Sanctions: Diplomatic weapons of mass criminality

Mid-term elections are over, and the anticipated trouncing of Democrats in Congress took place without a hitch, even if the media selfishly played the uncertainty card.

The sad reality: the United States is a nation divided alongside economic lines of haves and have-nots, and not ideology . . . with the leadership of both parties finding common ground in a solitary, non-domestic issue: the maintenance and perpetuation of the empire. And, that’s the only political preserver this drowning, unpopular president, Barack Obama, can hang on to for what is sure to be a political legacy which cultivated mediocrity, totally lacking backbone and leadership.

Even if Obama is personally anti-war, he is likely to yield to warmongering voices which now will have an even greater echo in Congress: the voices of John McCain, Lindsey Graham and other bellicosarians in the Senate who don’t seem to mind, and actually insist, in bringing America to the portals of a nuclear war.

Barack Obama is running the risk of mistakenly looking in a mirror and seeing FDR’s image as he deals in global affairs; and, as ego-feeding as that may appear to this unpopular president, that could prove to be a catastrophic misread not just for him, but for the rest of us living in the United States, as well as others around the world who have politically cast their lot with the United States. Obama finds himself looking at Russia in much the same way as FDR did looking at Japan in 1941. However, the stakes being waged today are different, and far more extreme, from those of seven-plus decades ago; and the consequences, far more ominous.

In July 1941, the US imposed an oil embargo on Japan, demanding that it get out of China, de facto curbing any hegemonic aspirations or influence that nation might have or hope to have in Asia. The economic reality forced by the American sanctions on Japan left the Land of the Rising Sun with just two options in the summer-fall of 1941: surrender its aspirations (which compensated for the Japanese homeland very limited natural resources) and capitulate to the wishes of the United States; or, resort to war . . . which became its only plausible answer, one which resulted in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7 that year.

Seventy-three years later, America once again inflicts economic sanctions on another nation, Russia; a nation solely trying to defend its borders, perhaps also exercising the natural desire to influence, help create economic synergy in the Eurasian geopolitical region. Those aspirations of self-preservation and economic success should be judged at face value, and not antagonistically, as the US is now doing with extreme, venomous propaganda worthy of admiration by the likes of Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda under Adolf Hitler. The government in the US and the highly-influenced US mainstream media have made Russia the enemy, and Vladimir Putin, the anti-hero to be feared by the West, the personification of evil. And, naturally, the United States is exacting servitude from the European Union and NATO—the military mask worn for almost seven decades by the Pentagon to show pseudo-diversity in running the empire—in its incursion into the hinterlands in Eastern Europe.

Sanctions are just another form of warfare, where the weapons can inflict destruction and pain, and be just as explosive. Their history can be millennially traced back, some with success, others with failure and a boomerang effect. One thing we can be sure of in modern times: sanctions will prove to yield long term ill will, in many cases providing multiplying seeds of vengeance and terrorism, which we may not confront now but our children and their children certainly will. And the United States has seeded the world with this mass criminal punishment like no other nation . . . throughout the Middle East, Cuba, and now trying to destroy Russia’s emerging economy. America has for decades plowed and seeded hostility with sanctions in fertile grounds where terrorism will thrive and come back to haunt us. And, foolishly, the US continues this idiotic practice.

America does not need a sanctioner-in-chief enacting foolish edicts from the White House, but a leader in international cooperation, a leader that will safeguard this nation’s safety and legitimate interests, but also respect other nations . . . and their legitimate interests.

After this mid-term election, which has given the upper hand to the more hawkish brand of the two political warmongering parties, Barack Obama is really going to be put to the test . . . to choose between war and peace, at the holocaustic level; and that will turn out to be the most important decision of his presidency. As of right now, the US has de facto declared war on Russia . . . and, unless Obama lifts the sanctions now in place, the economic fate in Russia will soon likely determine that nation’s willingness to bet all its nuclear chips and call America’s bet at the political international poker table.

© 2014 Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at

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