, The McLaughlin Group
Sanctions are under siege. The congressional practice of using economic and/or trade penalties to force other nations to conform our world view -- sanctions -- are now finally being held in disrepute. No other nation in the world employs capricious and arbitrary sanctions with such reckless abandon, so says the new Washington wisdom.
Sanctions are imposed by laws originating in Congress with little or no executive, i.e. White House, discretion. Clinton officials, notably Stuart Eizenstat, say that sanction mania creates chaos, confusion, strains in relations with allies, without achieving the goals for which the sanctions were imposed, indeed actually working against those very goals.
Currently, the U.S. has in place imposed unilateral sanctions against two-thirds of the entire world: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gambia, Georgia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Moldova; Myanmar, otherwise known as Burma; Mexico; and to save you the "longueurs" of my reading this catalog, please see your TV screen for the remaining 41 nations afflicted with our U.S. unilateral sanctions.
Besides paralysis and obstruction, sanction mania is costly to the U.S., the compulsive sanctioner. In 1995 alone, $20 billion was lost in U.S. exports, thanks to sanctions. And that translates to more than 200,000 jobs lost.
Question: Is the debunking of U.S. unilateral sanctions, now going on, a good idea? And should the Congress wake up to this clarion call for sanctions reform? I ask you "Clarion" Page.