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America’s sanction diplomacy tramples on international rules

By Ye Zhu (People's Daily Online)    15:05, October 12, 2020

“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.” This quote from American psychologist Abraham Maslow vividly depicts America’s current sanction diplomacy.

Statistics from the monthly magazine The Atlantic show that the U.S. has 7,967 sanctions in place as of May 3, 2019. According to the statistics of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, the U.S. government has imposed a total of more than 3,200 sanctions on foreign entities and individuals from 2017 to 2019.

America’s abusive use of sanctions, however, is not to defend humanitarianism, uphold equity and justice, or assume its “due” international responsibility as a superpower, but in essence reflects America’s “me-first” mentality and supremacy.

On Oct. 8, the U.S. announced to impose a new round of sanctions on Iran, putting 18 major Iranian banks on blacklist.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. has insisted on long-term sanctions against Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and other countries, leading to greater humanitarian disasters in these countries.

During the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN), the U.S. unilaterally announced sanctions and export controls against 27 entities and individuals related to Iranian nuclear, missile, and conventional weapons programs, with 13 countries on the 15-member UN Security Council expressing their opposition.

As a country that withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program, the U.S. violated international law and didn’t respect the UN as a multilateral organization, showing its arrogance by unilaterally using whatever suits its interests and abandoning whatever that does not.

The Iran case, however, is not the most ridiculous practice of America’s sanction diplomacy.

On Sept. 2, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced to block the assets of Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and others in the U.S., prohibiting U.S. citizens from having any dealings with them.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on top ICC officials just because the ICC continued its investigation into whether American military and intelligence personnel committed war crimes against humanity.

The U.S., a country which consistently accuses other nations of “violating international law and infringing on human rights,” hit back with sanctions to draw away from the investigation.

Recently, the U.S. sanctions have targeted China’s Ant Group and Tencent. Meanwhile, TikTok, with 100 million monthly active users in the U.S., still faces an uncertain future. In August, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to ban TikTok from operating in the U.S. on the grounds of national security threats in the absence of substantive evidence of China’s access to user data.

From America’s sanctions on the French power and transportation company Alstom and Japan’s Toshiba to its sanctions on Chinese telecommunications giants ZTE and Huawei, it’s not difficult to see the logic behind America’s current diplomacy: rob whatever is good, plunder through sanctions.

The U.S. even shows no mercy to its allies. On July 15, Pompeo stated that the country would impose sanctions on all participants of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and the second line of TurkStream pipeline, which were jointly built by Russia and European countries. The move was opposed by representatives of 24 European Union member states.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the U.S. pursues “roughly one goal: to have the opportunity and the right to do whatever it pleases in the world's politics, economy and in any sector of human activity.”

The diplomatic arena was supposed to be a place where all countries should respect each other and conduct dialogues on equal footing. Unfortunately, the U.S. has made it a place of frequent coercion, lies, and sanctions.

Sanctions, which should be imposed for peace and justice, have been abused by the U.S. as tools for bullying and double standards.

The strength of a major country means more international responsibilities, but the U.S. makes it the advantage of willful interference. What’s worse, the country doesn’t seem to care about opposition from the majority of countries or moral integrity. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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