Tag Archives: sanctions

Can Economic Sanctions Ever Work?

As the United Nations considers instituting economic sanctions against Iran for its nuclear development program, the United States has decided to end sanctions against the government of Myanmar because they failed to have any impact on that nation. Ironically, Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, backs the American decision to end sanctions and attempt to engage in discussions with the thugs who run Myanmar. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered to continue sanctions for the moment, but “we will be willing to discuss the easing of sanctions in response to significant actions on the part of Burma’s generals that address the core human rights and democracy issues that are inhibiting Burma’s progress.”

In a nutshell, this means, American sanctions are not working because China and India have extensive economic relations with Burma and don’t give a damn about human rights. Sanctions can not work until all major players agree on such a policy. Such is the state of the modern world.

Gulf States Get Tough With Iran

The Gulf States lie in proximity to Iran and are the most concerned regarding attempts to that nation to develop nuclear weapons which could be used to intimidate other countries. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have decided to use the threat of oil contracts, work visas, and other possibilities to persuade China and Russia to agree on tougher sanctions against Iran unless it ceases developing nuclear weapons.

Russian President Medvedev argues, “sanctions are seldom productive, but they are sometimes inevitable. It is a matter of choice.” Medvedev is right, sanctions ordinarily do not work, but there are times when the threat of sanctions can compel nations to alter their actions.

Need To Change Burma Policy?

Senator Jim Webb completed his trip to Burma to secure the release of an obviously mentally ill man named John Yettaw who swam across a lake in order to enter the home of imprisoned Burmese leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi. Although Mr. Yettaw flew away to freedom in America, Ms. Suu Kyi remains under house arrest. Senator Webb had an opportunity to speak with Burmese leader, Senior General Than Shwe. Months ago, President Obama extended a ban on US investment in Burma as part of American strategy of maintaining an embargo on any relations with the thugs who currently rule Myanmar.

Derek Tonkin, who chairs the Myanmar Network, spoke with Webb about his views on Burma. “His view is that sanctions have been harmful. He believes the policy has had the opposite outcome than was intended. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insists improved relations will only occur if Burmese leaders release dissidents.

I have supported the sanction policy, but Jim Webb deserves to have his ideas explored. There is no evidence sanctions have worked so wha tis wrong with examining new approaches to the Burmese government?

North Korea –The Mouth That Roared

North Korea most probably can send an atom bomb in the direction of South Korea or Japan and inflict massive damage. Its army can move over the border and do extensive damage to the nation of South Korea. However, it can not win a war and in the process of initiating one will cause incredible damage, if not destruction, of its own country. Kim Jong Il, leader of the most secretive society in the world, told his military they are doing a wonderful job and should be prepared for action if it is necessary. The UN Security Council has ordered an almost total embargo and strict financial sanctions against North Korea. Pyongyang responded by blaming the “vile product” of American policy as the cause of its problems, and said it was now in the “early phase of all-out confrontation with the US.”

Which Side Of Mugabe Mouth Is Speaking?

Years ago, Zimbabwe had a healthy economy that was dominated by those of European background, but farms produced crops and provided jobs. The solution was to develop a plan for land to be redistributed in an even handed manner in order to ensure those assuming contol of the land could be successful farmers. Instead, President Robert Mugabe embarked on a program to drive out white farmers and replace them with his fellow thugs. The result was economic disaster and three million Zimbabweans have fled the country. Today, Mugabe and former opposition leader, Tenda Biti, proposed a plan based on $5 billion in foreign aid to restore the nation’s economy. Biti insisted there must be restoration of democracy and an end of seizing farms in order to reward Mugabe cronies.

Mugabe, in his best George Bush imitation, does not acknowledge his policies had any part in creating the current economic mess. “I appeal for the removal of your sanctions which are inhuman and unwarranted.” International donors are not going to give money to Mugabe unless he develops a sensible farm policy and ends taking over farms of those who are productive. As Biti noted: farmer “must be given security on their land and a chance to grow their crops.”

Which part of your mouth will speak, Mr. Mugabe? If you don’t end brutality and destruction of farms, sanctions will not be lifted. To do so, is simply an invitation for you and your cronies to become rich.

Russia Warns US To Cease Threats

The Bush administration over the course of the past few years has transformed relations between the United States and Russia from warm to increasingly hostile. Building missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic and extending NATO eastward aroused anger among Russian leaders. Yesterday, the Russian government accused America of undermining cooperation on Iran’s nuclear program after it imposed sanctions on corporations accused of passing sensitive technology to Tehran. “These new sanctions were introduced without any international legal foundation whatsoever.”

