issue were subsidies that the USA accused China of providing to its companies so that they can sell goods more cheaply overseas.

The case touched on some of the deep politics of neoliberalism for which the WTO is supreme icon, and which make the very notion of sanctions problematic as evidenced in frequent criticisms of the WTO. These are that free trade benefits developed countries more than developing countries; that countries should trade without discrimination means a local firm is not allowed to favor local contractors, giving an unfair advantage to multinational companies and imposing costs for local firms; ; it is important that nations be allowed to assist in the diversification of their economies and not be penalized for favoring emerging industries; free trade is not equally sought across different industries – notably, both the US and EU retain high tariffs on agriculture, which hurts farmers in developing economies; principles of free trade often ignore environmental considerations, considerations of labor equity and cultural diversity.

After 9/11 – still one of the least understood events in modern history – and amidst the subsequent US invasions of the sovereign countries of Afghanistan and Iraq, and de-stabilization of many others (including Libya, Syria, Ukraine), the USA set about disrupting what it deemed the financial infrastructure supporting terrorists and international criminals, (but not including the USA itself). The Patriot Act awarded Treasury Department officials far-reaching authority to freeze the assets and financial transactions of individuals and other entities suspected of supporting terrorism, and broad powers to designate foreign jurisdictions and financial institutions as “primary money laundering concerns.” Treasury needs only a reasonable suspicion—not necessarily any evidence—to target entities under these laws. The centrality of New York and the dollar to the global financial system means these U.S. policies are felt globally. Penalties for sanctions violations can be huge in terms of fines, loss of business, and reputational damage. Sanctions regimes today increasingly impact not merely the primary targeted countries or entities but also those who would do business with such countries or entities.

Questions of Effectiveness

Sanctions have a poor track record, registering a modest 20-30 percent success rate at best, according to one source, Emily Cashen, writing for World Finance in 2017. According to leading empirical analyses, between 1915 and 2006, comprehensive sanctions were successful, at best, just 30 percent of the time. The longer sanctions are in place, the less likely they are to be effective, as the targeted state tends to adapt to its new economic circumstances instead of changing its behavior.

Examples of “successful” applications of sanctions (always judged from the very partial viewpoint of those who impose them) are said to include their role in persuading the Iranian leadership to comply with limits to its uranium enrichment program. But if this was “success,” why then did the USA break its agreement with Iran in 2018? And why was there an agreement in the first place if Iran had never had nuclear weapons nor was likely to produce them on its own account without serious provocation. Sanctions are also said to have pressured Gadaffi in handing over the Lockerbie suspects for trial, renouncing the nation’s weapons of mass destruction and ending its support for terrorist activities. But then, if that was “success,” why did NATO bomb Libya back to the stone age in 2011?

Sanctions that are effective in one setting may fail in another. Context is everything. Sanctions programs with relatively limited objectives are generally more likely to succeed than those with major political ambitions. Furthermore, sanctions may achieve their desired economic effect but fail to change behavior. Only correlations, not causal relationships, can be determined. The central question is one of comparative utility: Is the imposition of sanctions better or worse than not imposing sanctions, from whose viewpoint, and why? Best practices are said to combine punitive measures with positive inducements; set attainable goals; build multilateral support; be credible and flexible: and give the target reason to believe that sanctions will be increased or reduced based on its behavior.

In cases where the targeted country has other trading options unilateral measures have no real impact or may be counterproductive. Sanctions against Russia over Ukraine may have simply helped to push Russia closer to its eastern neighbors, notably China. To bypass sanctions Russia has shifted its trade focus towards Asia. Asian non-cooperation with the sanctions helps explain why Russia was expecting to grow its trade with China to $200bn by 2020. For several countries in western Europe, the sanctions had a double-edged sword. Russia is the European Union’s third largest commercial partner, and the EU, reciprocally, is Russia’s chief trade partner, accounting for almost 41 percent of the nation’s trade prior to the sanctions. In 2012, before the Ukrainian crisis began, the EU exported a record €267.5bn ($285bn) of goods to Russia. Further, US sanctions against Russia increasingly and patently had nothing to do with Ukraine and everything to do with US interest in exploiting its imperial relationship with West European vassal states to grow its LNG (liquefied natural gas) market in competition with Russia, and by doing everything possible to obstruct – and to coerce European nations into helping it obstruct – Russia’s Nord Stream 2 oil and gas pipeline that will bring cheap Russian oil to Europe without passing through Ukraine. The very opposite of principles of globalization and free trade.

The USA can afford to be aggressive in sanctions policies largely because (for the time being, and that time is getting shorter by the day) there is no alternative to the dollar and because there is no single country export market quite as attractive (for now and even then, one must wonder about China) as the USA. Sanctions that are effective in one setting may fail in another. Context is everything. Sanctions programs with relatively limited objectives are generally more likely to succeed than those with major political ambitions. Furthermore, sanctions may achieve their desired economic effect but fail to change behavior. Only correlations, not causal relationships, can be determined. The central question is one of comparative utility: Is the imposition of sanctions better or worse than not imposing sanctions, from whose viewpoint, and why? Best practices are said to combine punitive measures with positive inducements; set attainable goals; build multilateral support; be credible and flexible: and give the target reason to believe that sanctions will be increased or reduced based on its behavior.

