America’s Sanctions Regime: The “Carrot and Stick” Concept


US foreign policy is ever so clever. It uses only two simple tools to achieve its commendable goals of spreading peace, prosperity and democracy throughout the World.  

These two tools are derived from the “Carrot and Stick” concept, which was historically used in training children, students, animals and backward societies. But the US modernized this concept, and replaced the carrot with “US Direct Aid” as a reward for being a “good boy”, and replaced the stick with a mace club to make it more effective when punishing “naughty boys” –  and now, has Ambassador Nikki Haley keep tabs on who is who.

Later, it fine-tuned the carrot part, and replaced some of the expensive “Aid” with the ingenious concept of “Outsourcing”. It abdicated its manufacturing throne in favor of poorer nations, as a reward for their obedience. This was a classical “Two birds with one Stone” ploy that eliminated industrial toil and pollution from its shores, and passed it to poor nations, to produce the same products at a fraction of the cost. It also enabled the US to, single handedly, create a new “Age” of human development, pompously named the “Information Revolution”, which replaced its productive industrial labor class, with hordes of pencil-pushers and keyboard-punchers and called it a Service Industry.

As with “Direct Aid”, the US could easily withdraw its goodwill, and punish truant pupils, by imposing sanctions and embargos on those they outsourced to, and imported from. “Let them eat the smart phones and Nike shoes they produce, because we ain’t buyin!”, became a very powerful incentive to teach many primitive cultures to “Waltz” gracefully.

As for the mace club, the US soon realized that its blatant and excessive use of this tool was becoming an embarrassment, so its clever Think Tanks quickly invented a new “Invisible Hand” to clobber those creating mischief. They handed the mace-clubs to a plethora of indigenous dictators, agents, collaborators and purpose designed NGO’s (Non-governmental Organizations). This way, the mace club could swing to its heart’s content, without rocking the US boat, or the American public conscious.

But some pupils were not very bright, and failed to pass to the level above, repeating their classes many times. This resulted in the increase of “class dummies”, who were older, bigger and stronger than normal students. These ogres couldn’t be easily bashed on the head, without the risk of a nasty reaction that could hurt the teachers.

Again, the clever Think Tanks saved the day, and broadened the scope of sanctions & embargoes to cover all aspects of trade, banks, companies and even citizens of foreign sovereign nations. It was recommended that such broad sanctions be used against these “overgrown stupid students”, in partnership with other like-minded allies or, in the worst-case scenario, unilaterally with Tomahawks. Happily, this turned out to be a very successful ploy, and brought most of their “enemies” down to their knees, making them see the “light” – albeit from the US’s point of view.

The US foreign policy masters were very pleased with the new “sanctions” toy and, like the proverbial “kid in a candy store”, they over-ate. And then, one day, they woke up with a terrible stomachache; they had imposed so many sanctions and embargoes, that there was no one left to trade with!

And to make matters worse, they suddenly discovered that they no longer had food, clothes, furniture, appliances, etc. They had long ago, outsourced those items to the nations now sanctioned!

But the worst, remains around the corner. As the impact of the sanctions sinks in, the victims may, one day, realize that the so-called “Information Revolution” is only a paper tiger, protected by a flimsy armor called “International Copyright Law Treaties”, which can be abrogated, circumvented or even blacklisted and replaced by indigenous software, services and hamburgers, thus removing the final fig leaf, and exposing what no one really wants to see.

Marwan Salamah is a Kuwaiti economic consultant and publishes articles on his blog: 

Featured image is from Michal Shlapentokh-Rothman / Prezi.

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Articles by: Marwan Salamah

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