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Trump Tells the Truth: Sanctions Cause People to Suffer
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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.

Sanctions are meant to make life so miserable for the civilian population that it rises up and overthrows a leader out of favor in Washington. In Iraq in the 1990s, those sanctions cost the lives of a half a million children, but then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright infamously said she thought the price was worth it. But still the people didn’t rise up and overthrow Saddam even as their lives became more and more miserable. So the neocons had to concoct some lies about WMDs and Iraq was invaded anyway. An estimated million more people were killed in that war. So much for the “humanitarianism” of sanctions.

Sanctions often target water supplies, sewage treatment, medicine, food supply and other essentials for civilian life. After the people suffer under the “soft” war of sanctions, though, they most often are forced to suffer again as the US attacks anyway. That was the case in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere. And it may soon be the case for Venezuela and perhaps even North Korea.

In Yemen, sanctions have contributed to the death of some 80,000 children from starvation. Millions more are facing starvation, yet they continue to resist Saudi and US demands that they overthrow their government.

Sanctions do not inspire people to rise up and overthrow their governments. Most civilians suffering under sanctions couldn’t throw out their rulers even if they wanted to – after being impoverished and malnourished for years they are really expected to take on their own government’s military?

I am glad to hear President Trump tell the truth about sanctions. They hurt the powerless in the false hope that the powerful will change their behavior. No new sanctions on North Korea is a good start. Now how about dismantling the inhumane and counterproductive sanctions from Caracas to Damascus and from Moscow to Beirut. Let’s return to a foreign policy of peace and engagement, backed by a strong military for our defense alone.

(Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, North Korea 
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  1. Sanctions affect the ordinary people more than they do the ruling elites. President Trump is right: ‘They are suffering greatly in North Korea…And I just didn’t think additional sanctions at this time were necessary’. Historically, sanctions have preceded war: Athens’s sanctions against Megaran traders, leading to the Peloponnesian War; the Pig War (1906-8) between Serbia and Austria-Hungary, in a struggle that eventually ignited World War One; the oil embargo against Japan in the lead up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
    Ron Paul rightfully says there are those who believe ‘sanctions are more “humane” than war.’ Others who ‘endorse sanctions because they know that sooner or later they will lead to war, their preferred foreign policy.’ Sanctions today, especially against nuclear rivals, for example Russia or China, are leading humanity to towards nuclear Armageddon.
    ‘Sanctions often target water supplies, sewage treatment, medicine, food supply and other essentials for civilian life. After the people suffer under the “soft” war of sanctions,’ their land is militarily attacked as the next step. Sanctions lead to suffering: the pattern of history shows they are also leading to nuclear war.
    https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

  2. Art says:

    I am glad to hear President Trump tell the truth about sanctions. They hurt the powerless in the false hope that the powerful will change their behavior. No new sanctions on North Korea is a good start. Now how about dismantling the inhumane and counterproductive sanctions from Caracas to Damascus and from Moscow to Beirut. Let’s return to a foreign policy of peace and engagement, backed by a strong military for our defense alone.

    “Let’s return to a foreign policy of peace and engagement, backed by a strong military for our defense alone.”

    Hear hear – amen to that. Hurting folks is NEVER the right thing to do! Two wrongs never make a right.

    Sorry for the cynicism – but I fear that Trump is doing a little situational ethics with NKorea. For his personal political gain, he does not want to upset NKorean relations. Nkorea not shooting off rockets is his main foreign policy achievement. He does not want to screw that up.

    Sanctions hurt people.

    Killing electric power in VZ is causing food to root – a little consistency PLEASE!

    Think Peace — Art

    • Replies: @Art
  3. Art says:
    @Art

    Hmm — here is Trump doing VZ the sanctions way.

    A nice article by John Pilger about VZ and Hugo Chaves.

    THE WAR ON VENEZUELA IS BUILT ON LIES

    From deep in the article: as the journalist and film-maker Pablo Navarrete reported this week, Venezuela is not the catastrophe it has been painted. “There is food everywhere,” he wrote. “I have filmed lots of videos of food in markets [all over Caracas] … it’s Friday night and the restaurants are full.”

    In 2018, Maduro was re-elected President. A section of the opposition boycotted the election, a tactic tried against Chavez. The boycott failed: 9,389,056 people voted; sixteen parties participated and six candidates stood for the presidency. Maduro won 6,248,864 votes, or 67.84 per cent.

    On election day, I spoke to one of the 150 foreign election observers. “It was entirely fair,” he said. “There was no fraud; none of the lurid media claims stood up. Zero. Amazing really.”

    ….

    Should the CIA stooge Guaido and his white supremacists grab power, it will be the 68th overthrow of a sovereign government by the United States, most of them democracies. A fire sale of Venezuela’s utilities and mineral wealth will surely follow, along with the theft of the country’s oil, as outlined by John Bolton.

    http://johnpilger.com/articles/the-war-on-venezuela-is-built-on-lies

    Think Peace — Art

  4. SteveK9 says:

    Eventually US ‘sanctions’ will become less and less effective. It was a great discovery by the neocons that they could not only ‘sanction’ a country in its dealings with the US, but could use secondary sanctions to prevent third-parties from dealing with the target country, by imposing penalties on their dealings with the US and the US-controlled international financial system. However that weapon has now been used, and used again and again, to the point that large segments of the World are looking for a way to free international trade from control by the US. Eventually they will succeed, and ‘sanctions’ will no longer inflict the punishment they do now.

  5. anon[620] • Disclaimer says:

    Open-borders LoLbertarianism is a religion of peace!

  6. Let’s return to a foreign policy of peace and engagement, backed by a strong military for our defense alone.

    It’s impossible to “return” to a policy that never existed.

  7. MEexpert says:

    Trump says,

    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.

    Yet he continues sanctions against various countries. Oddly enough, even the military incursions do not attack the military of an adversary but the civilian population, i.e. wedding parties, playing children, hospitals, schools, infra-structure, etc.

    I am surprised Dr. Paul never mentioned sanctions against Iran. The actions or rather the inaction of the US government in the case of Iranian floods is downright disgusting. Shame on us and the rest of the so-called civilized world. This is what “Trump’s Great America” looks like. Not only we are not assisting the drowning people of Iran but we are also preventing other nations from helping with the threat of sanctions against them as well. A nation is represented by the people it elects and we elected Trump.

    Sanctions often target water supplies, sewage treatment, medicine, food supply and other essentials for civilian life.

    This is exactly what the US is doing in Iran, Syria, Yemen, and now in Venezuela. US has come to realization that sanctions are more potent than the military, since its military cannot win any war.

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