In recent years, the U.S. government has turned starvation into official policy. Determined to force hostile states to bend to its will, Washington increasingly imposes economic sanctions, using America’s financial dominance to penalize foreign individuals, companies, and even governments. The Trump administration turned starving already impoverished peoples into a fine art.
Among its prime targets were Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela. The objective was to wreak economic destruction – and the policy succeeded in that sense. These nations all suffered increased hardship. Yet the people who suffered the most were at the bottom economically. Regime elites usually lost some access to excess, including foreign bank accounts and the luxuries which depended on those funds. But everyone else struggled to feed themselves.
Moreover, in not one case did the Trump administration achieve its political ends. Communists, including nominally retired Raul Castro, still run Cuba. Tehran refused to surrender its foreign policy to Washington. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un did not make his nuclear weapons available for transport to the US In Syria Bashar al-Assad refused to yield power. So, too, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro. Washington 0, Rogue States 5.
Washington’s policy was a bust. The countries varied in important ways, yet the US failed to prevail in even one instance. Washington imposed enormous human hardship on all five, but none buckled.
Consider Syria, which remains divided, occupied, and ravaged after a decade of civil war. US forces illegally occupy around a third of the country, at times confronting Syrian soldiers, whose territory it is, Russian and Iranian forces, there at the invitation of the legal government, and Turkish personnel, operating illegally against Kurdish militias tied to the US President Donald Trump justified the administration’s illicit role as necessary to seize Syria’s oil, which he hoped to steal and sell. Seriously.
What could possibly go wrong with such a strategy?
The Obama administration began by attempting to oust Assad, which failed miserably. Alleged “moderate” insurgents turned out to be in short supply, many defecting or surrendering to more radical groups after being trained and armed by the US. One Pentagon program spent a half billion dollars to put fewer than three score fighters in the field, most of whom were promptly killed or captured. US equipment ended up in the hands of the local affiliate of al-Qaeda,