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It is. But you see, those hit hardest by sanctions are neither the cause of trouble nor anti western. Those are usually people like you and i, while the “elite” can smuggle in whatever they want and access whatever they want. Not only that but regular folk is weakened and cant stand a chance against the well fed government. No sanctions means greater exposure to our way of life and thus an easier path for grassroots change. If anything, i’d make government owned proxies available to iranians and chinese and all those oppressed so they can access censored content. I’d also make it easier to smuggle in technology so they can show others what they are missing on by supporting their criminal governments.

There is a Soviet joke, on unrelated subject, but relevant.

A father informs his son that the prices have gone up. The son asks: "Does that mean that you will drink less?" - "No son, that means that you will eat less."

I have heard a form of that joke in the United States but for when taxes are increased on cigarettes. The shareholders of the tobacco companies feel the pain less than the children of the addicted.

the American analog of that would be "s__t rolls downhill". Every culture probably has a similar variant of this story.

Not a joke tho. For some people that's what it meant in communist east Europe. But good thing you brought this into discussion. Communist east Europe didn't have sanctions against, and as a result people would smuggle all sorts of western goods, up until they figured out: hey the politruks have all those fancy things, while we are told "west bad", "west capitalist corrupt", we should overthrow them. An oversimplification, but that's how it works. Regular folk get to learn that they have to struggle to access the modern world because of their OWN government, up to the point where they figure out "screw it, let's join the free world, i want my fancy cars and my fancy colour tvs, life is too short to praise a false prophecy".

It depends on sanctions and it is more nuanced usually. Usually people that are under sanctions are hit hardest by them. Other people usually are hit by their government and brainwashed by propaganda that sanctions are to blame.

Good point - sanctions are also a good propaganda tool for their corrupt governments.

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