That's the same reasoning used to justify continuing trade with China and other repressive regimes. I think of it as high-minded rationalization to justify continuing profitable business. Excuse me if I don't believe the people saying things like this really give a shit about anything but getting more money.
Successful sanctions are the exception. They're a lot like punishment. People do it not because they'll get positive outcomes, but because it feels good morally.
Do sanctions help other countries stay nice?
I'm afraid that if it came out that you could do what you wanted and it wouldn't have consequences then we'd see a lot more bad behavior.
So, while it hasn't worked on NK who knows what other countries would have tried if they could get away with it (and, I'd say, just look at history to get an idea).
If there was an even bigger superpower ready to punish them they might have behaved a whole lot better.
> Successful sanctions are the exception.
To refute, you just need to look at all sanctions, and enumerate the successful ones, and show the proportion is at least half.
If "all" sanctions is onerous, a decent sample (e.g. "sanctions in the last 30 years") would still have weight.
But simply giving an example of something that the claimant clearly agrees with - that's not even close to a refutation.
 Clearly one can disagree on what success means, but then nothing in society can yield to logic
In any case, sanctions/disinvestment caused many foreign companies to sell their South African divisions at a great discount to white industrialists. These industrialists in turn greatly benefited by opening up in the 90ies.
It’s like when parents say they hit you because they love you. But they “love” you regardless. They’re just hitting you because they’re mad.
Don't consider possibilities in one direction only. Consider the possibility that the change may exacerbate the situation. And then compare with the "no action" alternative.
Updated it for you ;)
Look at TFA. Decades of a top US ally being a human rights disaster, noone in the media cared. Until one journalist is killed..
1. Joke. In reality there are plenty of moral countries, but a lot of the economic powerhouses have clear exclusion reasons - Canada might get a seat at the table, along with Mexico perhaps.
Everyone is fine with you saying "Don't cut down the rain forest" until you actually stop people from cutting down the rain forest.
The US currently has no moral ground to preach from, and it should be ostracized until it collectively comes to its senses.
I guarantee that the immigrants are not tearing the US apart.
Those other people, who's history I don't understand? Oh, they're just bad.
Mutual investment is a significant part of Europe's relatively long, relatively peaceful recent history: a war between the great powers will only create losers.
Similarly, if you have no significant relationship (and internationally, the only relevant relationships are of the trading variety), you have no leverage for change. If I wanted to alter your behavior, isolating you won't do much. Trading with you and then, when you see the value of our trades, ask for small, incremental change is much more effective.
Granted, the West hasn't done that a lot with Saudi Arabia (though otoh, women are now allowed to drive etc - would that have happened if China was SA's primary trade partner?), it has been mostly about "sell us oil, buy our weapons, and we'll look the other way when you commit some atrocity", but that doesn't mean that the idea is always wrong.
A diversified economy would also most certainly make Saudi Arabia a better place. Right now, natural resources are pretty much the only relevant industry, and typically, that industry is controlled by a small minority. A modern economy that consists of more than one sector would change the power balance and a change in the power balance would likely curb the Wahabi fundamentalism that the royal family uses to keep their population in check.
It can be a good idea, but that's not to say that it will be successful, or that it will even be intended to be.
There was a ton of mutual investment prior to WWI. The real reason for the relatively peaceful recent history is the knowledge that war in Europe would have brought in the US and/or the Soviet Union with really bad consequences for all involved (Europe would become the "shooting gallery of the super powers")
Same goes for other tragedies as well. A lot of talk and no action.
In general, the countries with the worst human rights abuses (North Korea, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Eritrea) tend to be the ones with the most anti-business policies. The correlation between the country-level ranking of political freedom and civil liberties, and their World Bank ease of doing business rating is over 50%.
Another example was big business' demands for reform in the apartheid regime of South Africa.
Sure, the leadership may not change their stance but overtime everyone else might.
stand up for something?
Why is it acceptable to sell your soul for money, but not your body?