Sanctions and Human Misery

Since the early 1990s, the US, Europe and other developed economies have employed sanctions on other nations more than 500 times, seeking to assert their influence on the global stage without resorting to military interventions. Yet military interventions tend to happen in any case suggesting that in some cases the sanctions are intended to “soften up” the target prior to armed conflict). The economic stranglehold of stringent sanctions on Iraq after the successful allied invasion of 1991 caused widescale malnutrition and prolonged suffering, and a lack of medical supplies and a shortage of clean water led to one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern history. Sanctions all but completely cut off the oil trade. Iraq lost up to $130 billion in oil revenues during the 1990s, causing intense poverty to many Iraqi civilians. Prior to the embargo, Iraq had relied on imports for two thirds of its food supply. With this source suddenly cut off, the price of basic commodities rose 1,000 percent between 1990 and 1995. Infant mortality increased 150 percent, according to a report by Save the Children, with researchers estimating that between 670,000 and 880,000 children under five died because of the impoverished conditions caused by the sanctions. Then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright notoriously excused this horrendous slaughter as “worth the price.” During the Gulf War, almost all of Iraq’s essential infrastructure was bombed by a US-led coalition, leaving the country without water treatment plants or sewage treatment facilities, prompting extended outbreaks of cholera and typhoid.

Targeted sanctions can be equally devastating. The de facto boycott on Congolese minerals, for example, has led to the loss of more than 750,000 jobs in the nation’s mining sector. The loss of income resulting from this mass redundancy has had a severe impact on child health in the nation, with conservative estimates recording a 143 percent increase in infant mortality. Despite an international shift away from comprehensive sanctions, this Congolese suffering indicates targeted measures are still not free from ethical quandaries.

Application of sanctions became more popular at the end of the first cold war because previously targeted nations could negotiate for relief with the oppositional superpower. In the succeeding era of greater enthusiasm for sanctions it became clear that they could have dire consequences for civilian populations, and this helps account for increased popularity of targeted sanctions.

Sanctions of Spite: Syria and the Caesar Act

There are many current examples of the murderous horror of the impact of sanctions by “civilized,” usually western powers, especially when their targets are poorer countries such as Venezuela and Syria. Not untypically, some of the behaviors that the imperialists seek to change are themselves the consequence of past imperial aggression.

The secular regime of Bashar Assad in Syria has faced a ten-year existential threat from the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda affiliates, ISIS and other jihadist entities supported by an array of global and regional actors including the USA, UK, and other NATO members, Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE. Whatever the regime’s defects they are at the very least comparable and in some cases dwarfed by those of many of Syria’s opponents in the Arab world. The significance of genuine popular support for Assad, demonstrated in numerous polls, has been marginalized by western mainstream media. The regime’s survival, with air support from Russia and ground support from Hezbollah and Iran, is extraordinary by any measure. Yet the USA has continued to interfere in the affairs of Syria with a view to its continuing impoverishment and destabilization by allowing Turkey to occupy large areas of the north west and populate these with jihadist emigrees; funding Kurdish forces to secure Syria’s oil resources on behalf of the USA, and for maintaining prisons and camps for ISIS supporters, by maintaining its own military bases; and permitting a constant succession of Israeli bombing attacks on what Israel claims are Iranian-backed militia or Syrian Arab Army militia working in collaboration with Iran; and approving further Israeli incursions into the Golan Heights.

Defeat of ISIS and recovery of non-Kurdish areas outside of Idlib by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) took place in conditions of considerable economic challenge, exacerbated by US-imposed sanctions against both Syria and its neighbor Lebanon. This had a corrosive impact on relations among top regime figures. Bashar al-Assad’s billionaire first cousin and richest man in Syria, Rami Makhlouf, complained in early 2020 of regime harassment and arrests of employees. Until then, the Makhlouf family enjoyed exclusive access to business opportunities and monopolies on hotels, tobacco, and communications, partly camouflaged by a philanthropic empire that assisted many Syrians through the conflict. Some $30 billion of the country’s wealth, representing 20% of all deposits in Lebanese banks, was trapped by Beirut’s financial implosion, exacerbated by the unprecedented explosion – possibly accidental, possibly sabotage – in the city’s harbor area on August 4. Syrian businessmen needed Beirut’s banks to conduct business abroad, and to evade sanctions. A regime crackdown on money transfer companies made matters worse by creating a dollar shortage, depriving thousands of families who were dependent on foreign remittances. Before the explosion, purchasing power of the Syrian pound was already worth 27 times less than before the start of the conflict.

Deteriorating economic conditions ravaged Syria’s surviving pretensions to socialist principle. In the first decade of Bashar’s rule, there had been big gains in healthcare in terms of available beds, hospitals, and nursing staff. But by now there were 50% fewer doctors, 30% fewer hospitals. Before the conflict, 90% of pharmaceutical needs were filled by Syrian factories. By 2018 those factories which remained had trouble getting raw materials and replacement parts for equipment because of sanctions. Before the conflict there was improved land irrigation and food security. In 2011, abject poverty stood at less than one percent, rising to 35 percent by 2015. The percentage of those facing food insecurity had fallen from 2.2% in 1999 to 1.1% in 2010. Now, 33% lacked food security. One third of homes were damaged or destroyed, 380,000 killed and 11 million displaced since 2011.

