PATRICK LAWRENCE: Iranian Tankers & the Age of Interdiction

Two forms of interdiction — the steady expansion of U.S. sanctions and our stunning drift toward  unmasked censorship — have begun to intersect. 

Iranian tanker arriving in Venezuelan waters, May 2020. (YouTube)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

Over the weekend, a sixth Iranian cargo ship entered Venezuelan waters and is due to dock shortly. It follows a convoy of five Iranian tankers laden with gasoline to supply Venezuelan refineries. The freight this time, according to the Iranian embassy in Caracas, is humanitarian aid — food. There are unconfirmed reports the ship also carries spare parts for refineries in need of repairs.

Earlier last week, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that Mexico would sell gasoline to Venezuela for humanitarian reasons were Caracas to ask for assistance. The Maduro government has so far made no such request.

Iran is acting in open defiance of extensive American sanctions against Venezuela. The Islamic Republic, of course, is already burdened by the most extensive sanctions regime the U.S. has ever imposed.

AMLO, as the Mexican leader is commonly known, has just put his hand up to follow Tehran’s example. He acts with forewarning: Last week the U.S. sanctioned Mexican companies that provided water to Venezuela under a previously agreed oil-for-food arrangement.

These events deserve careful consideration. So does the stunning new drift toward open, unmasked censorship in the U.S. Sanctions and censorship are not unrelated. They are two forms of interdiction. Is ours the Age of Interdiction, then? If so, why do we find ourselves in these circumstances and where will this new age lead us? These are our questions.

Sanctions Since 9/11 

President George W. Bush delivers remarks on Sept. 24, 2001, on his executive order on financial sanctions against terrorist networks. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell at right; Secretary of Treasury Paul O’Neill in middle. (Tina Hager, George W. Bush Presidential Library)

Sanctioning those the U.S. leadership considers adversaries, usually with no basis in international law, is nothing new, of course. Washington has relied ever more heavily on sanctions since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Along with military deployments, the coups we insist on calling “regime changes,” and various sorts of covert operations, sanctions are the primary instruments of American foreign policy in the 21st century.

Scores of nations are now under one or another form of U.S. sanctions. The Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on more than 14,000 people, companies, and assorted institutions in the post–2001 period.

In the last month, it has imposed new sanctions on Venezuela, new sanctions on Syria and new sanctions on dozens of Chinese companies; Congress is now debating bills restricting the activities of Chinese companies in the U.S. and imposing yet more sanctions on Chinese officials for their management of the Uighur question in Xinjiang Province.

Ten days ago the Trump administration announced that it will impose sanctions on officials and judges at the International Criminal Court who are investigating war crimes in Afghanistan during the 19 years since the U.S. invasion shortly after the Sept. 11 events. This surely ranks among Washington’s most daring uses of sanctions, given 123 nations are party to the statute that established the ICC in 2002.

There are obvious advantages to this marked resort to sanctions. Those who suffer most, and not infrequently die, are innocent people in distant nations. These victims of U.S. power are invisible to Americans. No body bags arrive at Dover Air Force Base. Americans don’t have to think about what is being done in their names, as most appear to prefer.

Sanctions Change Plenty

It used to be said that sanctions are pointless because they don’t change anything. This is patently not so. They do not change power structures and policy in targeted countries, and in this regard sanctions regimes must be counted failures. But they change plenty else.

They damage or destroy entire economies. They are flagrant breaches of human rights. They amount to collective punishment — a war crime under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. What they change most is the level of international contempt for the U.S. and — let this be said — for the indifference most Americans display as their leaders advance a foreign policy that is essentially criminal in all of its cardinal aspects.

The Bible-thumping, wife-son-and-dog-loving Mike Pompeo likes to cite scripture in his personal twitter account, @mikepompeo. Go and have a look. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” is among the secretary of state’s recent favorites. “We live by faith, not by sight” is a variant recently quoted. Remarkably, the first of Pompeo’s citations (Matthew 9: 35) is dead wrong and the second (2 Corinthians 5: 7) is inaccurate. But one grasps our wholesome top diplomat’s point well enough: He is blindly indifferent to the consequences of the sanctions policy he oversees along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.  

