Economic Sanctions: Washington’s Best Tool to Control the World

economic-sanctions-washington8217s-best-tool-to-control-the-world

14-03-19 08:28:00,

For decades, Washington’s favourite means of punishing nations that do not subscribe to its narrative has been through the imposition of economic sanctions.  This has become particularly apparent with the ongoing and increasing sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea.  While sanctions against these governments have garnered headlines for the past few years, in fact, there are far more sanctions that we rarely hear about.

In 1950, the Office of Foreign Assets Control was formed as part of the United States Department of the Treasury.  OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions that are based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals.  Sanctions have been imposed for the following reasons:

1.) terrorism

2.) international narcotics trade

3.) proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

4.) threats to national security, foreign policy and/or economy of the United States

Economic sanctions, in their most basic form, are defined as the withdrawal of trade and financial relations with a targeted nation for foreign and security policy purposes.  Economic sanctions  can take many forms including freezing of assets, arms embargoes, trade restrictions and bans, capital restraints, foreign aid reductions and travel bans.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the United States uses economic and financial sanctions more than any other nation.

In the United States, sanctions can originate in either the Executive or Legislative branches of government.  Presidents begin the process by issuing an Executive Order or EO which affords the president social powers to regulate commerce with a given entity.  Under the EO, the president declares that there is a national emergency in response to “unusual and extraordinary” foreign threats, for instance, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States.  In addition to Executive actions, Congress can also pass legislation to both modify and impose sanctions.  Most sanctions programs are administered by the previously mentioned OFAC, however, other government departments may be involved including Homeland Security, Justice, State and Commerce.  

On the OFAC website  interested parties can search for information on federally mandated sanctions programs.  Under each sanctions program there is an exhaustive listing of changes to the programs, guidelines that must be followed under penalty of law.  

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Sanctions of Mass Destruction: America’s War on Venezuela – Global Research

sanctions-of-mass-destruction-america8217s-war-on-venezuela-8211-global-research

30-01-19 01:18:00,

American economic sanctions have been the worst crime against humanity since World War Two. America’s economic sanctions have killed more innocent people than all of the nuclear, biological and chemical weapons ever used in the history of mankind.

The fact that for America the issue in Venezuela is oil, not democracy, will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore history. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves on the planet.

America seeks control of Venezuela because it sits atop the strategic intersection of the Caribbean, South and Central American worlds. Control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.

From the first moment Hugo Chavez took office, the United States has been trying to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist movement by using sanctions, coup attempts, and funding the opposition parties. After all, there is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état.

Potsdam1 Bildarchiv Alfred de Zayas.JPG

United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas, recommended, just a few days ago, that the International Criminal Court investigate economic sanctions against Venezuela as a possible crime against humanity perpetrated by America.

Over the past five years, American sanctions have cut Venezuela off from most financial markets, which have caused local oil production to plummet. Consequently, Venezuela has experienced the largest decline in living standards of any country in recorded Latin American history.

Prior to American sanctions, socialism in Venezuela had reduced inequality and poverty whilst pensions expanded. During the same time period in America, it has been the absolute reverse. President Chavez funnelled Venezuela’s oil revenues into social spending such as free+6 healthcare, education, subsidized food networks, and housing construction.

In order to fully understand why America is waging economic war on the people of Venezuela one must analyse the historical relationship between the petrodollar system and Sanctions of Mass Destruction: Prior to the 20th century, the value of money was tied to gold. When banks lent money they were constrained by the size of their gold reserves. But in 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon took the country off the gold standard. Nixon and Saudi Arabia came to an Oil For Dollars agreement that would change the course of history and become the root cause of countless wars for oil.

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Escobar: What Sanctions On Russia And China Really Mean

Escobar: What Sanctions On Russia And China Really Mean

20-10-18 07:52:00,

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

The Pentagon may not be advocating total war against both Russia and China – as it has been interpreted in some quarters …

A crucial Pentagon report on the US defense industrial base and “supply chain resiliency” bluntly accuses China of “military expansion” and “a strategy of economic aggression,” mostly because Beijing is the only source for “a number of chemical products used in munitions and missiles.”