Economic conditions were worsened by ever tightening economic sanctions and US enforcement of the so-called Caesar Act from June 2020 (named after a faked human rights scandal in 2015). The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act sanctioned the Syrian government, including President Bashar al-Assad, for alleged war crimes. The purposes were to cripple Syria for the purposes of regime change, while luring Russia further into the Syrian quagmire. The Act targeted 39 individuals and entities, including the president’s wife, Asma. Anyone doing business with the regime, no matter where, was potentially vulnerable to travel restrictions and financial sanctions. The Caesar Act smeared the Syria Central Bank as a ‘money laundering’ institution and sought to render it impossible for Syrian companies to export and import from Lebanon. It made it difficult or impossible for Syrians abroad to transfer money to family members. The Act contributed to devaluation of the Syrian pound which tumbled from 650 Syrian pounds to one US dollar in October 2019 to 2600 to the US dollar in summer 2020.

The Caesar Act (alongside legal initiatives in Europe designed to charge senior administration officials with war crimes) were designed to stymie reconstruction, hit the construction, electricity, and oil sectors, and cripple the Lebanese private companies that would otherwise lead reconstruction efforts. Sanctions prevented non-U.S. aid organizations from assisting reconstruction. An opposition leader predicted it would result in “even greater levels of destitution, famine, and worsening criminality and predatory behavior” and would precipitate regime change, migratory flight, excess deaths, and youth deprivation. In a climate of regulatory confusion, sanctions often encourage over-compliance. Prospects of reconstruction investment funds from Russian companies were negatively impacted. Blumenthal ascribed responsibility for the Caesar sanctions initiative to a “years-long lobbying campaign carried out by a network of regime-change operatives working under cover of shadowy international NGOs and Syrian-American diaspora groups.” The country had already suffered severe US and EU economic sanctions. A 2016 UNESCO report found that sanctions had brought an end to humanitarian aid because sanctions regulations, licenses, and penalties made it so difficult and risky (Sterling 2020). In 2018, United Nations Special Rapporteur, Idriss Jazairy, observed that sanctions impacted negatively on

“agricultural inputs and outputs, medicines, on many dual use items related to water and sanitation, public electricity and transportation, and eventually on rebuilding schools, hospitals and other public buildings and services, are increasingly difficult to justify, if they ever were justifiable

After 500,000 civilians returned to Aleppo following its liberation in 2016, US sanctions and UN rules prohibited reconstruction. Returnees were allowed “shelter kits” with plastic but rebuilding with glass and cement walls was not allowed because ‘reconstruction’ was prohibited.

In brazen acknowledgment of US support for the HTS terrorists of Idlib, the Caesar Act exempted Idlib province, as well as the northeast areas controlled by US troops and the SDF. It designated $50 million for ‘humanitarian aid’ to these areas. Other US allies pumped in hundreds of millions of dollars more in aid, further exacerbating pressure on the Syrian pound and substantially increasing prices for all commodities in regime-controlled areas.

Syria experts Joshua Landis and Steven Simon critiqued the logic of US sanctions policy, arguing that the:

“best-designed sanctions can be self-defeating, strengthening the regimes they were designed to hurt and punishing the societies they were supposed to protect.”

They recalled the destruction of Iraq’s middle class in the 1990s, when US sanctions killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis:

“Their effect was gendered, disproportionately punishing women and children. The notion that sanctions work is a pitiless illusion.” .

Several European nations (Italy, Poland, Austria, Greece, Hungary) indicating unease with the continuing stagnation of US and EU sanctions policy, restored tacit contacts with Damascus. While the EU was an important source of humanitarian aid for internally displaced people in Syria and for displaced Syrians abroad, it continued to refrain from dealing directly with Damascus or from support for reconstruction efforts, on the grounds of continuing instability.

Conclusion

Under indubitably wise international leadership, acting within a framework of equitable political power among nation states whose sovereignty is sacrosanct, then perhaps sanctions policies might sometimes be strategically appropriate. These conditions clearly do not apply. The increasing weaponization of sanctions is a powerful contribution to a crumbling world order, one that invokes the grave danger of over-reaction by an aggrieved victim, in a context of intense economic and military competition between rival nuclear powers.

Oliver Boyd-Barrett is Professor Emeritus at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, and at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is an expert on international media, news, and propaganda. His writings can be accessed by subscription at Substack at https://oliverboydbarrett.substack.com.

 
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  1. Fox says:

    The first such sanction warfare that comes to mind is the hunger blockade after the Armistice of November 11, 1918. The purpose was to force the post-war German government to put its signature under the “Peace Treaty of Versailles”. Winston Churchill was a strong supporter of securing this signature by this method.

    • Replies: @Leo Den
  2. meamjojo says:

    Conclusion

    Under indubitably wise international leadership, acting within a framework of equitable political power among nation states whose sovereignty is sacrosanct, then perhaps sanctions policies might sometimes be strategically appropriate. These conditions clearly do not apply. The increasing weaponization of sanctions is a powerful contribution to a crumbling world order, one that invokes the grave danger of over-reaction by an aggrieved victim, in a context of intense economic and military competition between rival nuclear powers.

    And? You MAY have described a problem but I don’t see a solution presented anywhere.

    There will always be strong and weak and the strong will always take advantage of the weak. it’s human nature.

    Perhaps we should just drop nukes on countries that cross us instead of wasting time on weak tea sanctions?

    btw: Thanks for the “Conclusion” sub-heading. That meant I didn’t have to read much of your long-winded, rambling, unfocused rant. Authors need to learn to write succinctly here.

