Monday, August 17, 2020

Joshua Landis and Steven Simon - The Pointless Cruelty of Trump’s New Syria Sanctions

Assad Doesn’t Care if More of His People Starve

This article frames the US as the good guys, but says sanctions won't work. 

In the real world, “quagmire” is simply a misleading term for a failed state. And failed states leave their populations exposed to hunger, disease, poverty, and predatory warlords. The Trump administration skirts this grim reality by insisting that sanctions work. Yet there is little evidence that economic sanctions ever achieve their objectives. Even the best-designed sanctions can be self-defeating, strengthening the regimes they were designed to hurt and punishing the societies they were supposed to protect. The destruction of Iraq’s middle class in the 1990s is a case in point: U.S. sanctions killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Their effect was gendered, disproportionately punishing women and children. The notion that sanctions work is a pitiless illusion. The fact is those with guns eat first, and competing with Assad over who can hurt Syrian peasants more is a losing game for Washington. 

Foreign Affairs

1 comment:

Marian Ruccius said...

Very good article, but Syria sanctions will also be hard to enforce, because there is no No-FLY zone, and because Syria has partial control of its borders. The main goal seems to be to assuage those parties which want the Trump Administration to be even more hawkish. OR maybe it is just terrible, injust incompetence...