I can't speak to the situation of these other nations, but I've been going to Cuba for a long, long time. (Was at the University of Havana for a bit in the 90's, been visiting since.) Even during the Special Period there were tourists. Lots of them. I can tell you that there is no real "rise" in tourism.
There have been small changes in Cuban government economic policy over time, as well as changes in American policy towards Cuba. But if you ask the average Cuban on the island, I'm sure they'd tell you both of these changes in policy are precipitated more by the North Cuba Basin than they are by tourism. I generally agree with that assessment. Being that most of the movement towards these changes happened post-2004, despite the fact that there was no rise in tourism over the same period.
Point being, reported tourist numbers from Cuba are completely unreliable. (Really any reported numbers from Cuba are unreliable but that's a whole other story.) They report whatever serves the government's story in Cuba. Full stop.
I looked at the data a bit more in an attempt to find sources skeptical of the reported tourists, and I couldn't find anything. I did find the reported tourism revenue though, and though it still seems like far more tourists are visiting, the expenses per person has dropped a fair amount leading to the % of GNP from tourism dropping since 98.
This would explain why the economy doesn't seem to be benefitting despite the high rise in tourism.
This double-standard is precisely why people don't trust the USA any more.
SA escapes criticism because ostensibly they’re an ally(TM) of Israel and the US - and SA hasn’t committed state-sponsored acts of terrorism against western interests (9/11 wasn’t backed by the Saudi state - just by non-executive members of the extended royal family) and the economic and geopolitical leverage they get by being hosts of large numbers of US bases and getting OPEC to agree to use the Petrodollar which cemented the US at the centre of the world’s economy.
This. The USA takes a looong time to forgive countries that humiliate it (or that it perceives to have humiliated it). I can't see any other reason for the USA to so strongly favour the headchoppers of SA over the headchoppers of Iran; they both have lots of ahl.
[Edit: the SA headchoppers are friends of Israel, the Iran headchoppers are friends of Hezbollah. So maybe it's to do with the evangelical obsession with the Rapture, and the return of all Jews to biblical Israel; I don't know if that was a thing back in Carter's day.]
Unless you are an extreme nationalist, you have got to be happy that China lifted a billion people out of grinding poverty in 20-30 years? Now they need to work to maintain that standard of living. I hope soon they will transition to UBI and robots but in the meantime they need to earn a wage.
So you’re not happy because the people lifted out of poverty were Chinese?
If North Korea didnt have sanctions they would probably have never gotten nukes and the Kim regime would be far more benign to its own people.
Making people and families independently wealthy gives a counterweight to the government.
What we should have actually done is get off Saudi oil and stop subsidizing fossil fuels decades ago, to protect our citizens from OPEC. Then we could have actually had electric cars by now. Instead we buy oil and sell weapons. Creating jobs in this economy — oil and weapons are often closely linked.
We should care about MILLIONS OF REGULAR PEOPLE in Libya, Yemen, North Korea etc. but instead we care about Kashoggi and Libyan embassy only!
I am even less happy about Saudi Arabia. IMHO, it is the worst regime in the world (worse than NK) and I am appalled that my home country (USA) considers them “allies”
The tool should NOT be sanctions and economic isolation. It should be empowering the people on the ground, so they can build humanitarian institutions that can put a check on the government. The problem in China right now is all those institutions are being systematically dismantled. Human rights are the issue, for sure.
But remember, calling someone a dictator is very one sided. You live in the USA so you don’t get to see what USA does around the world. Mainstream media keeps quiet about it. No country is such a great “leader” which is why if we could I would argue for MORE globalism and LESS nationalism. I would want an international police force to replace all national armies, and its only job would be to de-escalate all world conflicts and force everyone to resolve conflicts through diplomacy or courts. There would need to be tons of safeguards in place to make sure we don’t concentrate power even further in the administrators of this international police force. That last part is the architectural problem. But if we don’t solve it, we will always have pockets of terrible human rights violations in sovereign countries. To nationalists — you have to care more about the sovereignty of a country’s government than human rights, every time. Caste rapes in India? Bride killings? Uyghurs in China? Bolsonaro wants to decimate the native population and chop down the rainforest for soy? Duterte killing people? Gotta stay out.
