US Sanctions: A Weapon of War on Civilians — End Sanctions Now!

The US uses economic sanctions as a weapon against nations that choose a path independent of US global domination. Sanctions can take the form of blocking a nation’s financial and trade transactions, not allowing financial institutions to process them. The US can also freeze the assets of another country.

Sanctions imposed on a country are weapons of war by other means, a weapon of war against a civilian population. They are designed to destroy the economy of the targeted nation. The US even has increased sanctions in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

US sanctions affect a third of humanity with more than 8,000 measures impacting 39 countries. Economic sanctions can amount to blockades, as against Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran.

Sanctions hurt civilians, especially the most vulnerable – babies, children, the elderly and chronically ill – not governments. Their intent is to cause chronic shortages, deny access to finance, and cause capital flight. The US then blames the targeted government and claims it is responsible in an effort to foment a color revolution or justify “humanitarian intervention”. 

How the US Can Enforce Sanctions Worldwide

US sanctions have both world reach and crippling effect because most trade and currency exchange between countries takes place with US dollars and the allied euro. Since the dollar is the world reserve currency, financial and trade transactions typically go through the US banking system. The US can block, freeze, or confiscate international money transfers for even the smallest transaction. By controlling the international finance, the US can demand banks in foreign countries accept US restrictions or face sanctions themselves.

Iraq In 1996, then-U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright was asked about the death of as many as 500,000 children due to lack of medicine and malnutrition exacerbated by the sanctions, and she brutally replied, “[The] price is worth it.” Democracy Now reported sanctions against Saddam’s Iraq led to the deaths of as many as 880,000 children under five.

Palestine The US-backed Israeli blockade on Gaza was imposed after Hamas won the 2006 election. The blockade effectively bans nearly all exports from Gaza, severely limits imports, and closes the border to exit and entry. The economy has been deliberately destroyed. Almost 6 out of 10 are food insecure, electricity and water supply are sporadic, unemployment is over 40%. Gaza remains a two million person open prison.

Iran The US imposed sanctions after the 1979 revolution. They have caused the death of tens of thousands of Iranians by creating a severe shortage of critical medicines and medical equipment.

Venezuela Obama imposed sanctions in 2015. The Center for Economic and Policy Research found sanctions have deprived Venezuela of “billions of dollars of foreign exchange needed to pay for essential and life-saving imports,” contributing to 40,000 total deaths in just 2017 and 2018. More than 300,000 Venezuelans are at risk due to a lack of access to medicine or treatment. 

Cuba sanctions in place since 1960, and the full-scale blockade on the Cuban people shortly after. Every year since 1992 the United Nations General Assembly has demanded the US end the blockade of Cuba. In response the US has worsened the blockade and called Cuba a “state sponsor of terrorism” in complete absence of facts. Trump added 243 new measures against Cuba, which Biden has kept in place. The blockade has cost this little country tens of billions of dollars.

Syria sanction began in 1979. They worsened after 2011 with the war on the country. The US and European Union sanctions on Syria can freeze the assets of anyone dealing with the Syrian government, regardless of nationality. The main victim is the Syrian citizen because restricting trade and imports means higher prices, less materials, and scarcities for Syrian citizens.

Zimbabwe The US and Britain imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2001 after the government took lands from white settler landlords and distributed it to the people. The sanctions isolated their economy, cut access medicines, economic development loans, and materials for water treatment facilities. The sanctions cause hunger and deteriorating health of the people. By 2016, 4 million Zimbabweans suffered from a lack of food.

North Korea Sanctions began with the US war on Korea in1950. The sanctions, now a full-scale blockade on the DPRK, impede the country from meeting needs of the most vulnerable. UN Security Council and US sanctions have resulted in the collapse of the country’s trade and engagement with the rest of the world. They caused the deaths of 4,000 North Koreans in 2018, most of them children and pregnant women. Today, 11 Million North Koreans lack adequate food in large part to sanctions blocking food imports and aid, fuel, fertilizers, and machinery necessary for agriculture. See The Human Costs and Gendered Impact of Sanctions on North Korea

The US sanctions China and Russia to undermine their economic development and to maintain US control of world markets. The US imposed sanctions on corporations working with Russia to develop gas pipelines to Europe. The action sought to prevent Russia from being the main natural gas exporter to the EU market and to replace it with more expensive US-produced gas.

China After 20 years of war on the Middle East, killing 1.5 million Muslims, and after funding Israeli apartheid against the mostly Muslim Palestinian population, the US speaks of Chinese “genocide” against Muslims, and imposed sanctions. These are on top of tariffs the US has on Chinese exports in order to block China’s development.  

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