Vulnerable Foreign Policy

(Twitter @medeabenjamin, March 11, 2020)

The fundamental vulnerability of a foreign policy excessively dependent on sanctions is now emerging, in my read: They are approaching a point of diminishing returns. At the horizon sanctions intended to isolate others, stand to isolate the U.S. if taken to logical extremes. This risk is now evident. Iran and Venezuela are dedicated to building bilateral ties without reference to American sanctions; AMLO’s offer to Caracas is self-evidently an expression of contempt for U.S. prohibitions.

We had better read the winds well. No one joins the U.S. in threatening retaliation in these cases. A stupid move at a time, the policy cliques in Washington are turning us into the loneliest nation on earth.  

When the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear accord two years ago last month, then to begin its shamefully inhumane sanctions program, the European signatories were too mealy-mouthed (per usual) to confront the U.S. directly. But one grows more confident this is changing. The ICC investigations proceed; Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy director, came out last week to oppose the sanctions Washington plans against ICC jurists and investigators.

The Censorship Crisis

Now to the censorship crisis. There is much to be noted about this.

Prominent among those favoring the creeping censorship that now besets us, remarkably enough, are those in media themselves. Censor the president, they insist. Censor our opinion pages, the cry went up at The New York Times after it published a controversial commentary by Tom Cotton, the Arkansas Republican in the Senate. Cotton is plainly lost anywhere beyond Little Rock’s city limits, fair enough, but he reflects a considerable portion of American opinion for better or worse.

At this point, sanctions and censorship begin to intersect. Pompeo’s State Department has been campaigning since last year to get social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — to block the accounts of Iranian officials. It was only a matter of time before Silicon Valley began cooperating on such projects. 

Over the weekend, Twitter reportedly shut down the account of a just-formed group opposed to America’s insistent drift into a new Cold War with China. Brian Becker, a Washington radio host, posted this following tweet. It includes a link to a petition calling for the account to be reinstated. Your columnist is a signatory:

There is something important to note here. Silicon Valley companies such as those just noted are not media companies in the ordinary meaning of this term. They are not “press.” They are technology companies founded for profit and with no readily evident understanding of media or of questions related to First Amendment. Are we surprised to find them making an utter mess of it as they appoint themselves arbiters of what does and does not deserve the light of day? They are in way, way, way over their unschooled heads.

This same holds in the case of the press itself. Those advocating censorship against their own profession — typing these phrases prompts disbelief, in truth — display little knowledge of media ethics or their responsibilities as journalists — or of history and political economy altogether. I blame this strange phenom partly (and only partly) on generations of lousy education as administered by these people’s seniors.

At bottom, sanctions are the means by which the U.S. keeps the empire in order — if order is what we find when we look out our windows. The new wave of censorship is of a piece with this. It is not ideologically neutral, we must note — censorship never is. In the American case it is dedicated to the preservation of a very specific narrative, the narrative of empire. Those deviating from this narrative are those censored.

So does our habit of sanctioning others come home at last. “The Age of Interdiction” is intended to suggest a political and ideological totality. This cannot endure eternally, just as empires never do, but it is with us now.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutistHis web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site. 

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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33 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: Iranian Tankers & the Age of Interdiction

  1. June 25, 2020 at 22:16

    The good news is the Twitter account of Pivot to Peace has been restored.

    Another link to the site is – hXXps://peacepivot.org/ – where you may sign the petition

  2. Brain Radio
    June 24, 2020 at 03:13

    America is basically the continuation of the old East India Company and flying its flag. Talk about arrogance then you’d have to include merry old England who has literally stolen billions from Venezeula in gold through the Bank of England and refuses to release it unless they can decide for the Venezuelan people who their president is. In other words theft and extortion.

