Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Trump is using the weapon he knows best: Economic sanctions - Eldad Beck

by Eldad Beck

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

The U.S. president is a businessman who views the world through an economic prism. Preferring to avoid the military option, he is instead using economic sanctions to bludgeon countries and regimes that pose a threat to American interests.

Donald Trump has no significant military, diplomatic or political experience. The U.S. president is a businessman and thus views the world through an economic prism. Obviously, the United States became the most important global superpower, diplomatically and militarily, because of its economic clout. Trump also understood the U.S. was close to losing its leadership status in the international arena, due to willfully weakening its own economy through globalist policies enacted by previous administrations and trade agreements within that framework.

Trump’s path to making America great again doesn’t just pass through amending these trade deals, which have hurt American industries, but also through using his country’s considerable economic might against its adversaries. Trump doesn’t plan on launching wars. He is wielding a different type of weapon to bludgeon countries and regimes that pose a threat to American interests: Economic sanctions.

Trump is applying this weapon to varying degrees against Russia, China and the European Union; and with particular fervor against the regimes in North Korea and Venezuela. Against Iran, he is going all out. Trump’s goal isn’t necessarily to topple these regimes. If they do fall, all the better. Officially, however, he wants to create economic pressure levers to force these nearly-bankrupt regimes to recalibrate their course and start cooperating with Washington to dismantle the threats that Washington wishes to eradicate.

In the case of Iran, first and foremost, this means forcing Tehran back to the negotiating table to rehash the terrible nuclear deal, which the international community co-signed some five years ago; to cease developing ballistic missiles; stop its subversive activities across the Middle East; or risk civil revolt amid the country’s deteriorating economic situation.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently told Iranian-American leaders that from the administration’s perspective, “There are no moderates anywhere in the Iranian regime.” Asked if he can guarantee that economic sanctions against Tehran won’t hurt the Iranian people, he replied: “There is no such guarantee.” Indeed, without harming the Iranian people, the internal pressure can’t be created to foster the desired changes in Tehran.

In two weeks, the American administration will intensify its economic stranglehold on Iran by canceling exemptions for the five main importers of Iranian oil. In Tehran, officials threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz to Gulf State oil tankers. Even if the U.S. doesn’t want to instigate a military confrontation with Iran, in Tehran officials know Washington will respond to any action against its allies. It’s possible the Iranian regime will have no choice but to escalate matters militarily. But even the ayatollahs know that playing with fire in such a manner, with festering civil unrest at home, could end in losing their grip on power.

Eldad Beck


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