Monday 15 May 2023

America sees her mission is to oppose autocracies worldwide - in other words, to rule the world. Napoleon, Hitler, Great Britain at her imperial apogee did not have any such mad hubris. Lenin did.



Bloomberg: 'Russia is likely to resume buying foreign currency [yuan] for its reserves as soon as this month as rising oil earnings stabilize public finances despite US and European efforts to squeeze Kremlin income.'

Sanctions against Russian have not had the effect America expected. Meanwhile sanctions elsewhere cause enormous suffering. Why are there sanctions against Afghanistan or Syria?

Posting this on Facebook led to a long exchange with one of my most intelligent Facebook friends, a retired senior State Department official (Mr S) who, to his credit, only ever supported ‘targeted sanctions’, not sanctions against a general population. Good, but the ensuing discussion made me understand how insane American policy is. 

America thinks she has a duty to save the world from autocracy anywhere in the world. In other words, to rule the world. Napoleon , the Kaiser, Hitler and Great Britain at her imperial apogee did not have any such mad hubris. The only leaders who did were Lenin, Trotsky and in theory, but certainly not in practice, Stalin.


Mr S: Assad brutally murdered thousands of innocent civilians, including defenceless children. Perhaps he is no worse than those he fights, but that does not excuse his actions or make them less deserving of condemnation by civilised society.

Me: But why do we have a dog in this fight? I remember the Daily Telegraph saying Bill Clinton's foreign policy made the US an attachment of Oxfam. Reading what you wrote in the last few days I see wise canny State Department people like you see foreign policy as a moral crusade. This is terribly misguided. Sanctions are a terrible idea and should be reserved for cases where one country invades another. Nobody proposed sanctions against the USSR even though they did invade and conquer several countries. This moralism always seems to be accompanied by the idea that Israel is important to American interests, which it clearly isn't any more now the cold war is over. US foreign policy seems an illogical bundle of emotional ideas, but all reasons for American domination of the world in a way the UK never contemplated for a moment. It's all connected to the idea that the USA is bound together by the Whig ideals of the declaration of independence. (In fact it is bound together by Anglo-Saxon culture and to a limited extent blood.)

Mr S: Alas, some thugs, see Putin, Ortega, et alia are not dissuaded and then must be fought. Surrender to imperialist autocracy is not an option.

Me: This remark absolutely horrifies and terrifies me. You seem to be saying that America and friends are entitled to and even have a duty to oppose all dictatorships? This is mad. You will always have autocracies and what business are they of America or GB? Stanley Baldwin and at first Neville Chamberlain were rightly anxious not to go to war in Europe - you want conflict anywhere!

Mr S: Yet not oppose all dictatorships is madness. To acquiesce to oppression is cowardice. But after acknowledging the morally right thing to do, one must determine how to do it. Thus, prudence demands that our opposition to oppression requires different responses at different times with appropriate tools and methods. Totalitarian rule is like a chronic disease - one must live with it if one cannot eradicate it, but one should never call it healthy or treat it with indifference.

Me: I read too fast. You said we should resist attempts by dictators to EXPORT their malevolence. Very few try to. I don't approve of dictators but not all are malevolent - Salazar was a good thing and in NATO. The Saudi monarchy of course is malevolent but our ally as it slaughters tens of thousands of civilians for the crime of being Shia. Dictatorships are not a disease. Nor are absolute monarchies. The medical analogy is so wrong. America preferred dictatorship in Algeria to democratic victory for Islamists. Allende in Chile. Iran in 1953. Perhaps the most unforgivably stupid of all the stupid mistakes the 2nd Bush administration made was the insane idea that all countries are ready for democracy. This is the disastrous liberalism that gave us leaders like Wilson, LBJ, Bush 2 and now Joe Biden.

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    Sanctions Programs and Country Information

    OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) administers a number of different sanctions programs. The sanctions can be either comprehensive or selective, using the blocking of assets and trade restrictions to accomplish foreign policy and national security goals.

    Active Sanctions Programs

    Afghanistan-Related Sanctions Feb 25, 2022
    Balkans-Related Sanctions Apr 26, 2023
    Belarus Sanctions Mar 24, 2023
    Burma-Related Sanctions Mar 24, 2023
    Central African Republic Sanctions Jan 26, 2023
    Chinese Military Companies Sanctions Jun 01, 2022
    Counter Narcotics Trafficking Sanctions May 09, 2023
    Counter Terrorism Sanctions May 02, 2023
    Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act-Related Sanctions Apr 27, 2023
    Cuba Sanctions Sep 26, 2022
    Cyber-Related Sanctions Apr 27, 2023
    Democratic Republic of the Congo-Related Sanctions Mar 17, 2022
    Ethiopia-Related Sanctions Feb 08, 2022
    Foreign Interference in a United States Election Sanctions Mar 03, 2022
    Global Magnitsky Sanctions Apr 05, 2023
    Hong Kong-Related Sanctions Dec 20, 2021
    Hostages and Wrongfully Detained U.S. Nationals Sanctions Apr 27, 2023
    Iran Sanctions Apr 27, 2023
    Iraq-Related Sanctions Dec 28, 2022
    Lebanon-Related Sanctions Apr 04, 2023
    Libya Sanctions Oct 17, 2022
    Magnitsky Sanctions Jan 26, 2023
    Mali-Related Sanctions Feb 06, 2020
    Nicaragua-related Sanctions Apr 19, 2023
    Non-Proliferation Sanctions Apr 27, 2023
    North Korea Sanctions Apr 24, 2023
    Rough Diamond Trade Controls Jun 18, 2018
    Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions May 05, 2023
    Somalia Sanctions Sep 22, 2021
    South Sudan-Related Sanctions Feb 26, 2020
    Sudan and Darfur Sanctions May 04, 2023
    Syria Sanctions Mar 28, 2023
    Syria-Related Sanctions (Executive Order 13894 of 2019) Feb 21, 2023
    Transnational Criminal Organizations Feb 08, 2023
    Ukraine-/Russia-related Sanctions May 12, 2023
    Venezuela-Related Sanctions May 01, 2023
    Yemen-related Sanctions Nov 18, 2021
    Zimbabwe Sanctions Dec 12, 2022