The Victims of Iran Sanctions

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

Iranians’ access to medicine is being choked off by the Trump administration’s illegitimate reimposition of sanctions:

The number of European and Iranian banks conducting such transactions has dwindled, observers say. The refusal to process payments has alarmed Iranian importers. Some say they fear transactions with outside banks could cease altogether, prompting shortages of vital goods, including medicine.

“You just don’t know when other parties are going to be added or targeted. What was true yesterday may not be true this afternoon,” said Alan Enslen, an international trade lawyer at Baker Donelson in Washington, explaining how companies are weighing the risks.

When even reputable private banks such as Parsian Bank have been designated by the Trump administration, there is tremendous uncertainty about whether doing any business in Iran will be safe for European and other foreign companies. Most firms are going to avoid the risk, and that inevitably means that ordinary Iranians will lose access to vital imported goods or those goods will become prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of people that need them. The sanctions not only affect transactions for bringing in imported medicine, but they can also prevent the import of raw materials that Iran’s own pharmaceuticals need to make medicine. The result is that a great many sick people who were previously able to get the medicine they needed will be cut off from their treatment. The administration hides behind its formal exemption of humanitarian goods while implementing a policy that deprives people of those same goods. Iran hawks want to inflict pain on the population, but they don’t want to be held responsible for causing that pain.

Continue reading “The Victims of Iran Sanctions”

Progress or Failure in North Korea?

In this same week the New York Times asserted North Korea is engaged in a “great deception” over its nuclear forces, South Korean unification minister Cho Myoung Gyon is visiting the United States with plans to meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a Member of Congress, and to address several forums.

Will he speak of diplomatic failings and deceptions? Or will he talk about how to make progress as the two allies seek a balance between economic rewards and North Korean denuclearization?

It’s likely the latter. Cho may compare the situation to one year ago, when the Council of Foreign Relations put the chances of nuclear war at 50%. Since then: the Olympics attended by North and South, the Trump-Kim-Moon summit, multiple intra-Korea summits, and positive steps economically and symbolically. The reality is we are watching complex diplomacy unfold in real time, meaning things can appear to move slowly. But with the Americans, the minister is likely share a perspective that with the movie played at double-speed a different picture emerges.

Continue reading “Progress or Failure in North Korea?”

Saudi Arabia and the Canadian Arms Lobby

One has to admire the Canadian government’s manipulation of the media regarding its relationship with Saudi Arabia. Despite being partners with the Kingdom’s international crimes, the Liberals have managed to convince some gullible folks they are challenging Riyadh’s rights abuses.

By downplaying Ottawa’s support for violence in Yemen while amplifying Saudi reaction to an innocuous tweet the dominant media has wildly distorted the Trudeau government’s relationship to the monarchy.

In a story headlined "Trudeau says Canada has heard Turkish tape of Khashoggi murder", Guardian diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour affirmed that "Canada has taken a tough line on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record for months." Hogwash. Justin Trudeau’s government has okayed massive arms sales to the monarchy and largely ignored the Saudi’s devastating war in Yemen, which has left up to 80,000 dead, millions hungry and sparked a terrible cholera epidemic.

Continue reading “Saudi Arabia and the Canadian Arms Lobby”

Counting the Real Costs of the War on Yemen

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

The fighting in Yemen has killed at least 57,000 people, and the real death toll is likely much higher:

The database gives an indication of the scope of the disaster wreaked in Yemen by nearly four years of civil war. At least 57,538 people – civilians and combatants – have been killed since the beginning of 2016, according to the data assembled by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, or ACLED.

That doesn’t include the first nine months of the war, in 2015, which the group is still analyzing. Those data are likely to raise the figure to 70,000 or 80,000 [bold mine-DL], ACLED’s Yemen researcher Andrea Carboni told The Associated Press. The organization’s count is considered by many international agencies to be one of the most credible, although all caution it is likely an underestimate because of the difficulties in tracking deaths.

Continue reading “Counting the Real Costs of the War on Yemen”

New Study: War on Terror Cost $5.9 Trillion (and Counting). Do You Feel Safe?

Seventeen years of “war on terror” has cost the United States nearly six trillion dollars. How are we doing? Any victories? Nope. Not a one. In Afghanistan the Taliban re-claim new territory daily. Iran’s influence has increased due to our policies. Al-Qaeda was viewed by the Washington warmongers as an ally in the fight to overthrow Assad in Syria. Are we getting ripped off? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.