  3. MarkU says:

    A comprehensive roundup of the sanctions-based aggression being imposed on the world by the bankster dominated west. I really don’t think the majority of citizens have a clue what is being done by their rulers, nor any idea of the sheer hatred being fostered by those actions. The time for waking up is well overdue, the west has been sucked dry by those same policies (especially the US) and the fall is imminent.

    • Agree: Beagle
    • Replies: @moi
  4. onebornfree says: • Website

    “The increasing weaponization of sanctions is a powerful contribution to a crumbling world order, one that invokes the grave danger of over-reaction by an aggrieved victim, in a context of intense economic and military competition between rival nuclear powers.”

    Fact: “War is the health of the state” [Randolph Bourne]- meaning, the “business” of governments is always war- war on its citizens, war on other nations, it never ends.

    You want governments, you must have wars- its in the fine print you never got to read.

    As such economic sanctions are just another form of warfare.

    The bigger, and more unlimited a government is, the more wars it must start/invent in order to justify its own existence and survive, whether those wars be via sanctions or more “conventional” means.

    The smaller, and more limited a government is, the less power it has to make war on its own citizens or those of other nations.

    Obviously, the US government is way to large, and entirely not Constitutionally limited anymore, therefor more wars via economic sanctions etc. are inevitable.

    Either get used to it- or make moves to drastically reduce the size and powers of the US government. Your choice.

    Regards, onebornfree

    • Replies: @animalogic
    , @Herald
    , @sally
  5. Canada, under Pierre Trudeau, defied the US sanctions against Cuba. Canadians happily vacationed in Cuba while Americans could not.

    His son Justin (Prime Minister since 2015) was born without a backbone. Today, Canada is sanctioning whomever the US tells them to, including Venezuela and Syria, and is holding a Chinese telecom executive hostage at the direction of the Deep State.

  6. Is the guy who wrote this a professor,seriously????

    I got to the part early in the article about china threatening nuclear war and followed the link

    Basically china said absolutely no such thing,some idiot editor in a newspaper said it,after that i didn’t bother

    Why do supposedly intelligent people do this, write hyperbolic nonsense with a link to something not actually from the Chinese government?

    • Agree: meamjojo
    • Replies: @HeebHunter
    , @Anonymous
  7. Why won’t the Herrenvolk, the Exceptionals, leave other countries alone? Acknowledge their independence?

    It may be sad if another country is autocratic, but it’s no business of the American Herrenvolk anyway. That other country is independent!

    It may be ugly, tragic, as in rogue Myanmar. That doesn’t mean the tragedy must be made worse by sanctions. Again, its another country. Keep your snout out.

    And it may be wonderful, beautiful, if it’s autocratic, as Libya was. Free health care and so much else! An autocrat is almost always concerned for the well-being of his people, unlike the sham we call democracy, where getting re-elected is all the rulers care about.

    • Replies: @nokangaroos
  8. So, sanctions are a device of US policy, psychopathic and genocidal, as ever. What’s new? As long as the Real Evil Empire rules the planet humanity is doomed.

  9. @beavertales

    Canada? Oh, that Five Eyes settler regime where they have just barely begun to disinter the Indigenous child victims of genocide, in the archipelago of children’s concentration camps that litter the country. That Canada that never stops blowing its mouth off about its ‘moral values’ and lying about Chinese treatment of its minority peoples. That ‘Five Eyes’ shit-hole.

  10. Invade the world, invite the world. Economic cold war vs. 1/3 of the world’s landmass and population. Seemingly purposeful hollowing out of it’s middle class, the abolition of educational/societal standards to placate the demands of wokeness and the replacement of it’s historical population with an eclectic mix of third world strivers, corrupt east asians and south american day laborers. Oh, and an increasingly debt centric economy.

    The USA is obviously a very prudent country which focuses on it’s own long term survival first and foremost. I expect it to do quite well in the coming years.

    • LOL: bayviking
    • Replies: @Fred777
  11. GMC says:
    @beavertales

    My good friend in Canada says that it seems to be a “BioSecurity Fascist State” forming also. And it’s not against Cuba , it’s against the populace of Canada. Worse than anything in the US.

    • Agree: Peripatetic Itch
  12. @alwayswrite

    Because they are not intelligent, and the myth of western (((metiocracy))) was already busted.

  13. Anonymous[174] • Disclaimer says:
    @alwayswrite

    I got to the part early in the article about china threatening nuclear war and followed the link

    Basically china said absolutely no such thing,some idiot editor in a newspaper said it,after that i didn’t bother

    Whatever Xinni the Pooh is paying you, he’s not getting his money’s worth.

  14. @beavertales

    Maybe,maybe not…strength in numbers still applies,and NATO,five eyes,
    EU block type developments seem to be working,or at least holding it’s own.
    A turf war on a global scale with some days,months and years better than others.
    Would you rather favor a hot war,without trade,environmental considerations and
    no pretense of humanity ?Caution when propagandizing…or not?

  15. The increasing weaponization of sanctions is a powerful contribution to a crumbling world order, one that invokes the grave danger of over-reaction by an aggrieved victim, in a context of intense economic and military competition between rival nuclear powers.

    Mmm … yes, but it won’t come to MAD b/c sanctions.
    You have failed to show where a trigger might occur for such a grave step.