  3. Sam F
    June 23, 2020 at 19:58

    The tyranny of US censorship and sanctions is caused by the moral and political corruption of money power, also involving poor citizenship caused by corrupt mass media culture and “generations of lousy education.”
    The lowest scammers rise as tyrants in an unregulated market economy, waving the flag as they trample the Constitution. Tyrants must create foreign enemies to pose as protectors, as Aristotle noted, and attack all forms of opposition by all means. Fools buy their narratives of imperialism, dominance, and superiority for personal gain.
    The US is controlled by money power because the founders provided no protection of democratic institutions against corruption by economic powers that did not then exist, and the middle class was too preoccupied with its emergence from poverty to rebel for reforms as Jefferson noted was necessary in every generation. So mass media, technology companies, judiciary, executive agencies, politicians and parties now represent only money power. The US has no democracy, only a sham controlled by money. Its judiciary scorns its own Constitution to throw all cases to money powers. Those who believe in reform by lawsuits and elections always wake up too late. The US cannot be reformed without recycling: it is a dead tree in the forest of democracies.
    Any reform scenario requires that the US be isolated, so that its tyranny becomes a class war, targeting most of its former servants, and exposing the remaining servants of tyranny as traitors not heroes. That requires that US tyranny at last makes it ‘the loneliest nation on earth” which “no one joins” in retaliation against those who disregard its sanctions and threats against the ICC. So the circus of US foreign policy and disregard of its Constitution is a sign that it is headed for recycling to restore democracy and benefit everyone.

  4. Puff
    June 23, 2020 at 19:33

    “Cotton is plainly lost anywhere beyond Little Rock’s city limits, fair enough, but he reflects a considerable portion of American opinion for better or worse.”

    Americans’ opinion don’t come from nowhere, and this is like the chicken and egg. I don’t like formal censorship, but if the media were to stop giving Cotton, Kristol, Maddow, and other scum platforms, people’s opinions would improve. Just because the media has a right to expose millions of people to propaganda from psychopathic warmongers doesn’t mean someone wanting them to stop is a fascist advocating censorship. Think of it as a customer complaining about a product.

    • AnneR
      June 24, 2020 at 06:36

      Puff – 1. unfortunately many more among the population really care not at all what we are doing to other countries, how many we are killing, injuring, homes, ways of life we are deliberately destroying whether by bombing or via economic sanctions. Not happening here; all but no blowback (and when there is it is:how dare they??? we do not deserve this!!! and the like). Shrug shoulders – even though, if asked, these people would likely be “anti-war” (theoretically, in certain circumstances – a draft, for instance). And many of these people are highly educated, comfortably off, view themselves as “progressive” and are either Blue face supporters or Lesser-evil voters.

      2. I would disagree with any form of censorship. That is a truly slippery slope, a fully Orwellian world. It is already bending too much that way as it is. It is far better to know exactly who and what rather than have those views, ideas, beliefs hidden away. It really doesn’t matter whether we agree with their worldviews or vehemently oppose them – how can we say, accept that today the ideas, views “we” disagree with should be eradicated from public view and then object if the same line is taken with ours? (After all the line that war is good, humanitarian, that economic sanctions are okay, that overthrowing governments we don’t like are all fine and dandy is NOT restricted to the Red Faces and is promoted, blatantly or more subtly by all of MSM.)

  5. Steve Abbott
    June 23, 2020 at 17:15

    USAID publishes a newsletter internationally, called “Water Currents”, the current issue of which is dedicated to WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) and financing. This issue makes much of the positive effects of finances and means of financing, upon the water sector.
    How then, can the US government, or any western government, pretend to be unaware of the devastating effects of interdicting the financial dealings of an entire nation? Late in 2018, I visited 3 schools an 6 hospitals in Venezuela. For lack of replacement parts, the water supplies (and therefore sanitation facilities) were practically non-existent in all three schools, and in four out of the six hospitals. Can you imagine maternity wards and pediatric wards with not a single working toilet, shower, or hand-wash faucet? That is far worse than degrading. It is murder, repeated over and over again.
    A fifth hospital could not operate its four dialysis machines for lack of the needed parts for reverse-osmosis filtration.
    The peons of the USA claim not to be interfering with humanitarian aid, and yet they deliberately attempt to prevent financial dealings that are essential to the purchase of these needed spare parts, along with medicines, and even food.
    A UN appeal for sanctions relief during the pandemic has been ignored, but in light of the obvious cruelty, not to mention illegality, of these measures in the first place, I suppose it is not surprising that the perpetrators consider that added cruelty to be simply an additional success of their tactics. The exceptional state and its peons. Makes me want to cry

    • June 24, 2020 at 15:11

      Steve.
      I thank you, & all others, for these remarks. May i be in touch w/ you about a matter you raise in your comment? I would appreciate it. Please use pl@patricklawrence.us. Kind rgds. Patrick