Russia is mentioned only once, but in a crucial paragraph: as a – what else – “threat,” alongside China, for the US defense industry.

The Pentagon, in this report, may not be advocating total war against both Russia and China – as it was interpreted in some quarters. What it does is configure the trade war against China as even more incandescent, while laying bare the true motivations behind the sanctioning of Russia.

The US Department of Commerce has imposed restrictions on 12 Russian corporations that are deemed to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the US.” In practice, this means that American corporations cannot export dual-use products to any of the sanctioned Russian companies.

There are very clear reasons behind these sanctions – and they are not related to national security. It’s all about “free market” competition.

At the heart of the storm is the Irkut MC-21 narrow-body passenger jet – the first in the world with a capacity of more than 130 passengers to have composite-based wings.

AeroComposit is responsible for the development of these composite wings. The estimated share of composites in the overall design is 40%.

The MC-21’s PD-14 engine – which is unable to power combat jets – will be manufactured by Aviadvigatel. Until now MC-21s had Pratt & Whitney engines. The PD-14 is the first new engine 100% made in Russia since the break up of the USSR.

Aviation experts are sure that an MC-21 equipped with a PD-14 easily beats the competition; the Airbus A320 and the Boeing-737.

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Washington’s Sanctions Machine – Global Research

Washington’s Sanctions Machine – Global Research

27-09-18 02:46:00,

Perhaps it is Donald Trump’s business background that leads him to believe that if you inflict enough economic pain on someone they will ultimately surrender and agree to do whatever you want. Though that approach might well work in New York real estate, it is not a certain path to success in international relations since countries are not as vulnerable to pressure as are individual investors or developers.

Washington’s latest foray into the world of sanctions, directed against China, is astonishing even when considering the low bar that has been set by previous presidents going back to Bill Clinton. Beijing has already been pushing back over US sanctions imposed last week on its government-run Equipment Development Department of the Chinese Central Military Commission and its director Li Shangfu for “engaging in significant transactions” with a Russian weapons manufacturer that is on a list of US sanctioned companies. The transactions included purchases of Russian Su-35 combat aircraft as well as equipment related to the advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system. The sanctions include a ban on the director entering the United States and blocks all of his property or bank accounts within the US as well as freezing all local assets of the Equipment Development Department.

More important, the sanctions also forbid conducting any transactions that go through the US financial system. It is the most powerful weapon Washington has at its disposal, but it is being challenged as numerous countries are working to find ways around it. Currently however, as most international transactions are conducted in dollars and pass through American banks that means that it will be impossible for the Chinese government to make weapons purchases from many foreign sources. If foreign banks attempt to collaborate with China to evade the restrictions, they too will be sanctioned.

So in summary, Beijing bought weapons from Moscow and is being sanctioned by the United States for doing so because Washington does not approve of the Russian government. The sanctions on China are referred to as secondary sanctions in that they are derivative from the primary sanction on the foreign company or individual that is actually being punished. Secondary sanctions can be extended ad infinitum as transgressors linked sequentially to the initial transaction multiply the number of potential targets.

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Sanctions Backfire: US Is Being Left Behind | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

Sanctions Backfire: US Is Being Left Behind | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

27-08-18 10:12:00,

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The United States has a long history of dominating international economic institutions and has been able to use that power in the past to control other governments and enrich its industries. At present, the United States is waging an economic World War targeting much of the world economy, including allies who refuse to comply with US mandates.

Among the nations included in the US economic war are China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, Nicaragua and North Korea. The European Union is being threatened with economic sanctions if it does not obey US demands to blockade the Iranian economy.

The US’ power and influence are waning. Measured by the real economy, i.e. people’s ability to purchase goods, the CIA’s World Factbook ranks China as the largest economy in the world, $4 trillion larger than the United States, which ranks third after the EU. Also in the top 20 are Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

US tools of economic domination are failing and are causing the country to be isolated as the rest of the world moves in a multi-polar direction. Countries are cutting the US out of their markets and building independence from US-dollar domination.

