How destructive, inhumane can Western sanctions get?: Study
A study says the damages of Western sanctions are evidenced by the increase in the rate of poverty, health inequalities, and education disparities in sanctioned nations.
Writing for the Financial Times, researcher Francisco Rodriguez detailed key findings of a study he conducted on the scale of the damage sanctions exert on already-vulnerable economies.
"In recent years, sanctions have become western countries’ foreign policy tool of choice to deal with hostile international actors," Rodriguez wrote, underlining a policy aimed at subduing the Global South to the will of imperialism.
The change is manifestly evidenced by a large increase in the share of sanctioned countries. As Rodriguez points out, 27% of all states and 29% of the global economy is currently subjected to sanctions. During the 1990s, that share was only 10% of all countries and 5% of the global economy.
The damages, according to Rodriguez, are evidenced by the increase in the rate of poverty as well as health inequalities and education disparities.
One of the studies that the writer examined in his analysis detailed how sanctions can go as far as causing a 26% drop in a state's GDP, whilst another found that the life expectancy of females would shorten to 1.4 years.
The damage can get so destructive that conditions would appear similar to the harm suffered during armed conflicts, "making economic sanctions possibly the deadliest weapon used by western powers."
Sanctions work by choking the public sector's access to foreign exchanges, where dollars are available. With a shortage of dollars and an isolated economy, governments are forced to cut spending on critical public institutions.
They also work by freezing the assets of central banks, inducing inflation and currency depreciation which, when both combined, create disastrous declines on real wages.
Read more: Sanctions may risk hegemony of US dollar: Yellen
Another key finding was that sanctions can trigger an effect that is opposite to what they are intended, and instead work to "protect the rents of cronies at the expense of more vulnerable populations."
US authorities have underlined the necessity to block the flow of funds to sanctioned economies to force Western values into those governments.
In the case of Syria, the US Treasury Department announced on February 10 a temporary lifting of some Syria-related sanctions following calls from the Syrian state and the international community in the aftermath of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey.
In a statement, the Department indicated that the move "authorizes for 180 days all transactions related to earthquake relief that would be otherwise prohibited by the Syrian Sanctions Regulations," which Syria dubbed "misleading".
This came as the West generally mobilized rapidly to send aid and rescue workers to Turkey but excluded Syria and neglected it, while people suffocated and took their last breath under the rubble.
Read more: Cholera resurges in Syria post-earthquake