  6. Wilbrod Madzura
    June 23, 2020 at 16:39

    So-called International financial institutions are one with the empire-building project of the US. Indeed, the IFIs were created to sustain and superintend empire objectives. Nations opposing the US regime’s “full spectrum dominance” face an uphill battle: there is a danger of being invaded, their peoples murdered, Floyd style, and having their economies eviscerated. The old men at the helm want to go out on a blaze of glory. The Bolton caper, in my estimation, is of no consequence to the real peril we find ourselves in: reckless incursions and destabilization of disfavored regimes, and a coddling of those whose human rights records are anything but salutary. Truth be told, Americans understand little let alone care for the carnage carried out in their name; the pain of the violated other, and the sham democracy subsequently imposed on a conquered people. Unless and until the European-NATO nexus breaks away from and challenges the Washington-led consensus, the world faces an immense threat.

  7. Brian Eggar
    June 23, 2020 at 14:06

    Reading the section about Mike Pompeo, the word “nincompoop” came to mind which might well mean “non compus mentis” not of sound mind.

    Perhaps we could introduce a new 21st century version “mikepompoop” which means something far far worse.

  8. Pablo Diablo
    June 23, 2020 at 13:31

    Whoever controls the media, controls the dialogue.
    Whoever controls the dialogue, controls the agenda.

  9. Michael McNulty
    June 23, 2020 at 12:36

    Americans should consider that as the country collapses into depression their criminal DC regime may have to appeal for international aid to feed its people, there may be concerted efforts by movements across the world reminding their governments of America’s cruel and murderous sanctions and demand they send no relief. “Not for that lot!” Even something as basic as coffee could become a problem. I don’t know if the US grows any of its own but it wouldn’t do well without it, and that’s before anything it needs to survive.

  10. Buffalo_Ken
    June 23, 2020 at 12:18

    Just talking out loud here, but it seems to me if basically all of the other countries of the world told the US of A to shove their sanctions up their ass, then the sanctions would actually have the effect of isolating the US of A including the companies doing business here.

    Did you all see that headline about China reaching out to Russia and India? Seems telling to me.

    -Ken

    • AnneR
      June 24, 2020 at 06:20

      BK – It is indeed well past time that the rest of the world told us to go shove our sanctions, we’re NOT abiding by them. But t’would seem that the EU countries, the UK and the rest of the 5 Eyes are either far too lickspittle (c’est possible) or actually view what the US is doing to such as Iran and Venezuela as quite all right. After all, didn’t they all jump on the Guy-Dough board as soon as the US declared him Venezuela’s leader or some such? Didn’t they walk away, chicken out – essentially, to all intents and purposes despite initial pretense at creating another financial mechanism to circumvent the $$ – of the JCPOA’s agreement ending sanctions?

      And the EU etc don’t seem interested in joining with such as Russia and China and other nations in reciprocal trading arrangements using their own currencies. It can’t simply be that such as Germany lack spinal columns???

    • robert e williamson jr
      June 24, 2020 at 15:47

      You have hit it right on the button BK and yes it is already happening. American would be well advised to see things are they really are
      and stop hoping “this will just go away like a miracle.”

    • June 24, 2020 at 19:19

      Well AnneR, I reckon the EU countries will just be left behind if they don’t get on the train of common sense. As for Germany’s spinal column and the other EU countries, I can’t speak to that, but what do they have to fear. Moreover, Russia and China don’t need them, but they would all be better off if they worked together.

      The US of A has a currency based on good faith and day after day what I observe is diminishment of this good faith and so the value of US dollar anecdotally must be going down because it is based on NOTHING but good faith. Seems precarious to me especially when all the US $ has been used for lately is propping up those who already have more US $’s then they deserve. It was stupid to go off the gold standard and it was only done for the sake of the effing bankers. The bankers need to be put into the shed with the robots and then let them kill each other.

      *******

  11. Jeff Harrison
    June 23, 2020 at 12:12

    Live by the sword, die by the sword
    What goes around, comes around
    Bullshit walks but money talks

    And the grand one by Will Rodgers:
    When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.

