Skip to main content

Trump enacts sweeping new sanctions on China, Iran, Venezuela - Biden promises more to come

The new sanctions come even as an estimated 100,000 people have been killed by American sanctions in Venezuela alone as vital medical equipment and lifesaving drugs have been blocked from entering the country.
 
by Alan Macleod 

On its way out the door, the Trump administration is ramping up another round of aggressive, punishing sanctions against a host of countries. On Friday, the State Department announced new sanctions against Iran, the People’s Republic of China, and Venezuela. And today, it tightened the grip of the decades-long blockade on Cuba and increased sanctions on Nicaragua.

In the case of Iran, the measures were aimed at its oil industry and went so far as to sanction Vietnamese companies helping with the international supply of Iranian hydrocarbons. “Today, thanks to the success of our sanctions, Iran is looking to come back to the negotiating table to get relief,” Trump’s Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, asserted, adding (falsely) that the Iranian nuclear program remains focused on weaponry, not civilian usage.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also announced that 59 Chinese entities that were “undermining our national security and foreign policy interests” have been targeted. In the case of Venezuela, the action came as retaliation after it held an election the United States deemed to be fraudulent.

The Trump administration has ramped up the use of sanctions, issuing around 3,800 new ones, compared to 2,350 in President Obama’s second term. Sanctions are an act of war, and, when applied unilaterally, are often seen as illegal. The UN has formally denounced many of the U.S. sanctions, noting that they “disproportionately affect the poor and most vulnerable classes,” and not the leaders of foreign governments as is sometimes argued.

The effect on Iran has been to essentially tank its economy and cause untold hardship on its people. Oil production has sputtered. The Iranian rial has lost the majority of its worth. Food and consumer goods have become scarce and far more expensive, and international travel is now much harder. Throughout 2020, the U.S. has hindered the import of humanitarian aid and personal protective equipment, adding to the COVID-19 epidemic inside the country. The National Iranian American Council (no lovers of the current administration in Tehran) described U.S. actions as “heartless and sadistic.” Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Professor of English Literature at the University of Tehran agreed, telling MintPress in October that, “The sanctions deliberately target ordinary Iranians, women, and children…They are designed to kill hospital patients and to create poverty. They have had partial success.

The effect on Venezuela has been if anything, more acute. An estimated 100,000 people have been killed by American sanctions (a fact barely reported in the West), as vital medical equipment and lifesaving drugs have been blocked from entering the country. Alfred de Zayas, an (American) UN Special Rapporteur visited Venezuela, comparing life there to living under a Medieval siege, and declaring the United States as guilty of “crimes against humanity.

There appears little hope for a major change in tactics with the incoming administration. A Biden-linked Washington think-tank recently released a report calling for more “innovative” use of what it called “coercive economic statecraft,” (i.e. sanctions). The Center for a New American Security was founded by Michelle Flournoy, Biden’s original pick for Defense Secretary, and is full of Obama-era officials like Victoria Nuland. “The use of economic power, backed up by all of the available legal tools, plays to America’s strengths as the dominant global economic power and promises a continued stream of benefits,” they argue, concluding that, “Although there are inevitably going to be costs, and possibly increasing ones, associated with the use of coercive economic tools, the benefits are also going to increase over time.

News agency Reuters also recently released a report based on conversations with people close to the 78-year-old former vice-president, noting that sanctions will “remain a central instrument of U.S. power” under his administration, suggesting that he will likely ramp up sanctions against Russia. Far from dropping the practice, Biden’s major challenge, according to those cited, will be “to sort out which sanctions to keep, which to undo and which to expand.” It appears it will continue to be full steam ahead for America’s sanctions regime in 2021.