Hey I know let’s put some sanctions on it! That oughtta fix things. Eventually.
So... when will someone put sanctions on the US for Iraq or any other regime change war? Oh now we get the real rules on this level... might makes right. Well, instead of sanctions and trusting ONE country to be world police, I’d rather have more globalism, not less. But a benign kind — promoting conflict resolution and coordinating collective action solutions to global crises by design. Like making every country implement a carbon tax and dividend, to their own people, and then have corporations buy carbon credits from this fund, which would pay out to developing nations and others for reforestation and healing ecosystems (as verified from space).
What good is nationalism if we consume all the resources and make the planet hardly inhabitable? That’s the biggest question of all. What good are your national sovereignty principles when Mexico City runs out of water or Honduras and many African countries are emptied of its inhabitants due to drought?
I guess FDR’s government should have never built that interstate highway system, eh Comrade? Not like it led to an explosion of wealth in logistics, transportation, malls, franchises, and delivery to every city.
The 10s of millions killed in the “great leap forward”. The millions of non-Han in the present day in “re-education camps”. The massive environmental damage.
At least partially caused by the China trade embargo, another form of the sanctions being being recommended here to limit their influence.
Aa far as the humanitarian issues I am with you! I am not arguing for national sovereignty over human rights. In fact the opposite — I am saying sanctions don’t hurt the government (realistically, the Chinese govt isnt gonna peace out due to a trade war) and are actually a bandaid on a system of sovereign nation states who can do anything they want inside their own borders. Please see your sister comment and answer there.
I am certainly not advocating extreme measures like Holodomor or Great Leap Forward. Other countries offered aid but Russia/China refused to accept it. Similarly now with Venezuela. “National sovereignty” over “human rights” and “humanitarian concern”.
But guess what under the Irish Potato Famine it was also exacerbated due to national sovereignty of England. And guess what — there the interests were purely capitalist, to safeguard profits of landlords. Same in famines in India under the British Raj.
There is no easy solution along the lines of a capitalism - socialism dichotomy. Nor is central planning less efficient — look for example at you posting on Facebook or HN, verses some kind of decentralized site. No, we need to decentralize power to safeguard human rights, and that means lower respect for national sovereignty. At the same time we need inter-national institutions to solve collective action problems that otherwise will if not solved ultimately leave the planet ravaged by the collective human organism. And here we are talking about left vs right, capitalism vs socialism.
List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_di...
Look at both the numbers and the trends.
I agree about decentralised powers FWIW.
That said... sustainability is not just about CO2. It’s about ecosystems like the Baikal lake being ravaged. If the Chinese get to move into Siberia we may start to lose some of the largest natural ecosystems on the planet. But Bosonaro is doing that already.
Anyway, besides this point, I am sure there is a lot we agree on.
Iran regularly kidnaps dual citizens when they come to Iran and hold them without formal charges, and many disappear/die. The only reason this is a story is because we theoretically hold Saudi Arabia to a higher standard than Iran in the first place.
This is different imo, an American resident was murdered in a third country. I can assure you if this happened nobody would be talking about how important it is to keep selling arms to Iran, the way we did with Saudi Arabia.
In fact having our OWN embassy ransacked and our diplomats kidnapped has to this day resulted in no effective consequences for the Iranian regime except economic ones.
How about you stop denigrating his personhood.
Now, maybe Iran actually does do that? The difference is that they have to at least do a competent job covering it up because unlike KSA they don't act with complete immunity to any consequences or repercussions for their actions.
I mean, I get what you're saying... But isn't America named after Amerigo Vespucci?
Liechtenstein is named after the princely family there. Bolivia was named for Simon Bolivar.
Tunnel vision, moral and patriotic grandstanding, group think, not thinking about the long term consequences of actions.
Yes, Saddam Hussein was evil, but the consequences of removing him were much more dire and opened up pandora's box.
