If there were one action by which the U.S. could easily stimulate the economy, slow the spread of the coronavirus, strengthen our national security and elevate our reputation among nations, why would we not do it? Such an action would be the removal of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and scores of other countries. Yet these sanctions remain, despite the suffering they impose on millions of innocent people in the midst of the global pandemic, despite the wounds it lays on the global economy of which we are a part, despite the seeds of bitterness we are sowing and the blowback from it that we shall surely reap someday, and despite the soiling of our national reputation around the world. Our leaders hide behind the figleaf of barely workable humanitarian exceptions embedded in the sanctions and the bureaucratic maze of our overall sanctions regime, thus betraying their awareness that the sanctions are official cruelty. Sanctions are a shortsighted, counter-productive policy ridden with opportunities for corruption and rampant with scattershot damage to non-target states. The sanctions must end.
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