    The main problem in today’s world is zio-freemason UKUS/5 Eyes trying to exert global dominance by force, incl sanctions, as they have nothing else to offer.
    They are failing internally as their followers (eg EU) also are.

    Some will break with the diktats of the Mad Dog, eg Germany/gas pipeline, and their influence will inevitably decline still further.
    It is to be hoped that the “free west” (lol) does not entirely collapse into chaos before sense prevails by casting off zionism & entrenched interests like MIC etc.
    Many countries have millennia histories to revert to, but not Mad Dog USA …
    Will their Constitution be enough … perhaps …

  16. @onebornfree

    The US Gov’s & Elites are international criminals. It’s up to the US people, upon which the constitution exists, to liquidate that Gov’ & elites.
    Failure to perform such a revolutionary task will likely be the destruction of the bulk of humanity.

  17. John Hagan says: • Website

    Could there be no more a difference in diplomatic skills and policies than that of Peter Paul Rubens and with the current crop of US state department diplomats. Rubens led embassies for Isabel Clara Eugenia and Philip IV due to his fame and linguistic prowess with his perfect command of Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch and Latin. He could also paint. In such times starving common folk to engineer regime change was not considered moral or Christian. Rubens was knighted by both kings, the English and the Spanish.

    • Thanks: RichardDuck
  18. @beavertales

    Young Trudeau is indeed “Justin time” for doing nothing and the other character is Jason –in the West. Trudeau and Freeland have Cnnada at 1 Trillion Debt and Jason in West has Debt at 100 Billion ballooning from 0 in 2004. Debt Counts DC in Action and Justin looked scared when talking to Poroshenko —and it was not the chocolates. Something about Justin —-it comes from his bohemian mother dallying around with Mick Jagger in the Big Apple while Pierre was home tending to the kids. Will USA give preferential Privilege to Canada and provide 1-2 Trillion to wipe away the excess of crazy spending —or will Canada provide troops to liberate the Ukraine —??

  19. Fred777 says:
    @Tom Marvolo Riddle

    America’s oligarchs are doing very well, that’s the important thing.

  20. “Then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright notoriously excused this horrendous slaughter as “worth the price.”

    How else would the grotesque cow get extra rations to fill her bulging belly?

  21. Herald says:
    @onebornfree

    You are conflating the rest of the world’s governments with the that of the US. There is only one real problem government and that is the US. It continues to foster corrupt dictators throughout the world, while it stamps on any government that dares to put its own people above the interests of US oligarchs.

    • Agree: Ann Nonny Mouse
    • Disagree: Bro43rd
    • Replies: @onebornfree
  22. @Ann Nonny Mouse

    – The situation in Myanmar is the direct result of of the Rohinndjah troubles
    cooked up by the Usual Suspects to deny the Chinese harbor facilities in Arakan.

    – What the author neglects to mention is the US are just as afraid of their beloved allies
    (who are getting fed up with getting reamed by a syphilitic bully for no good reason).
    So as long as the sanctions hurt Europe (read: Germany) and Japan more than the US
    (which, due to proximity, they cannot fail to), everything is real jake and by no means unintentional.

  23. Z-man says:

    The one ‘country’ that deserves sanctions 24/7 is never sanctioned. Maybe the writer is an agent for that ‘country’ or just inadvertently made the case for this most artificial of nation states. Of course I’m talking about The Zionist Entity, the land of Shmuly, Iz-ra-hell.
    BDS NOW!!!

    • Agree: Badger Down
  24. sally says:
    @onebornfree

    i think reducing the size of all powerful nation state governments is the plan.. .. splinter them, replace their leadership with yes puppets, and then divide the people inside and out of the nation state by binary strategies
    (abortion/no abortion, democrat/republican) seems to be the plan of the global Oligarch.

    Never has the Oligarch concerned himself with the plight of those the nation states govern.. The problem in this world is the nation state system.. It lends itself to external control.

    Sanction is designed to cause unrest within the sanctioned nation state.

  25. Lee says:
    @beavertales

    Bea said:

    Canada, under Pierre Trudeau, defied the US sanctions against Cuba. Canadians happily vacationed in Cuba while Americans could not.

    The United States embargo against Cuba prevents American businesses, and businesses with commercial activities in the United States, from conducting trade with Cuban interests. Canada does as it sees fit regarding Cuba.

    Nonsense,thousands of Americans vacation in Cuba every year and some like myself never made an effort to hide this fact when returning to the US. In years past, US Customs would ask about Cuban cigars but since the best of this industry has died off or moved off the island they don’t even bother with that anymore.

  26. @meamjojo

    No country has “crossed” you except by existing while refusing to be part of your Anal Empire. In the long term, the Anal Empire is doing a favor on the countries it imposes sanctions on because the less association with you the better.

  27. Anonymous[661] • Disclaimer says:

    Sanction Israel.

    • Replies: @anon
  28. Leo Den says:
    @Fox

    On the bright side, the Jewish Elite, who are wagging Western politicians, are leading the Empire to its death.

    http://biblicisminstitute.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/israel-the-scourge-of-empires/

    • Replies: @nietzsche1510
    , @Fox
  29. The democrats and republican rino’s impose human misery on the American taxpaying public. Notice how they haven’t the slightest problem in keeping the U.S. borders open to criminals of every kind, how they scrap good projects that eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs in order to serve some kind of ideal whose worth is never proven(defunding the police, certain environmental goals, certain educational goals, systemic racism and on and on.

