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Related Categories: Americas | International | U.S.
End Sanctions on the "Troika of Tyranny", and Learn from the World
by Laura Wells
Sunday Feb 28th, 2021 11:40 AM
The US could learn a lot from other countries, instead of placing lethal sanctions against them. Trump ramped up sanctions against many countries including the "Troika of Tyranny" of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Biden has been following the same dead-end path. There are healthy alternatives.
The US is moving away, deliberately or not, from an overrated position of being the strongest imperial super-power — both militarily and economically — that the world has ever known. It is "overrated" because being an empire has not done a good job of generating real happiness, health, justice, and safety. To achieve better life for current and especially for future generations, Washington needs to reduce the bloated (and still increasing) military budget, stop interfering in other nations, and learn from the world.

As the US stops being an empire, it can become a law-abiding member of the United Nations. The US can end its 21st century version of war, which has relied less on soldiers and more on what the U.N. charter opposes as "unilateral coercive measures." The US calls these coercive measures sanctions, and they are every bit as lethal as war.

CUBA: How ludicrous is it to continue a blockade against Cuba that's been going on for more than 60 years? How can the US not admit its regime-change policy has failed? It has only hurt real people, both in Cuba and the US, for example, when Cuban medical help was refused after Hurricane Katrina. The Henry Reeve Brigade has sent close to 10,000 medical professionals in 15 years to dozens of countries to help during times of major disasters and health crises like hurricanes and the COVID pandemic. Many citizens of the world are now supporting the Henry Reeve Brigade for a Nobel Peace Prize, https://www.cubanobel.org/nobelcuba.

VENEZUELA: What if Mitch McConnell declared the November 2020 election fraudulent, declared himself the legitimate president not Biden, got recognized by the European Union, and got piles of US dollars from EU banks? Or what about substituting "Nancy Pelosi" and "Trump" after November 2016. How can both Trump and Biden recognize Juan Guaidó as president of Venezuela when Venezuelans voted for Nicolás Maduro, in elections that are more reliable and verifiable than elections in the US?

NICARAGUA: That brings me to the third nation listed in former National Security Advisor John Bolton's "Troika of Tyranny." An email from Alliance for Global Justice inspired me to sign up for a "Yes to Sovereignty, No to Sanctions!" delegation to Nicaragua in March. I have been to the other two countries on Bolton's list: Venezuela several times and Cuba once, and I saw that they were not tyrannies at all. Nicaragua is an interesting player on the world stage. Many people who seem to share the same values against US imperialism, disagree strongly about Nicaragua's president Daniel Ortega. What is the truth? It is clear that the US government and media have a vast ability to turn people against any head-of-state who "probably doesn't have the interest of the United States at heart." That's the phrase used by CIA director George Tenet as shown in the film about the US-backed 2002 coup against Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iH5nzZU0qCc.

By the way, all three Bolton-designated "Troika of Tyranny" countries have very good statistics regarding COVID management, even if you factor in the opposition's disputes with the official figures found at https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/.

These international matters do affect the US domestically. It is apparent from his first months in office that Biden needs unrelenting pressure to use his presidential power to undo the Trump executive orders that ramped up or initiated crippling sanctions. Exerting that pressure is the job of everyone. Mark Engler and Paul Engler nail it in this article https://popularresistance.org/its-a-myth-that-presidents-welcome-movement-pressure/. Their article quotes writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, who describes the moral of the story at https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/06/evolving/240972/, “[P]oliticians respond to only one thing — power. This is not the flaw of democracy, it's the entire point. It's the job of activists to generate, and apply, enough pressure on the system to affect change.” Movement strategist Jonathan Matthew Smucker puts it, “We don't persuade them morally. We persuade them with power.” Insistent pressure from the outside continues to be essential, even if voters put the “right” people in office.

In order to learn from the world, an entertaining and useful documentary is "Where to Invade Next." It is not about war, but about ideas in other countries that the US could certainly adopt — or, ironically, as shown by filmmaker Michael Moore — re-adopt. The film was described as “one of the most genuinely, and valuably, patriotic films any American has ever made” according to Godfrey Cheshire of Roger Ebert reviews. One way to view it is via https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4897822/.

People in the US can love their country, and help it be better.
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