This is a time for the US to change its strategy, but the power elites and Pentagon do not seem to know any other way. Military spending continues to rise, now consuming 61% of federal discretionary spending. The social safety net is unraveling, leaving people in the US vulnerable to the impacts of a world economy that increasingly leaves the US out. It is up to us, the people, to organize and mobilize for a modern foreign policy and economy that takes the new global dynamics into account.

Fundamental Flaws In The US Economy Worsen

The global economic war the US has begun is already undermining the US economy. Rather than address decades of failed policies, the US is looking for a quick fix by taxing foreign goods and isn’t investing in building a sound economy. The US economy is not on firm ground.

Much of the real economy of the United States, producing goods, has gone overseas. Combined with new technology, this has resulted in the US losing 5 million jobs since 2000,

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US Sanctions are Pushing Russia to War

US Sanctions are Pushing Russia to War

13-08-18 03:18:00,

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation…

The new round of sanctions this week unleashed by the United States on Russia has only one meaning: the US rulers want to crush Russia’s economy. By any definition, Washington is, in effect, declaring war on Russia.

The implemented economic measures may have a seemingly abstract or sterile quality about them: banning electronic exports to Russia, rattling financial markets, stock prices falling. But the material consequence is that American officials are intending to inflict physical damage on Russian society and Russian people.

It’s economic warfare on a sliding scale to military warfare, as the Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz would no doubt appreciate.

It seems all the more significant that this week also saw US internet services launching a major clampdown on anti-war websites, suggesting that the powers-that-be want to shut down any criticism or public awareness of their reckless warmongering.

What’s more, the latest round of US sanctions – there have been several previous rounds since the contrived Ukrainian conflict in 2014 – is based on nothing but wild, ridiculous speculation. That only adds insult upon injury.

Washington said the new proposed sanctions are due to its “determination” that the Russian state was responsible for an alleged chemical-weapon attack on a former double agent in England earlier this year.

The so-called Skripal affair involving Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia allegedly being poisoned by Russian agents using a deadly nerve agent is as yet an unproven conundrum. Some might even say “farce”.

No evidence has ever been presented by the British government to substantiate its sensational allegations against Moscow. Its claims that Russia was responsible for poisoning the Skripals rests entirely on dubious assertion and innuendo.

Now Washington is proposing sanctions based on a wholly unverified “determination” by the British – sanctions that are intended to crush the Russian economy. The proposed punitive measures go way beyond the usual freezing of assets pertaining to individuals. What Washington is moving to do is attack the core financial operation of the Russian economy.

No wonder that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued a grave response to the latest American sanctions. He said they were comparable to “economic warfare”.

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Trump’s Sanctions Admit the End of US Military Dominance

Trump’s Sanctions Admit the End of US Military Dominance

09-08-18 03:29:00,

Authored by Eric Zuesse via the Strategic Culture Foundation.

Such important reality as is shown in this picture is virtually unpublishable in mainstream US ‘news’media, because US ‘news’media need to deceive their public about the most important international realities — such as that the US imposed upon Ukraine a nazi regime against Russia, and the US now lies to accuse Russia for doing what Russia must do in order to protect itself from the US nazi regime next-door.

This picture is among many which were originally published in the excellent 4 July 2018 article by Asa Winstanley at The Electronic Intifada. His article was headlined “Israel is arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine”. That article focuses upon Israel’s strong support for the racist-fascist (or ideologically nazi) Government of Ukraine. (Click onto it to see the documentation — it’s Israeli nazis, against Russians, not against Jews, though they’re allied with ones that are against both, which is why the US did this — aiming to conquer ultimately Russia.)

Israel does this as part of the US-led coalition in support of the current racist-fascist Government of Ukraine, which Government was installed in a bloody coup that US President Barack Obama started planning by no later than 2011 and started operationalizing on 1 March 2013 and carried out in February 2014 under the cover of US State Department and CIA-generated anti-corruption mass demonstrations on Kiev’s Maidan square, but some of whose US-funded snipers have already gone public (though not in US ‘news’media) describing how they were hired to do it, and how they did it.

How, then, can anybody believe the US ‘news’media, which hide these clear realities, instead of ever having reported them to the duped American public?

