Rick Santorum & Other GOP Candidates Wrong About Economic Sanctions For Cuba & Iran

The United States has a long history of putting sanctions on countries that do not fall in line with the U.S. point of view. At the last two GOP debates, presidential candidate Rick Santorum has espoused the belief that these sanctions work in many cases, and it would seem that he would be okay with continuing, if not expanding sanctions on many countries. This idea is wrong; it targets the wrong people, and is immoral. Sanctions are acts of aggression against the populace that is not a direct threat to the national security of the U.S.

CNN recently published an article on the effects of sanctions in Iran imposed by the U.S. and some its allies. “The lives of ordinary Iranians have been deeply touched in recent weeks by the Western sanctions. Several individuals spoke to CNN about how they are coping with staggering inflation and a plunging national currency. Although none felt comfortable being fully identified, fearful of the Islamic Republic's long reach into private lives.”

Sanctions are wrong because they target the people of a country, not the political class. Sanctions hurt the middle and lower classes of people by depriving them of supply of goods, driving up prices. In the cases of Iran and Cuba, as Santorum cites, we weren’t or are not currently at war with the people in those countries. We dislike individuals, those who espouse ideas of death and destruction, most of whom are in the political and leadership classes of these countries.  Punishing the people in these regions only bring resentment to the U.S. Our actions hurt the wider population of a country, people who are already oppressed by their government. In the Middle East, this has been a great recruiting tool for groups like Al-Qaeda. It is easy to hate America when they are the ones imposing sanctions on you, if not worse dropping bombs.

The U.S. should defend itself, but should not engage in policies that target and aggress against the wrong people. For someone who is as much as a moralist as Santorum, he should know this. Imagine if the Cuban embargo had been lifted and some idea of capitalism had been allowed to compete with the oppressive communism that has been forced upon the people of Cuba.  Imagine what we would think or do if another country like China imposed sanctions on us. 

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."  (Matthew 7:12)  The golden rule is the moral policy we should follow. Sanctions do not work; they are acts of war against the people of a country, not their government. These policies are not moral, and they are not an example of America being exceptional and leading by example.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Jason Hensley

Graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio with BA in Political Science and minor in Economics.

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