Economic Sanctions Are a Global Curse

A World Regressing Beyond Repair

Hossein Askari

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Political leaders in the United States have touted economic sanctions as less costly and more humanitarian than wars to affect the objectionable policies of an adversary. I beg to differ.

Prolonged sanctions can inflict pain, physical destruction and death, disrupt global supply chains, force sub-par and costly restructuring of the global economy, reshape global alliances with fallout that can last much longer than most conventional wars. It is a Neo-colonial instrument available to an exclusive club of two or three economic powers who also have a strong military to enforce their will. The United Nations and the global community must rein in sanctions before the world becomes fractured and adversarial beyond repair.

For America, sanctions are a silent weapon with little visible and immediate hardship. No soldiers going to war or shedding blood. No horrific images on TV screens. A sanitized war! The U.S. is seen as doing ‘something’ to take on an adversary. It is a weapon that the U.S. can use more than any other country because it has the biggest economy with the deepest financial sector and the dollar as the global currency for asset accumulation and trade. It is a weapon which can have dire and unknown fallout for many years to come.

A brief look at Iran, Venezuela and Russia may shed some light on some of the results of sanctions. The U.S. has sanctioned Iran longer than any country except Cuba, more heavily than any other country, including cutting off all its financial institutions from SWIFT (the international financial network), sanctioning the office of its Supreme Leader, its Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), all foreign investments, exports of its oil, gas and oil products, imports of all military equipment, of commercial aircraft and parts, exports from the United States, and imposing secondary sanctions on entities and countries who help Iran evade sanctions. Iranians have suffered shortages of life-saving medicines. This undeclared war on Iran has gone on for over 40 years with no positive result for the United States.

The fallout of sanctions on Iran have reverberated around the world. This is most visible in the availability and price of natural gas (piped and liquefied), oil and petrochemicals. Iran is the logical competitor to Russian piped gas to Europe. The possibility of Iranian piped gas for Europe and expanded liquefied natural gas (LNG) output was…

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Hossein Askari

MIT engineer-economist. Prof: Tufts, UT-Austin, GW. IMF Board. Government-Mediator Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait. Econ-Finance, Oil, Sanctions, Mid-East, Islam.