    The question is always about serving the agenda over serving the people of the U.S. This is the worst administration in the last seventy years to stubbornly, even criminally, insist on these things. Harris has simply announced that she is “unapologetic” for not taking care of border issues and Biden has simply stated that issues that Republicans want to debate with the democrats on have “hit a brick wall”. Imagine the charges of arrogance and even criminality that the phony press and democrats would have waged against Trump’s administration had they simply acted this way.

  30. Sanctions strike hard at the very essence of positive international relationship – trade.

    U.S. economic sanctions are insulting, provocative, corrosive and largely ineffective. However, trade is hardly the essence of positive international relationship.

    Claude Frédéric Bastiat was simply wrong. If instead of his special pleading, he had said, “When soldiers cross borders, goods will not,” then he might have come nearer the truth; but Bastiat instead reversed cause and effect, which is why ideologically committed free traders continue to celebrate his ill-supported, ahistorical epigram to this day: “When goods do not cross borders, soldier will.”

    Britain traded massively with Germany right up until Britain attacked Germany in 1914. Germany traded even more massively with the Soviet Union right up until Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941. Were it not for Japanese trade with China, the Mukden Incident that, in 1931, opened the conflict that developed into World War II in Asia—well, it probably would not have occurred. In short, the trade premise that underlies your article needs to be revisited.

  31. You realize sanctions hurt the home country as well. The family dairy farms were decimated by the Russian sanctions. They’ll never come back from it. Russia is putting on their on dairy farms. Many farms where I live now have Indian or black subdivisions on them. Wonder how many farms Bill Gates picked up due to financial pain induced by sanctions? Its kind of win win for globalists and their political whores? So sanctions will only go away when you screw the international rich, or turn them away from their paid for political hacks. Anyone have a plan?

  32. onebornfree says: • Website
    @Herald

    “You are conflating the rest of the world’s governments with the that of the US. There is only one real problem government and that is the US.”

    This “just” in:

    “Because they are all ultimately funded via both direct and indirect theft [taxes], and counterfeiting [central bank monopolies], all governments are essentially, at their very cores, 100% corrupt criminal scams which cannot be “reformed”or “improved”,simply because of their innate criminal nature.” onebornfree

    “Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders, administrators and beneficiaries from those of a professional-criminal class.” Albert J. Nock

    “Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure” Robert LeFevere

    “Regards” onebornfree

  33. Leo Den says:
    @meamjojo

    Bet you wrote that from the comfort of a stolen Palestinian home in APARTHEID I-s-r-a-h-e-l-l after SNIPING some Palestinian kiddies.

    WARNING: Graphic Images

    http://bit.ly/2CUicmZ

    • Troll: meamjojo
  34. bayviking says:

    Sanctions is war. US wars are always cloaked behind our alleged love for democracy and freedom, but alleged friends beginning with Saudi Arabia and impacting every country South of our border, prove we are liars, interested only in preserving the best interests of our wealthiest citizens.

    The purpose of US foreign policy is to enhance the profits of global US Corporations regardless what the consequences are to local targeted populations. The US has extraordinary power over the EU, but the Russian pipeline is evidence that EU support is cracking.

    Shame on the USA for failing to respect the national sovereignty of other nations big and small. Our constitutional form of government is not a model example of the fruits of democracy and freedom, as both are crippled by original design, for profit prisons and schools, toll roads, and the moral hazards imposed by misguided religious fanatics who impose their will on a disinterested public.

  35. Thank’s so much Oliver for this thorough description of the current sanction regime, it’s origins and it’s extension. I am generally aware of the sanctions imposed by the US and the UN but I didn’t realize the Europeans were doing it to such an extent.

    My own position is that sanctions is a barbarian behavior reflecting huge weaknesses in international law.

    Applying sanctions is barbarian because it’s about equivalent to the ancient laws where the whole family or even tribe was punished when a member of that clan was in conflict with other clans. Those practices still existed a few centuries ago when Western nations were civilizing and grabbing the rest of the world for their own benefit. Isn’t strange that the civilized countries now work by the same tribal rules they once condemned.

    The West now as before in the time of the Crusades disguises its self-serving foreign policies behind a veil of morality or simply it exploits the naivety of the working people and instills fear and hate in the heart of their populations through propaganda.

    As more is known of the wars of the last century one can no longer trust the morality behind Western foreign policies. Sanctions is a new form of warfare.

    Sanctions are made possible by the web of government agencies connected by the Internet. That web is out of the control of international law.

    All of that is very similar to the behavior of gangsters taxing countries and people. The parents don’t take care of their children; That’s an analogy meaning moral values are no longer there to guide us. The Catholic church is silent…

  36. Winston Churchill was a great one for blockades. Churchill, the MoFker is responsible for 5 million deaths. During the 2nd World War he shipped grain from India to Britain and left the Indians to starve. Five million Bengalis and east Indians died of starvation. Let’s hope when the tide turns all this is forgotten and forgiven.
    The war against Japan was instigated by blocades.
    The war against Iran is the next.

    • Replies: @Dr. Charles Fhandrich
  37. anon[161] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Yes, sanction and

    DEFUND
    ISRAEL

  38. Blade says:

    Syria policy has nothing to do with oil or Assad being a dictator. It is a continuation of Israel’s policies. The whole purpose of these wars is to establish an independent Kurdish state so that the pressure on Israel could be reduced and states in the region could be destabilized. While the US was busy trying to fight Israel’s wars in ME, China has become a strategic threat with no signs of slowing down the process of overtaking the US as the dominant superpower of the world. Despite all the damage these policies have caused, even the so-called conservatives in the US keep repeating nonsensical ideas like “Kurds deserve a state.” Not realizing that there is no such thing as “deserving a state” or that this just a zionist project that offers nothing to the US.

