Sanctions–Ineffective At Best

I have made my opinions on sanctions to my readers….these do little to turn the course of international relations….take Cuba, Iran, China, etc etc….of all our sanctions have we changed anything?

Now with Ukraine and Russia going at it like oversexed hogs….sanctions are once again in the news….and in the news….

But is the world behind our efforts to make change?

Not really.

Looks like the US will have to threaten the world to get them to play along…..

The White House plans to send a clear message to its European partners in the economic war against Russia, “you are either with us or against us.” Two US Treasury officials will visit European and Central Asian partners next month to demand all sanctions on Russia be implemented.

Treasury officials Liz Rosenberg and Brian Nelson will meet with leaders of financial institutions in Switzerland, Italy and Germany. The AP reports the officials will have a simple message, “1. Continue to provide Moscow with material support or 2. Keep doing business with countries that represent 50 percent of the global economy.”

Rosenberg and Nelson will provide their European counterparts with intelligence on alleged sanctions evaders. If those countries fail to crack down on those still doing business with Russia, then Washington is threatening to issue “penalties.” It is unclear how far the Joe Biden administration is willing to punish NATO allies for violating sanctions.

The policy echoes President George W. Bush’s doctrine that countries must either actively align with Washington in its Middle East wars, or else be judged as working “with the terrorists.” 


Is sanctions a type of siege warfare?

In the distant past, the one place that people could escape a marauding army was behind the walls of a castle. Though this usually protected them from any immediate danger, it created problems of its own. While under siege and waiting for outside help or for the attackers to leave in frustration, those behind the walls could ultimately run out of food and even potable water, which would lead either to surrender or a slow, terrible death.

Although they’re never portrayed as such, in our own time, a form of siege warfare is applied to whole countries, usually poorer ones, through the misuse of sanctions.

There are innumerable forms of sanctions: opprobrium, boycotts, embargoes, denial of service, travel bans, export bans, divestment, asset seizures, blockades, censure, and much more.

We have often been told that sanctions like those used against Iraq will eventually lead to the overthrow of governments Western powers don’t like. History doesn’t bear this out. If anything, in countries as diverse as North Korea, Iran and Cuba, sanctions appear to have had the opposite effect, becoming a useful tool for rallying these populations behind their leaders. Just as Russian war crimes are making it more likely to increase Ukrainian resolute resistance, sanctions that hurt average Russians will tend to make them more loyal to Putin and less likely to resist him.

Sanctions as Siege Warfare

Let’s be honest….sanctions are at best…. ineffective.

Now we have the war in Ukraine and as predictable sanctions are our most publicized tactic….(besides the massive amount of monetary support that no one wants to talk about)

Joe Biden’s administration keeps boasting about how successful international sanctions have been in punishing Russia for invading Ukraine. But that boast is increasingly hollow, both with respect to the extent of international unity and the success of the sanctions. Instead of being a success story, the U.S.-led sanctions campaign against Russia is fast becoming another example of a chronically failed tactic.

The administration’s propaganda about widespread global support relies primarily on 2 resolutions condemning the invasion that the UN General Assembly approved, one in March 2022 and the other in February 2023. However, both resolutions were purely symbolic, toothless measures. They did not commit member states to take any action. Nevertheless, more than one-fifth of the UN members, including such key players as China, South Africa, and India, defied Washington’s pressure and cast negative votes or abstentions.

A more graphic and substantive indication of the unwillingness of countries not already in Washington’s geopolitical orbit to join the crusade against Moscow is their refusal to impose economic sanctions. Except for the NATO bloc and long-standing U.S. security dependents in East Asia, the global map is nearly devoid of countries that have adopted punitive measures. Such absence of support throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America is especially striking.

Economic Sanctions Are Simultaneously Ineffective and Cruel

There is nothing now or in the past that illustrates just how effective sanctions are to try and control the situation…..

Hint:  They are far from effective.

And yet they will most likely be more sanctions in the news as the conflict drags on.

Typical War Department waste of time.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


14 thoughts on “Sanctions–Ineffective At Best

  1. I agree. There have been few cases where sanctions have been very effective, but many examples where they have hardened the resolve of those countries sanctioned. Only the poorest people in those countries ultimately suffer, then they become a ‘refugee problem’ for the rest of the world.
    Best wishes, Pete,

      1. Ants and roaches .. same problem .. same solution. Nothing is permanent but somebody has to depress the button on the spray can.

      2. How about simply scum of the earth? Is that better? There is such a thing as human vermin whether we want to admit it or not.

  2. hehe.. love John’s remark there. Reminds me of how that was proposed to end the Vietnam War.
    So, sanctions are at least not a war.. I would think you’d appreciate that, chuq. If not sanctions then what?
    I had a unique encounter the other evening. We have various field supervisors that will come around to our guard posts and make sure we are looking proper for the job and have the right equipment with us. Given the job has a frequent turnover we are not always knowing who these people are when they drive up. They are also required to be armed.. when we aren’t. (no logic in this business). Anyway, one such fellow drove up, comes out of his car, and begins talking to me in what very obviously was an Eastern Europe accent. I asked if he was Ukrainian.. he replied he was Russian. It flashed across my mind that here’s a guy carrying a sidearm who is Russian… and supposed to be my boss on that shift? Nonetheless, we had a great chat as obviously I was overflowing with questions. He’s lived in New York City for 18 years and after a divorce gravitated to the Southwest. His mother still lives in Moscow and has no desire to relocate to America. To make this shorter, he told me that things are very bad over there economically. He hates Putin. As for toting around a firearm..

    “California security guard law also states that you must be a U.S citizen or have a permanent alien status to carry a weapon as a security guard.”
    I did not ask but I would guess he’s a US citizen by now. Nice guy. I didn’t have to kill him with my pepper spray.
    Point being.. from his mouth he says the sanctions are working.. but apparently not upsetting Putin at all.

    1. Sanctions are just a feel good exercise that lets all slide on real diplomacy……the thirst for blood outweighs real work. chuq

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