Source, links:


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Vijay Prashad on BRICS & Why Global South Cooperation Is Key to Dismantling Unjust World Order

Democracy Now!   As a two-day BRICS summit gets underway in South Africa, we speak with author and analyst Vijay Prashad about whether the bloc — which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — can meaningfully challenge U.S. and Western domination in world affairs by building an alternative forum for countries of the Global South. BRICS countries represent 40% of the world's population and a quarter of the world's economy, and the group is now considering a possible expansion to more than 20 other countries. " BRICS is an instrument to push forward their political views, which they feel are not taken seriously, " says Prashad, director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. Prashad explains the history of BRICS and its New Development Bank and responds to criticism that BRICS falsely portrays itself as an anti-imperialist project. The BRICS countries " are not a socialist bloc, " says Prashad, but they " don't want to

Western Hegemony FALLING APART, BRICS Now Controls 40% WORLD'S GDP & DE-DOLLARIZING

The Hill   Editor for The Grayzone Max Blumenthal previews the upcoming summit of "BRICS" nations. 

Libya's destroyers appeal for aid

The Grayzone   The Grayzone 's Max Blumenthal and Wyatt Reed discuss the hypocrisy and cynicism of Obama and his former aides who presided over NATO's destruction of the Libyan state as they now appeal for humanitarian relief following deadly floods in the city of Derna. 

USA & NATO responsible for Ukraine war, German & French public say in poll

Geopolitical Economy Report   Most people in Germany and France blame the United States and NATO for the war in Ukraine, according to a poll conducted not by a pro-Russian group but rather by anti-Putin activists. 

Western sanctions failing: EU imports more Russian gas, China beats US tech war

Geopolitical Economy Report  Western sanctions are backfiring: The EU is now importing Russian liquified natural gas at record levels, and China has made high-tech breakthroughs despite US export restrictions. Ben Norton discusses how this is strengthening their economic sovereignty while blowing back on Europe.

EU increases Russian purchases despite sanctions

The Dive with Jackson Hinkle    

Intel-linked UK official pushing censorship of Russell Brand

The author of letters to social media companies demanding the financial punishment of Russell Brand is a British lawmaker implicated in London’s war on Covid-19 and Ukraine dissenters. Her husband was a commander in the Army’s psy-ops division. by Kit Klarenberg   Part 1   Allegations of sexual impropriety and abuse by comedian and podcaster Russell Brand by the British media prompted YouTube to demonetize the star’s popular channel on September 20. The Grayzone can now reveal that YouTube’s financial censorship of Brand is the result of an effort waged by a former British government minister who was responsible for London’s crackdown on dissent during the Covid-19 pandemic. Her husband has also participated in that campaign of state repression as deputy commander of 77th Brigade, the British Army’s psychological warfare division. YouTube justified its demonetization of Brand on the grounds that he violated its “ creator responsibility policy. ” This marks the first time a content cre

Julian Assange’s father tells Glenn Greenwald how he may finally go free

Glenn Greenwald    

Niger raises Uranium price from €0.80/kg to €200/kg!

The New Africa Channel   Niger Raises Uranium Price  From €0.80/kg to €200/kg - In a groundbreaking development that signals a seismic shift in the global resource market, Niger, a prominent player in the uranium industry, has reportedly taken a bold step towards securing fair compensation for its invaluable natural resource, uranium. Multiple reports suggest that Niger has substantially increased the price of its uranium, skyrocketing it from a mere €0.80 per kilogram to €200 per kilogram.    This remarkable decision underscores a burgeoning determination among African nations to break free from historical imbalances and demand equitable remuneration for their vital contributions to the global economy.  According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), Niger is the world's seventh-largest uranium producer. The radioactive metal is the most widely used fuel for nuclear energy. It is also utilised in cancer treatment, naval propulsion, and nuclear weapons.   Uranium prices increased

Julian Assange and the end of American Democracy

The Real News Network   The US government has hounded Julian Assange since WikiLeaks first revealed the extent of US war crimes in 2010. In the process of persecuting Assange, the federal government has used every tool at its disposal and even pushed beyond the boundaries that supposedly restrict state power in defense of civil liberties. One of the most insidious tactics is the use of the Espionage Act, which had not been used for against whistleblowers and journalists for almost a century before Assange's case.    Prison is always a political tool, and in the case of whistleblowers like Julian Assange, the use of incarceration to suppress, discourage, and silence dissent is self-evident. Since being imprisoned, Assange has married and even started a family—but has been kept apart from his wife and children.   Lawyer and human rights defender Stella Assange, spouse of Julian Assange, joins Chris Hedges for a look at the vast and vicious campaign by the US to silence Julian Assange