    The United States is dying a death by a thousand cuts, each a sanction. Countries of the world are running around American sanctions and becoming more successful at it as time goes on. More countries are conducting business in national currencies and not the US dollar. The US described the marathon reopening session on extending the START treaty as a success. Russia described it as a waste of time since the US wants Russia to get China in on the meetings AND they expect Russia to get China to come! For their part, China has said there’s no point in negotiating with the US until we start complying with the JCPOA, Paris accords, the INF treaty etc. AND since China only has 300 nukes while Russia and the US have 6,000, we should reduce our stockpiles to the 3 to 500 range first. Donnie Murdo tweeted this AM that the China trade agreement was the greatest thing since pizza and canned beer but another of the regime’s henchmen claimed that the agreement was being dumped because our intelligence has determined that COVID came from a Wuhan lab.

    And my prediction? Donnie Murdo will invite Russia to the next G7 and Russia will be a no show.

  12. Sam F
    June 23, 2020 at 10:51

    The tyranny of US censorship and sanctions is caused by the moral and political corruption of money power, also involving poor citizenship caused by corrupt mass media culture and “generations of lousy education.”

    The lowest scammers rise as tyrants in an unregulated market economy, waving the flag as they trample the Constitution. Tyrants must create foreign enemies to pose as protectors, as Aristotle noted, and attack all forms of opposition by all means. Fools buy their narratives of imperialism, dominance, and superiority for personal gain.

    The US is controlled by money power because the founders provided no protection of democratic institutions against corruption by economic powers that did not then exist, and the middle class was too preoccupied with its emergence from poverty to rebel for reforms as Jefferson noted was necessary in every generation. So mass media, technology companies, judiciary, executive agencies, politicians and parties now represent only money power. The US has no democracy, only a sham controlled by money. Its judiciary scorns its own Constitution to throw all cases to money powers. Those who believe in reform by lawsuits and elections always wake up too late. The US cannot be reformed without recycling: it is a dead tree in the forest of democracies.

    Any reform scenario requires that the US be isolated, so that its tyranny becomes a class war, targeting most of its former servants, and exposing the remaining servants of tyranny as traitors not heroes. That requires that US tyranny at last makes it ‘the loneliest nation on earth” which “no one joins” in retaliation against those who disregard its sanctions and threats against the ICC. So the circus of US foreign policy and disregard of its Constitution is a sign that it is headed for recycling to restore democracy and benefit everyone.

  13. Antiwar7
    June 23, 2020 at 09:17

    The motivations are not mysterious:

    1) Both the mainstream media and the tech giants want to please the government. The government can reward them and punish them (with access, contracts, favorable or not enforcement of laws).

    2) The mainstream media wants to put their competition, and the breakers of their valuable monopoly on “the truth”, out of business.

  14. June 23, 2020 at 09:06

    “Interdiction” is too neutral-sounding a word for what the United States routinely does now on the high seas and in other people’s waters.

    It’s simply a form of piracy. Stopping people’s trade and commerce by armed threat. Hurting the sick and poor by depriving them of needed supplies.

    And the Washington-issued sanctions, giving the piracy a faux legal framework, are nothing more than American laws applied to people who are not Americans, and without any legitimate international authority such as the UN. Well, it comes from the same gangsters who literally threaten judges of an international court, the ICC.

    I think the world is growing rather tired of America’s high-handed, self-serving methods. None of them even relates to any genuine matters of principle either, although the words “democracy” and “human rights” are often tossed around. It is America’s acts which violate principles of democratic and human rights and the rule of law.

    People should remember that not long before the outbreak of WWII, Adolph Hitler gave Germans what some, including journalist/historian William L Shirer, called one of the greatest speeches for peace ever given.

    Trump and Pompeo and Bolton and Grenell and Abrams quite literally resemble a Sicilian Mafia gang enforcing who may or may not live in the villages and territories they dominate and under what conditions. It is a throwback to another era. It is lawlessness posing as law.

    As statues to some ugly past events are pulled down, it would be nice to see some concern from Americans with the crimes being committed right now in their name.

    When we eventually get through the current storm of disease and economic crisis, America is going to stand hugely diminished in the world’s respect and in its influence. It has provided no leadership to anyone. It has been seen as selfishly seizing things for its own interests. It has viciously attacked other societies rather than cooperating. And it is even seen busily conducting war against hundreds of millions of people, mostly the poor and weak, with sanctions and blockades.

