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It is sad the sanctions have that side effect. Hopefully it’s enough to affect some change in a hostile country led by an oppressive elite.



Sanctions (in the form that the US is applying them to Venezuela and Iran) are a form of economic warfare. The idea is to cause economic instability by stopping (oil) exports, and thus cause general instability. Now, there are mismanagement arguments you could make but it would be naive to ignore the massive effects that US (and importantly, US ally) sanctions have on a country that relies on exports.

The effects on Iran are not side-effects. They are clearly the primary goal.


The sanctions hurt from the bottom up. The elites who own the economy lose some money but they are eatill comfort.


The elites in countries like Iran and Venezuela derive all of their wealth by theft from the bottom 99%, without exception.

Just take a look at the extraordinary pile of wealth and power the fake theocracy in Iran has thefted away via Setad (about $100 billion stolen from the Iranian people). Reuters has done great investigative reporting on this over the years:

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/iran/#article/part1

It turns out Khamenei is nothing more than a Putin-like kleptocrat, a thief, using religion as a cover for building a massive corporate empire on the backs of the poor Iranian people (from which he aggressively steals property). Everything about modern Iran makes sense once you read about Khamenei and Setad.

The people in the bottom 99% are the only ones who can change these countries. If you could take most of the personal wealth of the members of eg the Maduro regime in Venezuela, it would change absolutely nothing. They ultimately rule by gun, through military control. The majority - including large sections of the military - has to turn against the leadership to spur change.

Countries have no moral obligation to support the Maduro or Khamenei regimes (which is what happens when you freely trade with them and prop them up through hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign investment and oil purchases). Someone will reply to this and say: well the US is exactly the same as Maduro and Khamenei (or worse). The only proper response to that is: ok, sure, boycott or embargo the US, give it your best shot.


At this point can it really be considered a side effect. It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that that is what the result will be and yet people still insist on them.


As the comment above you alluded to, and as it's been evidenced many times, it is not enough to affect change. These aren't "side effects", the poorest feel the main effect of the sanctions.


They're side effects, but not entirely unintended.

If the head of that state (and party elites etc) don't meet the requests of the sanctioning states, the ensuing poverty can mobilize the impoverished masses. This can backfire and drive them to further nationalism/jingoism, but it opens a window of opportunity for the opposition (and, more cynically, covert agents and external forces).


Like America?


Exactly like America




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