Economic sanctions lead to the mass death of the most vulnerable

From the excellent Philip Giraldi, writing in the Unz Review on the devastating and counterproductive effects of sanctions. Philip writes:

“I oppose sanctions in principle because I believe they are a blunt instrument that punishes innocent civilians when broadly construed while having no effect at all when directly targeting the country’s relatively wealthy and unreachable government officials. If sanctions are to make any sense they should be designed to achieve a quantifiable result but that is rarely the case and they frequently serve no purpose whatsoever beyond dishing out punishment. It has been claimed that sanctions actually worked in Sudan because its government has moved to meet some of Washington’s demands over Darfur and South Sudan, but that is a simplistic explanation for rather more complex phenomena that were likely driven by multiple constituencies and interests.

More often than not, sanctions harden a government’s resolve to resist, as they did in Cuba, and even become useful to the regime as an excuse for government failures. The explanation provided by George W. Bush’s special envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios that sanctions “send a message…to start behaving differently when they deal with their own people. That’s what this is all about,” is hubristic imperialism at its finest. It is reported in Sudan that many young Sudanese hate the United States and it is not difficult to understand why.”

Indeed.  Rather than turning the people against their leaders, sanctions rally the public around their government that is now being persecuted by a foreign power.  Sanctions stoke the flames of nationalism and lead to retaliatory terrorism, since the citizens rightly view their government as too weak to mount an effective counterattack.  That’s what sanctions are: an attack, an act of war.