Russia is warning the United States if it desires cooperation on action against the Iranian nuclear program, it must cease making unilateral decisions as to what should or should not be done. Under the proposed American sanctions, it would be illegal for business enterprises in the United States to make any agreement with companies doing business with Iran.

Certainly, in such situations, the Russian government should have been officially informed, offered an opportunity to make suggestions about changes, and concern for any problems posed to Russian companies might have been discussed.

Zimbabwe– Cry The Beloved Country!

The first phase in the farce that is known as an “election” in Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe has drawn to a close. President Mugabe who obtained 43.2% of the vote in a March election in which is opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai obtained 47% of the vote, was able to secure an 85.5% of the vote on Friday even though the same percent of people voted as did in March. Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya hit the nail on the head be describing the sham election as a “shame and embarrassment for Africa” and urged the deployment of troops from the African Union to assist the people of Zimbabwe. Another shame was failure on the part of South African president Mbeki to make the slightest effort to assist forces of democracy in Zimbabwe because he did not wish to embarrass his old friend, Robert Mugabe.

The Bush administration is discussing the possibility of sanctions issued by the Security Council but there is a strong chance such action would be vetoed by China. We of this blog call on all American athletes to boycott the Olympics if China vetoes efforts to help the people of Zimbabwe. Let’s send a message to China it must begin behaving in a responsible manner when the rights of oppressed people are at stake. How can one be a Marxist based society and not care about human oppression?

European Union Ends Diplomatic Sanctions On Cuba

The European Union took steps to end diplomatic sanctions against the Cuban regime in order to shift gears into a more effective approach to bringing about change in Cuba. The action created anger in the Bush administration which believes its complete ban on Cuba has somehow resulted in changes that benefit the forces of democracy in that nation. Actually, the EU action is rather limited since it merely lifts the ban on high ranking Cuban officials being able to visit Europe. Benit Ferrero-Waldner, EU External Relations Commissioner, said “there will be clear language also on what the Cubans still have to do–releasing prisoners, really working on human rights questions.” The EU is clear that it still regards the Castro regime as repressive and in violation of basic human rights.

Bans rarely work in the real world. There are some signs Casto’s brother is instituting a few changes that open up the economy and he may well be more receptive to reconsidering his nation’s human rights policy. The more Cuban leaders are engaged with Europe’s political world, the more probable is the opportunity for freedom in Cuba.

A Ship With No Port Of Call In Africa

African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, who will soon become president of South Africa, said it is still too early to impose a blanket arms embargo on the Zimbabwe govenment. He said dock workers in Durban had “correctly” refused to unload a Chinese ship which was carrying arms destined for the oppressive government of President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. The An Yue Jiang is carrying an extensive cargo of weapons but is now wandering along the coast of Africa without a port in which to deposit its cargo. It was finally taken out of its misery when the Chinese Foreign Ministry ordered it to return home.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown bluntly told Mugabe his actions in refusing to release or accept results of last month’s presidential election was “unacceptable” and threatened to call for an arms embargo on any weapons destined to Zimbabwe.

The only way to compel Mugabe to accept the verdict of the people of Zimbabwe is by extensive sanctions and a ban on sending any weapons to that nation. The only weapon Mugabe understands is the weapon of action.

Israel Asks China To Join In Iranian Sanctions–Told No

Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi LIvni asked the government of China to join in the Israel-US attempt to isolate Iran through imposition of sanctions on its government. A spokesperson for the Foreign Minister,, LIu Jianchao offered a negative response to the request. “China has always believed that unbridled use of sanctions should be discouraged in dealing with international issues. We believe a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy to be the best option that would serve the common interests of the international community best.”

Cuba has been confronted with sanctions from the United States government for half of century and that policy has not led to regime change in that country. In modern times, there are so many unofficial ways in which nations can circumvent sanctions, that such an approach to dealing with conflict invariably leads to failure. President Bush and Israel simply will not confront the realities of our global world. Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola are sold openly in Iran, and one can find numerous examples of American manufactured goods being used. Most probably, American companies set up phony front companies in other nations, sell the products to their phony subsidiary and get around sanctions. Israel would be better served by seeking the cooperation of China to work with Iran on the nuclear issue.