To my mind sanctions have always been used to cause starvation, impede medical care/access etc., You know increase misery in general.
Thinking about all those dead Iraqi children deemed worth it by Madeline Albright.
These latest sanctions imposed allegedly against Russia, are truly and actually the sanctioning of the global masses. Intended to create harm globally.
US and allied economic sanctions against Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine have not achieved their declared objectives. Instead, they are worsening economic stagnation and inflation worldwide. Worse, they are exacerbating hunger, especially in Africa.
Sanctions cut both ways
Unless approved by the UN Security Council (UNSC), sanctions are not authorized by international law. With Russia’s veto in the UNSC, unilateral sanctions by the US and its allies have surged following the Ukraine invasion.
During 1950-2016, ‘comprehensive’ trade sanctions have cut bilateral trade between sanctioning countries and their victims by 77% on average. The US has imposed more sanctions regimes, and for longer periods, than any other country.
Unilateral imposition of sanctions has accelerated over the past 15 years. During 1990-2005, the US imposed about a third of sanctions regimes around the world, with the European Union (EU) also significant.
The US has increased using sanctions since 2016, imposing them on more than 1,000 entities or individuals yearly, on average, from 2016 to 2020 – nearly 80% more than in 2008-2015
Monetary authorities have been raising interest rates to curb inflation, but such efforts do not address the main causes of higher prices now. Worse, they are likely to deepen and prolong stagnation, increasing the likelihood of ‘stagflation’.
Sanctions were supposed to bring Russia to its knees. But less than three months after the rouble plunged, its exchange rate is back to pre-war levels, rising from the ‘rouble rubble’ promised by Western economic warmongers. With enough public support, the Russian regime is in no hurry to submit to sanctions.
Sanctions pushing up food prices
War and sanctions are now the main drivers of increased food insecurity. Russia and Ukraine produce almost a third of world wheat exports, nearly 20% of corn (maize) exports and close to 80% of sunflower seed products, including oil. Related Black Sea shipping blockades have helped keep Russian exports down.
All these have driven up world prices for grain and oilseeds, raising food costs for all. As of 19 May, the Agricultural Price Index was up 42% from January 2021, with wheat prices 91% higher and corn up 55%.
The World Bank’s April 2022 Commodity Markets Outlook notes the war has changed world production, trade and consumption. It expects prices to be historically high, at least through 2024, worsening food insecurity and inflation.
Western bans on Russian oil have sharply increased energy prices. Both Russia and its ally, Belarus – also hit by economic sanctions – are major suppliers of agricultural fertilizers – including 38% of potassic fertilizers, 17% of compound fertilizers, and 15% of nitrogenous fertilizers.
Fertilizer prices surged in March, up nearly 20% from two months before, and almost three times higher than in March 2021! Less supplies at higher prices will set back agricultural production for years.
Sanctions hurt poor most
Even when supposedly targeted, sanctions are blunt instruments, often generating unintended consequences, sometimes contrary to those intended. Hence, sanctions typically fail to achieve their stated objectives.
Many poor and food insecure countries are major wheat importers from Russia and Ukraine. The duo provided 90% of Somalia’s imports, 80% of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s, and about 40% of both Yemen’s and Ethiopia’s.
It appears the financial blockade on Russia has hurt its smaller and more vulnerable Central Asian neighbours more: 4.5 million from Uzbekistan, 2.4 million from Tajikistan, and almost a million from Kyrgyzstan work in Russia. Difficulties sending remittances cause much hardship to their families at home.
Although not their declared intent, US measures during 1982–2011 hurt the poor more. Poverty levels in sanctioned countries have been 3.8 percentage points higher than in similar countries.
Sanctions also hurt children and other disadvantaged groups much more. Research in 69 countries found sanctions lowered infant weight and increased the likelihood of death before age three. Unsurprisingly, economic sanctions violate the UN Convention on the Rights of Children.
World hunger rising
As polemical recriminations between Russia and the US-led coalition intensify over rising food and fuel prices, the world is racing to an “apocalyptic” human “catastrophe”. Higher prices, prolonged shortages and recessions may trigger political upheavals, or worse.
Economic sanctions are the modern equivalent of ancient sieges, trying to starve populations into submission. The devastating impacts of sieges on access to food, health and other basic services are well-known.
Alienating Russia with tougher sanctions threatens to prolong the crisis in Ukraine and spread a humanitarian disaster far beyond its borders, a senior official from China’s embassy in London has said.
Speaking at an event organized by the Society for Anglo Chinese Understanding (SACU), Minister Counsellor Wang Qi warned against the harm caused by ‘weaponizing’ the global economy.
“The entire world should not be held hostage, the ordinary people around the world should not be made to pay,” he told the online discussion. “The global economy must not be politicized and used as a tool or even a weapon in this crisis, as this would trigger a more serious crisis in global finance, trade, energy, science, technology, food security and industrial supply chains.”