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Ilhan Omar: Sanctions are Part of a Failed Foreign Policy Playbook. Stop Relying on Them.

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/10/23/ilhan-omar-sanctions-are-part-failed-foreign-policy-playbook-stop-relying-them


are quick to place sanctions on regimes we disagree with

It took decades of pressure to force the US government to apply sanctions to apartheid South Africa, and the government openly violated international sanctions against the white minority regime in Rhodesia.


I have a better idea. Tariffs. We’ll make American farmers unable to sell their crops to China. Then we’ll use $30 billion taxpayer dollars to bail them out. Then we will exempt their crops from tariffs. Brilliant! That’s why Trump is a very stable genius with great and unmatched wisdom!

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Apologies for linking to one of my own articles on the inhumanity of sanctions.


The siege tactic deliberately targets a civilian population with fatal consequences by withholding supplies and starving them yet it is a form of warfare which is considered legal and acceptable.


I think she is right about all this, though a little hypocritical by favoring sanctions on Israel even though its impossible to see how that can really do any good for the Palestinians she claims to cate about, indeed if it had any effect it would make their conditions worse.


Applause for Omar’s excellent and reasonable statement here.

As another point, most all of the trouble here is in response to US and NATO invasions and the extensive destabilization of the area, particularly Syria in this case, by the US and a group of allies in the region.

Pull the troops back. It is not only the Turks whom the US population cannot stop from killing civilians in the region. It is US forces, US intelligence, US and European companies, and US and allied-paid mercenaries as well.

There is no particularly good reason for the US population to tolerate the high crimes, misdemeanors, and malfeasance of the US government and its allies in all of these cases.

Roll the empire back.


Or is it a little hypocritical to criticize sanctions against Israel without considering where the impetus for them came from?

Omar described the boycott and divestment campaign against apartheid South Africa as “locally led” – presumably referring to the call for boycott from the ANC and other progressive forces. (Was supporting that anti-apartheid campaign hypocritical?)

Similarly, the call to boycott apartheid Israel didn’t come from any state actor to further its geopolitical aims, but from close to 200 “locally led” Palestinian civil society organizations. Sanctions are the third tool, but again derive from Palestinians, not state actors.

BTW, a current campaign in the cultural boycott (which Israel regards as politically important) is to ask Celine Dion to back out of two planned concerts in Israel.

An excellent piece by Ilhan. Our widespread use of sanctions really just demonstrates the failure of our diplomatic services, which have been failing since before Trump took office.

There might be an appropriate use for sanctions on a case by case basis, but today we abuse the process daily.

The Russians have demonstrated how traditional diplomacy can be very effective. We demonstrate we are the bull in the china shop.


There’s no question that the bulk of the economic crisis in Venezuela was caused by Maduro’s government, which inherited fixable problems and failed to address them. But U.S. sanctions have worsened Venezuela’s economic disaster—and handed Maduro a propaganda victory. He can now shift blame to the United States, while retaining his grip on power.

I’m disheartened that Ihlan has fallen into this trap. I thought she knew better?

We’re attacking Venezuela because they won’t bend the knee to the US Empire and to gain control of their oil, plain and simple. What is being done to them is criminal.



You do know that Palestinians live in Israel, right, as citizens?

I’ll disagree with Ms Omar. Sanctions can and do work, although rarely. Of course, using them as an all-purpose bludgeon isn’t the answer.

But I’ll disagree strongly with her pro regime-change stance in Syria. Her support for Free Syrian Army factions fighting for the Turks – the CIA-backed, jihadi-led mercenaries responsible for any atrocities perpetrated against the Kurds – not to mention her failure to call out their previous atrocities in Afrin, is indefensible. Just in case you’re reading these comments, Congresswoman, an invitation to read and respond:

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I’m disappointed in Ms Omar to say the least.
I get the distinct impression that she would support an invasion of Venezuela.

You do know that Palestinians are not full citizens of Israel, right?
You do know that human rights advocates cite scores of Israeli laws
that discriminate against Palestinians said to be citizens, right?
You do know that most Palestinians don’t live in 1948 Israel, right?


I know all of those things. I’m anti-Zionist to my core.

My point is that BDS is a homegrown movement.

Funny, that was my original point. You countered that Palestinians live in Israel as citizens,
which echoes the hoary and false Zionist claim that Israel is democratic.
What other implication did you intend?

I must have misinterpreted your comment. My bad.