Sanctions As A Weapon of War

Sanctions as a Weapon of War


Many people think of economic sanctions as an alternative to war. However, sanctions are far from nonviolent. A study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that 40,000 so far have died in Venezuela as a result of US sanctions. During the Bill Clinton years, a study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization found that 576,000 Iraqi children were killed by sanctions.

Sanctions are made all the more deadly now by how they prevent the targeted nations from combatting COVID-19. It is estimated that by May, US sanctions will contribute to killing 3.5 million Iranians by blocking medical resources.

Far from being an alternative to war, sanctions are a US tool of war. They are intended to coerce and even topple governments disfavored by the US. In hopes of accomplishing these goals, sanctions inflict suffering on civilian populations that have nothing to do with the actions of their government leading to humanitarian disasters.

As part of Metro DC DSA’s Socialist Night School, we will be hosting a session on sanctions as a weapon of US war. The panelists will discuss the impact of sanctions on civilian populations, how sanctions are not an alternative to war, and why in light of the global pandemic sanctions are not just exceedingly cruel, but a threat to public health globally.

Cavan Kharrazian is an Iranian-American researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC, where he has studied humanitarian impacts of US economic sanctions, along with their legal implications both domestically and internationally. He holds an MA in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, where he explored debates around alternative development models and the relationship between global capital and local social movements fighting against resource-grabbing. Kevin Cashman is a senior associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC His experience includes time working in environmental protection, organizing, and progressive political advocacy, specifically supporting the expansion of social insurance and healthcare programs. Both co-authored the Jacobin article “US Sanctions Are Designed to Kill.”

Sarah Lazare is web editor at In These Times. She comes from a background in independent journalism for publications including The Nation, Tom Dispatch, YES! Magazine, and Al Jazeera America. A former staff writer for AlterNet and Common Dreams, Sarah co-edited the book “About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War.” Sarah got her start in journalism reporting for the Independent Media Center movement and has organized against U.S. militarism at home and abroad.She authored the In These Times Article “U.S. Sanctions on Iran Are Increasing Coronavirus Deaths. They Need to Be Stopped Now.”

A member of Metro DSA’s Internationalism Working Group will discuss ongoing work by DSA activists against US sanctions and how to get involved locally.

Moderated by Chip Gibbons. He is on the MDC DSA Steering Committee and co-chair of DSA’s International Committee’s Anti-War Subcommittee. He is also a journalist whose work has been featured in The Nation, Jacobin, and In These Times. He authored the Jacobin article “When Iraq Was Clinton’s War.”

Below, you will find a recording of the session and a recommended reading list.