Yes, what Saudi Arabia did was gruesome, but if you respond by cutting them off totally, they will ally with China. You lose the entire region, your leverage on oil production in the middle east. You make your rivals stronger. Is that reaction proportional with the action?
Is this one incident, which is not like Saudi Arabia didnt get massive blowback for, worth the long term consequences?
Where is the media commentary which is more pragmatic and willing to look at things two steps down, a decade from now?
Which media outlets actually present the question in that format. Nobody has learnt anything from the previous problems. People are still easy to manipulate, and the media still lacks any kind of long term thinking.
This is not easy. None of the ME players can change alliances without inflaming the region
Not punishing them for this one incident can have the long term consequence of there being more such incidents. Maintaining alliances and amassing power is valuable, but only because they allow us to achieve goals. Many people, myself included, think human rights should be one of those goals.
Let them ally, tell them “have fun with that”
Same goes to any other middle eastern allies with troubling policies who we have unwavering support for. “We disagree with how you treat some human beings, have fun with Russia!” “Why havent you just been issuing debt on the international markets to fund your defense programs like the rest of us? Have fun destabilizing your whole economy, thats life!”
First, there’s the whole petrodollar thing, which in theory is a net positive in global trade (since all this external money is sloshing around in USD, there is more demand and liquidity for USD globally, and at the end of the day that means we get traded things in exchange for printing money).
It also gives us a lot of leverage over other countries the world over. If Russia is acting up, the US can pressure countries to dump oil to lower the price and hurt Russia.
A lot of these countries like SA buy a lot of US weapons which we like for economic and political reasons.
Also, the US wants the region to be stable, since Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel are all at varying degrees of being nuclear powers and don’t have great relations between each other. If there were a big war over there, it would be bad for business globally and could destabilize countries outside of the region.
Now, I’m not saying I like this state of affairs, but it’s complicated and there aren’t a lot of good guys over there, so it’s hard. At least the current state of affairs is somewhat stable.
Is this not in line with the average person’s perception of the Saudi government?
He had developed standing in the US, including journalistic circles (he was a journalist, after all).
His murder and subsequent coverup attempts were ludicrously brazen.
It [almost certainly] involved the Saudi crown prince who has been courted by the president's children/advisors.
He was merely a person residing in the US.
You would have to clarify further on this.
In general, even if you ignore that Jamal was a well known person, being killed in your own embassy is newsworthy anywhere. For a long time embassies were considered a place of refuge.
Quite some speculation if you tell me. And I am not from the USA.
And, you know, frankly - please consider the integrity of the source (NY Post). Tabloid journalism is not generally reliable, and they have a history of stating the wrong facts (i.e. lying), and it probably wouldn't be hard for me to find cases of "lying by omission".
I don't have a stake in this battle. If the Saudi government was fully complicit in the attacks, it would not shake my world view. What I don't like is lowering the threshold of evidence against an entity simply because there are good reasons not to like that entity.
No. The average person thinks we’re allies and therefore by definition Saudi Arabia is run by “good guys”.
There are so many reasons. In no particular order, here are some:
* There was so much detail available about what happened. By the standards of state-sanctioned assassination, it was very sloppy.
* It happened in Turkey, so it's part of a trend of state actors believing they can assassinate with impunity in western countries. This makes people feel unsafe.
* In the US, our leaders are siding with, or at least explicitly defending, the actors responsible for these assassinations a lot more often than is comfortable.
* When you own a factory full of printing presses and one of your employees is murdered and dismembered by a government, you make a big story out of it.
> Is this not in line with the average person’s perception of the Saudi government?
The specifics of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi are genuinely new.
A close associate of Al-Waleed bin Talal
Other countries might not like their law, but it is the same as me not liking Death Sentences in the USA, but what can I do? I am not a citizen of that country.
I know -- you have a strong negative reaction to that statement -- because you don't think they are equivalent. Fine, let's talk about the difference.
In the Obama/Trump drone equivalency case -- or pick another president and some other war -- one might argue that the people are more culpable because we have a democracy. Note that given our vantage point, we might be inclined to make fine distinctions: popular vote vs electoral college, or 52% of the support etc.