Wednesday September 8, 2021
President Joe Biden’s departure from Afghanistan was the right thing to do even if it was handled disastrously. And he now has the opportunity to do some other “right things” that are in some ways related to the recently concluded fiasco in Central Asia in that the White House for too long has believed that it has the authority to intervene globally given its often cited authority as both “exceptional” and “Leader of the Free World.” One thinks immediate of the sanctions regime which is used repeatedly to punish foreign governments that do not conform to American and Western European norms on issues like homosexuality, “choice,” and even immigration. The current edition of sanctions, naming individuals, businesses and government entities, runs to hundreds of pages. It is updated and added to regularly by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
It has repeatedly been demonstrated that sanctions do not accomplish anything and they in fact disproportionately punish the most vulnerable people in the country being targeted, depriving them of food and medicine while their leaders have plenty of both. Sanctions do not compel countries to change their foreign and domestic policies and, in fact, frequently generate a measure of sympathy, producing popular support for regimes that are perceived as being unfairly attacked by the United States. Many argue that the authoritarian regime in Cuba has largely survived because many Cubans despise the extensive US imposed sanctions on their country.