Dear NeoCons, Sanctions Don’t Lead to Liberation

CC09DFB6-414C-471E-85D5-B0D39DC7BC45_w640_r1_sJohn McCain and Fox News’s Todd Starnes will not be satisfied until they see starving Russian babies paying for Putin’s crimes. The brains and/or the penises of NeoCons must be hard-wired to need a constant influx of blood running the streets of foreign countries – preferably blood spilled by American bombs, but starvation will work as well. It seems, and for good reason, that McCain, Graham, and Fox N00bz are worried about possible Russian instant retaliation for military intervention in Ukraine. So they’re pushing for hard sanctions against Russia.

Now, these are the same folks who couldn’t figure why the “liberation” of Iraq was taking so long and why Middle Easterners and Iraqi people were having such a difficult time with their land being occupied by The Greatest, Free-est Country Ever™. They don’t tend to think rationally when it comes to diplomacy or international relations, because the world is a real-time, flesh-and-blood, first-person shoot-em-up video game, but with actual violence. They’re not aware that they can play Call of Duty at home, pretend to be in a war zone, and not actually not ever really hurt anybody. But no, every problem is a potential target, a drone drop zone.

President Obama’s already started laying down targeted economic sanctions against a few individuals and departments. This may, depending on how it’s leveraged, end up having some effect in the Ukraine situation. But it won’t end what Uncle Joe Biden calls the “Land Grab”. So McCain and Starnes and Eric Cantor are demanding MOAR SANKSHONS.  Because if a little bit of sanctions work slowly and softly, then a lot work quickly and hard, right?

Except that sanctions don’t tend to work. Sure, full-scaled sanctions are supposed to work like this: Deny trade and goods to entire offending country. After a while, the food begins to be rationed, the electricity is turned on two hours a day (if that), the water is all poisoned. And the people get fed up with their government (not yours. Because you’re obviously the good guys who are starving the poor foreigners for their own good), throw the no-good-niks out and happily welcome the American Liberators (and their oil wells).

Whooooo! Shoe parties!

In fact, sanctions tend to be very ineffective – with the most optimistic survey giving them a 34% success rate. However, another look at how the sanctions themselves affected the outcome towards desired results showed a 4% success rate (wiki). However, using sanctions makes it look like politicians are doing something – that’s why they use them. They have little-to-no effectiveness. Sure, we could argue that sanctions together with grassroots divestment efforts organized primarily by the African diaspora budged South Africa and then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to end their oppressive White Supremacy rules, but there were other factors at play as well, including a change in leadership style and a fast-changing world around them.

Yet for every South Africa, how many Burmas? How many North Koreas or Cubas or Irans? These countries have been sanctioned for decades, and to what avail? Who is being punished and who feels the punishment? Here’s a hint, it’s not anybody who has the army at their disposal. How many hundreds of millions must continue to needlessly suffer so some useless US pundits, politicians, and diplomats can feel better about a “tough choice” they feel they had to make but shouldn’t have?

Don’t fall for it: Economic sanctions on any mass scale are a hurtful gimmick that will only result in starving citizens not responsible for any land grab.


When he’s not riding both his city’s public transit system and evil mayor, Jasdye teaches at a community college and writes about the intersection of equality and faith - with an occasional focus on Chicago - at the Left Cheek blog and on the Left Cheek: the Blog Facebook page. Check out more from Jasdye in his archives as well!


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