Yesterday’s post discussed the effects of war on food prices and productions. Today, we’re looking at starvation inflicted by “economic” policies like economic sanctions. As I’ve mentioned, I’m working on a larger piece about sanctions that focuses on Iraq, but the US is currently in the process of setting up a brutal sanctions regime in Afghanistan. Further, there’s no good reason for these sanctions. There’s no reason to think they’ll influence Taliban policy, or to think that they’ll somehow result in regime change. Many of the people at the top of the US government are the same ones who push the previous sanctions against Iraq, and it seems very clear that no amount of death and misery will ever make them change their minds.
Marcus Ranum says
The US exhibited a similar punitive bitterness toward Vietnam. Remember how the US droned on endlessly about the missing POWs (there never were any) and the lost remains of American dead? I thought that was a bit louche, complaining from the side that had used B-52 strikes that disintegrated people so thoroughly that nobody ever found large fragments of their families. Yet we whined and threatened punitive sanctions on them.
The US really didn’t have a decent causus belli for Afghanistan. We asked the taliban to turn over Bin Laden and they said “we don’t know where he is” and whammo, we invaded them and suddenly it was “nation building” time. I guess we’re all butthurt that they didn’t build a nice shiny nation when we asked them to?
Yeah, sanctions on a whole country because you don’t like the government are both cruel and ineffective. The regime in power just hoards what limited resources there are, and ordinary people are the ones who suffer.
Pierce R. Butler says
Marcus Ranum @ # 1: The US exhibited a similar punitive bitterness toward Vietnam.
And we’re still punishing Iran for deposing our favorite puppet Shahanshah, ~43 years ago.
Moral of the story: do not anger the Godfather.