World View: Are Iranian Sanctions Harming Civilians and Accomplishing Nothing?
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com:
- Accusations increase that sanctions are harming innocent Iranian civilians
- What's the purpose of sanctions?
- Switzerland may be preparing for war
- France says military intervention will begin 'in a matter of weeks'
Accusations increase that sanctions are harming innocent Iranian civilians
The European Union Foreign Affairs Council this week significantly
broadened the sanctions against Iran, hoping to force Iran to give up
it's nuclear development program. The new European measures include a
general ban on financial transactions, with some exceptions for those
involving humanitarian aid and provisions for legitimate trade.
However, human rights groups are saying that millions of lives re at
risk in Iran because the western economic sanctions are hitting the
importing of medicines and hospital equipment. According to
U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon:
The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran
have had significant effects on the general population, including
an escalation in inflation, a rise in commodities and energy
costs, an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of
necessary items, including medicine.
The sanctions also appear to be affecting humanitarian operations
in the country," he wrote. "Even companies that have obtained the
requisite licence to import food and medicine are facing
difficulties in finding third-country banks to process the
Britain's Foreign Office responded:
We've been clear that financial sanctions against
Iran are not intended to affect humanitarian goods and
payments. That's why the UK argued for and secured specific
exemptions to allow humanitarian transactions to take place.
Whilst it is true that sanctions are having an impact on the
Iranian population, this is compounded by the Iranian government's
economic mismanagement. Iran's leaders are responsible for any
impact on their people and can make the choices which would bring
sanctions to an end.
The sanctions are being blamed for the collapse of the rial currency,
which has lost some 80% of its value against the dollar since 2011.
This has dramatically affected the lives of ordinary Iranians, as most
imported goods, including things as varied as meat, oil, sugar, tires
and car parts have doubled in price in the last few months. Reuters and Guardian
What's the purpose of sanctions?
Most people who laud the use of sanctions point to the claimed success
for sanctions that were imposed on Poland and South Africa in the last
Before coming back to those examples, let's look at some examples
where sanctions did NOT work:
- On July 25, 1941, President Roosevelt signed an executive
order freezing Japanese assets in the United States, and imposing an
oil embargo. 4-1/2 months later, the Japanese air force bombed Pearl
Harbor. I guess we'd have to say that those sanctions didn't
- The West has imposed harsh sanctions on North Korea, to convince
them to abandon their nuclear program. North Korea has responded by
testing nuclear weapons. I guess those sanctions didn't work
- China has been imposing strong economic sanctions against Japan in
the last few months, in order to force Japan to give up their claim to
the Senkaku islands. But Japan shows no signs of
Japan in 1941, as well as Japan and North Korea today, were/are in
generational Crisis eras, a time when nationalism increases sharply.
So sanctions really cannot work during Crisis eras, since they will
only trigger a strong nationalistic response and countermeasures.
So what about President Ronald Reagan's sanctions against Poland and
South Africa? Supporters claim that the sanctions brought democracy
to Poland and ended apartheid in South Africa. But those sanctions
occurred during generational Awakening or Unraveling eras, when
nationalism is extremely low. The move to democracy in Poland and the
end of apartheid in South Africa are fairly typical Awakening era
climaxes. America's most recent Awakening era climax was the
resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974, and of course that
happened without any country imposing sanctions.
So what about Iran today? Iran is in a generational Awakening era,
and there is little or no nationalism in the country. Does that mean
that the sanctions are going to bring about regime change in Iran?
What is certain is that Iran is headed for some kind of Awakening era
climax, irrespective of whether there are sanctions, and that Awakening era
climax will almost certainly involve regime change of some kind.
When that happens, the politicians in the West will pat themselves on
the back and congratulate themselves and each other for bringing about
regime change, even though they had nothing to do with it.
Could it be argued that the sanctions are speeding up regime change?
I know of no evidence to that effect. To the contrary, it could
easily be argued that sanctions are interfering with the normal
Awakening era political process in Iran, and are actually DELAYING
regime change. And they certainly aren't stopping Iran's nuclear
So what's the point of sanctions on Iran?
The most likely answer can be found in Israel's prime minister
Benjamin Netanyahu's praise for the new sanctions:
These sanctions are hitting the Iranian economy hard,
(but) they haven’t yet rolled back the Iranian program. We'll know
that they're achieving their goal when the centrifuges stop
spinning and when the Iranian nuclear program is rolled back.
Without the sanctions, domestic politics would force Netanyahu to bomb
Iran. The sanctions provide a method for "kicking the can down the
road," and allowing politicians in Israel, America and Europe to say
that they're doing something, without having to declare war. But in
terms of their stated objectives -- to force Iran to end its nuclear
program, and to do so without harming civilians -- they're useless
failures. Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Switzerland may be preparing for war
According to a Russian analysis, the Swiss Army is preparing
contingency plans for violent unrest across Europe. The analysis is
based on military exercises conducted by Switzerland's army in
September. As the euro crisis deepens, Switzerland fears widespread
unrest across Europe, and particularly fears a massive influx of Greek
and Italian refugees pouring into Switzerland. The Swiss are pressing
ahead to modernize the 200,000 man army despite political opposition.
France says military intervention will begin 'in a matter of weeks'
An international meeting will be held on Friday in Bamako, the capital
of Mali, to discuss the strategy for military intervention in northern
Mali, where al-Qaeda linked Ansar Dine terrorists have taken control.
France's defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says that the
intervention could happen in "a matter of weeks, not months, weeks."
The intention is that the 3,300 troops would be supplied by the
Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), with logistical
and financial support from France and possibly the U.S. However, many
people doubt that anything close to such an ambitious timetable can
possibly occur. 3,300 troops is far too few to displace the northern
Mali terrorists, and the forces are ill equipped and not trained to
fight in a huge desert like northern Mali. Most likely, the 3,300
troops would simply flee back to their home countries. All that
notwithstanding, the Mali situation is serious, and it's increasingly
likely that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) will gain control
of the region, and use it as a base for terrorist attacks into
Algeria, Morocco and Europe. VOA and All Africa
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