    Regarding China, sanctions should be used more not less, unless the US wants to be the secondary power. However, they are not needed with other countries. In ME, the US should wash its hands off Israel and let the most moral army of the world protect their own country. That country is a huge liability and problem for the US, it offered the US nothing other than selling American military secrets and earning 1.5 billion Muslims’ disdain. To counter Russia and Iran, the US should double down on cooperating with Turkey, increase investments and military support so that Turks can be more active in Central Asia and Afghanistan as well. This is the smartest and the most efficient way for the US to achieve its goals in Asia and ME. Which would be slowing China’s growth, Russia’s creeping in the South, and Iranian activity in Arab ME.

    However, the US basically does the opposite of everything it should. Turning neutral/unfriendly with Turkey is one of the dumbest things the US foreign service could do, considering the fact that Turks are the historical enemies of all three of China, Russia, and Iran, and they did exactly that? Why? For Israel whose feelings were hurt by Erdogan of course. Currently, the US government is a hostage to vocal minorities and interest groups. Therefore, its relative decline will not stop unless actual Americans with no double allegiances step up and take back their government.

    • Replies: @James100
  39. @Rev. Spooner

    True. He struck me as essentially a coward, not having much in common with the many brave Englishmen throughout history. The story is told that as a young soldier some primitive attacked him with a stick and he simply shot him on the spot. That always kind of bothered me. Maybe it was a heavy stick, who knows? He had other traits that seemed to mark him as simply an entitled buffoon with a lot of phony bravado..

  40. What a joke, there are no nukes. We faked it in 1945, and many others have been faking it since then. Same with space, we faked the moon landings. Other fake it also. There are no satellites, the Space Station is filmed in a movie studio, MANY vids have exposed all of these, and books, and former employees. But to keep the inflated defense budget and gravy train going, they have to invent enemies. They never should have been an ally with Stalin then, he murdered 20-30 MILLION BEFORE WW2. China murdered more. Why didn’t we fight them then?

  41. @meamjojo

    Ideally the strong follow the “Noblesse Oblige” fused with Nietzschean Ubermensch:
    Keep the weak out of the way of the strong, and protect them when necessary, ensuring a stable environment for the strong of many different strengths to rise and prosper.

    Human nature is also civilization, and our current Hi-tech barbarisms hurt America, in body and soul (as it would anyone else doing such things), crippling its existence further as it shambles along as a host for parasites and demons.

    The issue with sanctions is, simply, the issue with bothering others at all: One shouldn’t do it. If one IS going to do it, then one better have a good reason and go all out. The other is, of course, principles: If Sanctioning for X, then sanction everyone equally for X, and do it on an independent level. An America with morals would say, “Well, we hate all evil, so we are no longer trading with any country in existence” OR “Well, we have disagreements with this country, so we are long longer dealing with them, but that’s our personal decision, and not a choice we make for the rest of the world or else.

    The honesty of violent total war would be more acceptable, as it would resolve the issue of our intransigent Oligarchic Republic fairly rapidly, besides being more honest.

  42. moi says:
    @MarkU

    Imminent? Hell, it’s all but over for the US.

    Shalom!

  43. @Leo Den

    Only the Empire? The whole West is their target. Then the road to the New World Order centered in Jerusalem will replace it.

  44. James100 says:
    @Blade

    What gives America the right to slow China or Russia or anyone elses growth that is the kind of thinking that has led to millions of deaths around the world. Why doesn’t USA worry about its own citizens and leave kthers to develop as they see fit.

    • Replies: @Blade
  45. nsa says:
    @beavertales

    Canada is a pathetic amelikan colony, selling their resources cheap in return for being allowed to have a few crappy hockey teams and access to degenerate amelikan entertainment. The Brits tell them to murder white Germans, they do it. The Americans tell them to murder Afghans, they do it.
    No national identity. No self-respect. No sense of manhood or decency. Sometimes canucks do a little rogue murdering on their own. Recently a mass unmarked grave containing the bodies of a couple hundred Indian kids was located in Kamloops, with indications there are hundreds more atrocity sites dotted around the ten provinces. Apparently the handiwork of the local catholic church at one of their residential schools, more aptly described as priestly pedo brothels. Even a backwater like Kamloops must require death certificates, but none can be located. Trudie, being a member of the pedophilic cult, had great difficulty explaining away the murder of a couple hundred kids, probably after being repetitively queered by the priests. Nothing to see here. Canada should just apply for statehood for all ten provinces, saving the yanks the trouble of invading the place when resources get tight around 2050. They would fit right it

    • Thanks: RichardDuck
  46. Blade says:
    @James100

    Whatever gives China the right to sanction Australia or jail Uighurs, and whatever gives Russia the right to invade Crimea or Georgia. In another word, nothing other than might to do so.

    • Troll: Mulga Mumblebrain
    • Replies: @Avery
    , @Mulga Mumblebrain
  47. Interestingly, Prof. Boyd-Barrett doesn’t discuss the aspect of sanctions that operate against the civilian populace of a country as constituting crimes against humanity as outlined in the charter that allowed for prosecution of such offenses in the Nuremburg trials.