The US Government’s anti-Russian sanctions, and its NATO exercises with US missiles and tanks on and near Russia’s borders, are based upon the US government’s lies, not upon the truths that this photo represents and which will here be explained.

In US ‘news’media, the overthrow and replacement of Ukraine’s democratically elected government was ‘the Maidan Revolution’, or ‘the 2014 Ukrainian revolution’, not Obama’s coup in Ukraine.

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How The Iran Sanctions Drama Intersects With OPEC-Plus

How The Iran Sanctions Drama Intersects With OPEC-Plus

02-07-18 05:47:00,

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

Major states buying oil from Iran are unlikely to heed the US call to drop imports; key allies want a waiver to avoid sanctions; OPEC, meanwhile, will have trouble boosting output in the short-term; the puzzle is not solved, but there are dark clouds…

History may have registered stranger geoeconomic bedfellows. But in the current OPEC-plus world, the rules of the game are now de facto controlled by OPEC powerhouse Saudi Arabia in concert with non-OPEC Russia.

Russia may even join OPEC as an associate member. There’s a key clause in the bilateral Riyadh-Moscow agreement stipulating that joint interventions to raise or lower oil production now are the new norm.

Some major OPEC members are not exactly pleased. At the recent meeting in Vienna, three member states – Iran, Iraq and Venezuela – tried, but did not manage to veto the drive for increased production. Venezuela’s production is actually declining. Iran, facing a tacit US declaration of economic war, is hard-pressed to increase production. And Iraq’s will need time to boost output.

Goldman Sachs insists: “The oil market remains in deficit… requiring higher core OPEC and Russia production to avoid a stock-out by year-end.” Goldman Sachs expects production by OPEC and Russia to rise by 1.3 million barrels a day by the end of 2019. Persian Gulf traders have told Asia Times that’s unrealistic: “Goldman Sachs does not have the figures to assert the capability of Russia and Saudi Arabia to produce so much oil. At most, that would be a million barrels a day. And it is doubtful Russia will seek to damage Iran even if they had the capacity.”

In theory, Russia and Iran, both under US sanctions, coordinate their energy policy. Both are interested in countering the US shale industry. Top energy analysts consider that only with oil at $100 a barrel will fracking become highly profitable. And oil and gas generated via fracked in the US is a short-term thing; it will largely be exhausted in 15 years. Moreover, the real story may be that shale oil is, in the end, nothing but a Ponzi scheme.

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Iran Sanctions: A Reminder Of How America Militarized The Financial System

Iran Sanctions: A Reminder Of How America Militarized The Financial System

15-05-18 07:17:00,

Authored by Tho Bishop via The Mises Institute,

Only CNN was surprised by Donald Trump’s recent announcement that he was pulling the United States out of the Iran Deal negotiated by his predecessor. Following the same failed approach of the last Republican administration, the President opted for confrontation with the Iranian regime rather than uplifting more moderate factions within the country through trade. The decision has already increased tensions in the volatile region, with Iran and Israel exchanging fire in Syria.

Meanwhile European leaders are meeting Iranian officials to try to design a way to bypass new American sanctions. Others have vocally attacked Trump’s actions and attacked the US playing the role of “economic policeman.”

As French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said after the decision:

Do we want to be vassals who obey decisions taken by the United States while clinging to the hem of their trousers? Or do we want to say we have our economic interests, we consider we will continue to do trade with Iran?

According to reports, European officials are looking at a few different options to help salvage their economic relationship with Iran.

One is by reviving “blocking statues” such as the ones the EU threatened in response to sanctions on Cuba, Libya, and Iran in the 1990s. The mechanism works similar to the anti-commandeering doctrine, ordering European officials to refuse to comply with US sanctions. As Reuters notes, blocking statues have “never been used and is seen by European governments more as a political weapon.” They were successful in the past because the Clinton Administration simply backed down, something that seems unlikely with President Trump.

The other is to establish new financial institutions with no connection to the US financial system. Iran has already made the euro the official reporting currency for foreign exchange, so on the surface this seems like a viable alternative.

The problem European decision makers face, however, is that the US has gone to great lengths to militarize the banking industry in recent years.