    Natural evolutionary forces at work over recent decades in America’s relative economic decline – as new nations emerged as superior competitors – will be mightily reinforced by the loss of American prestige and moral authority. Much of the post WWII world order is going to shatter like a bronze statue under the hammer. A brave new world is on its way.

  15. Drew Hunkins
    June 23, 2020 at 01:14

    “…The Islamic Republic, of course, is already burdened by the most extensive sanctions regime the U.S. has ever imposed…”

    Read: Because Trump is in a tough re-election fight they’re the most extensive sanctions Trump’s billionaire Zio-freak campaign benefactors — Adelson, Paul Singer and Bernie Marcus — have ever imposed.

  16. Procivic
    June 23, 2020 at 00:48

    Sanctions also provide an enhanced climate for the corruption that gnaws away at the political fabric of countries targeted by Wahington. Ironically, it gives the U.S. further excuse to meddle where it’s not wanted. American arrogance has discarded diplomacy, resorting instead to threats, sanctions and creating “democratic” mercenary groups to destroy societies.

    • Vaikovsky
      June 23, 2020 at 13:17

      Capitalism, neo-liberal capitalism is what is at the bottom of all this. No nation on Earth proclaims, falsely and insincerely, more rubbish about family and children and freedom and democracy, than the U.S. Look at their actions and results.
      Regime-change the U.S.

    • robert e williamson jr
      June 23, 2020 at 13:19

      Procivic right you are.

      The CIA has made a literal living off such division and destruction since around 1947 and through 911. Then came Trump, one who has never played well with others, who knew enough about CIA’s games to get himself into trouble.

      The hapless republicans rubber stamped him just as the democrats intended to rubber stamp “Hilarious Hysterical Hilary” and both got what they deserved and much more than they bargained for.

      One major benefit has been that the white skinned right wing fascist ameriklan has been “gas lit” out into the open. One can always tell that individual , you simply cannot tell him or her much! This behavior seems to be the result of their lack of basic values, metal acuity, mental flexibility, and compassion. All made worse by their apparent ignorance or caring of how they appear to others.

      These traits must be experienced to fully understand their motivations, which are to eliminate everyone they perceive as a threat. Can you say fascism?

      Apparently the cops will continue to kill unarmed blacks indiscriminately until someone stops them.

      The first mission of law enforcement must be that it purge it’s ranks of all bad actors immediately.

      Americans desperately need to get their own house in order and give the rest of the world a chance to recover.

      First objective must be to clean the house, the White House, the house of representatives and the senate. We need new blood in Washington!

      The second must be changing the laws governing security classifications. The government at large now uses the system the CIA acquired to defend itself from U.S. law , the notorious B.S. sources and method ruse. Now NSA, OHS CIA FBI, state and local law enforcement,you get the idea, all use the same “TOOL” to avoid much needed criticism and oversight.

      With the United States Department Of Justice circling the drain the end might be near especially considering that Billy P.’S bereft of any fair, just thought . ( could this be because the lack of flexibility, compassion and the self survival instinct )

      The people running the circus currently present a clear and present danger to the National Security and the health of the country.

      Thanks to CN

  17. jaycee
    June 22, 2020 at 23:41

    “What they change most is the level of international contempt for the U.S. and — let this be said — for the indifference most Americans display as their leaders advance a foreign policy that is essentially criminal in all of its cardinal aspects.”

    Well said. Using sanctions to prevent the Syrian people, for example, to begin to rebuild their shattered country is deserving of contempt. It is accelerating the efforts to do away with the US dollar as world reserve currency, which is the source of America’s outsized power.

    • TS
      June 25, 2020 at 10:29

      But note that most EU governments are lined up behind all the murderous increased sanctions against Syria.

