The international response has been lukewarm, however, because the world
needs Iranian oil. But we cannot underestimate the irrational, almost
manic desire of some neoconservatives to attack Iran one way or another,
even if it means crippling a major source of oil and destabilizing the
Make no mistake about it:
Economic sanctions are acts of aggression. Sanctions increase poverty
and misery among the very poorest inhabitants of targeted nations, and
they breed tremendous resentment against those imposing them. But they
rarely hurt the political and economic elites responsible for angering
American leaders in the first place.
In fact, few government
policies are as destructive to our economy as the embargo.
While embargoes sound
like strong, punitive action, in reality they represent a failed policy
that four decades of experience prove doesn't work. Conversely, economic
engagement is perhaps the single most effective tool in tearing down
dictatorships and spreading the message of liberty.
It is important to note
that economic engagement is not the same thing as foreign aid. Foreign
aid, which should be abolished immediately, involves the U.S. government
spending American tax dollars to prop up other nations.
Embargoes only hurt the
innocent of a targeted country. While it may be difficult for the leader
of an embargoed nation to get a box of American-grown rice, he will get
it one way or another. For the poor peasant in the remote section of his
country, however, the food will be unavailable.