As Richard Goldberg noted at Foreign Policy:

[In 2010] Congress passed a new law leveraging America’s greatest strength against the fulcrum of global commerce with Iran: financial transactions.  » Lees verder

Can US Russian Sanctions Start A Financial Crisis? | Armstrong Economics

Can US Russian Sanctions Start A Financial Crisis? | Armstrong Economics

08-05-18 08:04:00,

The US sanctions against Russia are pointless and are placing the West at risk the politicians are too stupid to even comprehend. Already, some Russian companies have asked the government for liquidity injections of up to $2 billion. Even the world’s second-largest aluminum producer Rusal has asked for help. Nevertheless, the impact of sanctions goes beyond the internal borders of Russia for they also impact the international financial markets.

For example, Rusal had previously made clear that the US sanctions are threatening their ability to even meet debt obligations. They carry $7.7 billion of debt in US dollars of which about $1 billion in debt is maturing within five years. In terms of US dollars, Rusal cannot even pay the debts because it would have to do so through US banks. That means, under the sanctions, they would have to default on their bonds. Now let’s turn to Polyus, which is Russia’s largest gold producer. Here they have also $5 billion in US debt. Those US dollar bonds maturing in 2024.  doubles as sanctions become known.

The same story applies to many Russian companies for they still have to conduct business in US dollars regardless of the sanctions. For example, let’s look closer at Rusal. Here the company conducts over 60% of all its business in US dollars. The US sanctions prohibit Americans from doing business with the affected Russian companies or individuals. This is really crazy. Any Russian state-controlled bank cannot step in as an intermediate because they could then become the target of sanctions itself.

Western investors are actually the ones who will be punished by the US sanctions if the Russian companies cannot pay their debts under the law. They cannot even go to an intermediary in Europe for they too could then be targeted by the US for violating the sanctions. The US sanctions would actually justify Russian defaults on all their debt. Will the US then bail out the Western bondholders?

This may end up simply as a 1931 event where one default starts a panic and the entire house of cards comes crashing down.

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Sanctions, Subversion, and Color Revolutions: US Meddling in Cambodian Elections | New Eastern Outlook

Sanctions, Subversion, and Color Revolutions: US Meddling in Cambodian Elections | New Eastern Outlook

15-01-18 07:38:00,

After a nearly year-long marathon of daily, acrimonious accusations against Moscow for alleged, yet-to-be proven interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, Washington finds itself increasingly mired in its own hypocrisy – openly and eagerly pursing the very sort of interference abroad in multiple nations regarding elections and internal political affairs it has accused Russia of.

A particularly acute example of this is Cambodia where recently, the government has begun uprooting and expelling US State Department-funded fronts and media organizations as well as arresting members of the US-backed opposition party while disbanding the party itself – for interfering in preparations for upcoming elections.

The New York Times in its August article, “Cambodia Orders Expulsion of Foreign Staff Members With American Nonprofit,” would claim:

Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday ordered foreign staff members of an American nonprofit that gets support from the United States government to leave the country within a week, part of an apparent attempt to silence opposition voices before national elections next year.

The NYT would elaborate, reporting:

The nonprofit, the National Democratic Institute [a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)], is loosely affiliated with the Democratic Party in the United States, and has provided training to various Cambodian political parties, including those from the opposition. Local news media organizations with ties to Mr. Hun Sen’s party have accused the nonprofit of conspiring against him.

Unsurprisingly, the NYT attempts to portray Cambodia’s uprooting of US government-funded fronts, media, and opposition directly and openly manipulating its political affairs as undemocratic. Such a narrative concurrently takes shape in the NYT’s pages side-by-side an entire section titled, “Russian Hacking and Influence in the U.S. Election.”

While Western media like the NYT claims foreign interference in America’s affairs constitutes the destruction of American democracy, it simultaneously proposes that extensive US meddling in elections abroad – including in Cambodia – constitutes the promotion of democracy.

Unfortunately for many, the hypocrisy this glaring double standard represents goes unnoticed – due in part to the notion of American – and to a larger extend – Western exceptionalism.

Washington’s Khmer Marionettes 

The move by Phnom Penh is the culmination of years of US meddling in Cambodia’s internal political affairs and political processes including its elections.

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