  18. KiwiAntz
    June 22, 2020 at 21:21

    Like the criminal actions of its US Police Militia in the killing of George Floyd, by a cowardly murderous Cop, digging his knee into Floyds neck & strangling the life out of him, a cowardly America, attempts the same illegal conduct to Sovereign Nations who refuse to be slaves to this hellish, immoral Bully of a Empire by strangling the life out off said Nations via economic sanctions? But Iran & others are fighting back by openly defying the Global Tyrant by supporting sanctioned Nations, such as Venezuela & delivering humanitarian aid, which the Iranian supertankers are doing, in open defiance towards the US Empire? Also, other major Nations such as Russia & China are massively de-dollarising & trading in other currencies & building up their Gold Reserves, because they realise that the US dollar is the main source of America’s dominance as the US weaponises the Dollar to punish Nations via economic sanctions & its corrupt financial system that’s currently in its death throes? It’s no coincidence that any Nation that seeks to move away from the US dollar & Petrodollar is demonised & singled out for regime change coups by the American Empire! America’s private Bank, the Federal Reserve is currently debasing the Dollar through unlimited QE to infinity so the Dollar will collapse soon as it loses its World Reserve status & along with that collapse will be a end to American power, overnight, as a Global Hegemony! Sovereign Nations are openly defying the waning Empire & Iran has demonstrated that the demented American Empire is on the downward slope & is on the way out? It’s criminal grip is loosening due to its own, massive problems of economic collapse, massive unemployment caused by its lousy Pandemic response which has showed the World & it’s adversaries that the US is a paper tiger, that can’t even solve its own internal problems, let alone sort out the Worlds problems via Imperial overreach? Maybe the hypocrite Pompeo should read the parts in the Bible, particularly in Daniel & Revelations that specifically refer to his Nation regarding the rise & fall of the seven major World Empires? The Anglo American Empire is the last & seventh World Empire that will fall? Human History always repeats itself & the rise & fall of Empires due to Moral breakdown, violence, ineptitude & arrogance, hubris & Imperial overreach is baked in to that Empires collapse!

    • Moi
      June 23, 2020 at 16:39

      KiwiAntz, I like your analogy comparing sanctions with an indifferent US cop with its knee on the neck of largely innocent nations, slowly strangling their lives away.

      It’s a mental image that will haunt me well into the future.

  19. Aaron
    June 22, 2020 at 21:12

    Well it’s kinda become The Age of Protests, Idk if indifference is the right word that anybody feels these days, to the contrary there is a lot of passion and anger at all injustice, but the system that the elites have arranged, leaves us with no real choices that make a difference. I’ve become really skeptical about the efficacy of the protests, let’s say Code Pink could get 300 million folks to take it to the streets with some pink signs, Pompeo and Mnuchin couldn’t care less. And what would the MSM do? They’d have 24/7 coverage from the streets, making tons of money for their stations, while the cause for which they would be protesting, starving Venezuelans or Iranians, would not get any coverage at all. And in the primary debates, I didn’t hear even one question about the draconian sanctions we use. Our whole culture has become like Postman’s “Amusing ourselves to Death”, it’s all a big entertainment spectacle, with stylish, beautiful anchors/reporters, and well-dressed “journalists” working hard to basically just entertain us.

    “If I’m goin’ down in flames baby,
    I’m goin’ in style” – Yes I know – KISS

  20. Nathan Mulcahy
    June 22, 2020 at 20:34

    “This same holds in the case of the press itself. Those advocating censorship against their own profession — typing these phrases prompts disbelief, in truth — display little knowledge of media ethics or their responsibilities as journalists — or of history and political economy altogether.”

    No disbelief needed if you do not confuse “presstitutes” (those who sell their ware for good money) and “stenographers” (those who write what the power tells them to write) with journalists or the “press” (who speak truth to the power).

  21. JOHN CHUCKMAN
    June 22, 2020 at 20:14

    The fundamental problem with American sanctions is that they are illegal, and they violate the international rule of law.

    They are American laws applied to people who are not Americans, and without the support of any recognized international organization like the UN.

    The are banditry, but then so is most American foreign policy, from Palestine to Syria.

    Sometimes you wonder why they even bother pretending.

    • Dfnslblty
      June 23, 2020 at 11:12

      There is little pretence, guilt or shame any longer from wade …

    • Dfnslblty
      June 23, 2020 at 11:14

      Wade above should be:
      waDC

    • Olu
      June 24, 2020 at 01:24

      There is no pretense any longer, the whole world is watching. After so many poor decisions and deceptive moves by Washington, the next four years will be one to watch closely.

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