    • Replies: @Mulga Mumblebrain
  48. The significance of genuine popular support for Assad, demonstrated in numerous polls, has been marginalized by western mainstream media. The regime’s survival, with air support from Russia and ground support from Hezbollah and Iran, is extraordinary by any measure.”

    Ahhh, the ‘regime’s’ ploy…

    Well, as long as soldiers are willing to die for the US regime, we’re good, right [or left, might you be inclined otherwise…].

  49. Zina says:

    The US government is a menace to all, including the US population. All US presidents are war criminals, and sanctions are only one aspect of their endless criminality.

    • Agree: bayviking
  50. Beagle says:

    Sanctions are the modern day adaptation of siege warfare. It’s essentially a ‘starve them out’ approach to foreign policy. Theoretically, one presumes, the goal is to cause enough instability to harm the targeted regime. But I can’t think of a single time they have succeeded at anything but causing mass suffering to those at the bottom of the power pyramid.

    In the case of sanctions on Iraq and the subsequent corrupt Oil-For-Food Program, the sanctions became a vehicle to transfer billions of dollars to oligarchs and their pet politicians — as usual.

    • Replies: @Mulga Mumblebrain
  51. lydia says:

    Israeli Aircraft Hit Hamas Underground Facilities in Gaza Strip Early Today
    689 views•Jun 9, 2021


    The Growling Force
    22.4K subscribers

    Israeli aircraft hit Hamas underground facilities in the Gaza Strip early Thursday after a rocket fired at southern Israel was shot down in the first such attack since Israel and Enemy groups in the coastal enclave fought a vicious two-day battle last month.

    45 minutes ago

  52. Avery says:
    @Blade

    {whatever gives Russia the right to invade Crimea or Georgia. }

    Crimea: Russia did not, quote ‘invade’ Crimea: Russia reclaimed what belonged to Russian Federation, when Soviet soft-Dictator “gave” it to Ukrainian SSR, without asking the people of Crimea.
    People of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to re-join Mother Russia.
    Done.

    Georgia: Georgian military – under orders of CIA agent Saakashvili – launched an attack on Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia killing several. Russia responded to the attack and chased the NATO trained and NATO equipped Georgian invaders back to Tbilisi. South Ossetia was liberated.
    Done.

    • Agree: Mulga Mumblebrain
  53. @Beagle

    The Oil For Food system worked well in Iraq keeping the Iraqis from starving. It was the other sanctions, on medicines, health products, water treatment equipment etc, that killed over one million deliberately. A typical Imperial genocide, one that the Pentagon controlled and studied intensively, particularly the spread of water-borne diseases, throughout. ‘American Moral Values’ and devotion to ‘Human Rights’ at their finest.

    • Replies: @Beagle
  54. @The Alarmist

    And, according to the filthy Morrison Quisling regime in Austfailia, murderous US economic sanctions are NOT ‘economic coercion’, but China refusing to buy Australian products, is! As a Chinese diplomat wisely observed, the Australian regime sees China as a milk-cow, to be milked for all its worth, THEN slaughtered.

  55. @Blade

    What a brainwashed moron! Austfailia sanctioned China first, refusing Huawei permission to establish a 5G network, a plot by the Five Eyes racist colonists. Later the Austfailian capo, Morrison, demanded an ‘investigation’ of the CoViD19 outbreak, in China ONLY, and with ‘..weapons inspection powers’. All the way, over ten years, it has been Austfailia, a degenerate, racist, running-dog of the USA, on the offensive, and China replying. If a little rabid cur thinks that it can get away with biting the elephant’s ankles, it is insane. And China only gaols terrorist Uighurs or common criminals. Uighur, Han, Hui, etc.

    • Replies: @Avery
  56. Beagle says:
    @Mulga Mumblebrain

    I’m not surprised you missed the systemic corruption in the UN OFF Program. Major media played down the scandal and ran out the clock.

  57. Avery says:
    @Mulga Mumblebrain

    Poster [Blade] is deliberately misrepresenting what ‘sanction’ implies.

    In the case of China and Australia*, 2 countries are having a trade dispute.
    Australia started it and China eventually responded.

    In the case of sanctions, a 3rd, uninvited country (US) is involving itself in the mutually agreed trade deal between 2 other countries, in this case Russia and Germany.
    US is ‘sanctioning’ (what a joke) various German companies/entities and Russian companies/entities to prevent a mutually beneficial (for Germany and Russia) enterprise from completion (Nord Stream2).

    { If a little rabid cur thinks that it can get away with biting the elephant’s ankles,}

    The countries of the Anglosphere (UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) having ruled and looted** the world for 300-400 years, can’t accept the fact their long rein is coming to an end. China today is not the China of yesteryear when Anglosphere forced her at gunpoint to push opium on her own people (!).

    The Dragon of today has very sharp teeth & claws and can spew radioactive fire from her maw.

    _______________________
    * in the case of Australia – a loyal attack dog of its master US – on orders from US, even though it may hurt the consumers in Australia.

    **
    [How Britain stole $45 trillion from India. And lied about it.]
    https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2018/12/19/how-britain-stole-45-trillion-from-india

  58. Fox says:
    @Leo Den

    We can learn from this that certain forms of “Democracy” cannot be entrusted with responsible, farsighted politics.

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