Trump’s sanctions on Iran pose a threat he never thought of

Sanctions are used by the US to punish rivals and discourage challenges to American power. The US has imposed (by executive order only) sanctions on a record 944 individuals and entities in the last year. This year it could reach 1000. Such carrots as aid, investment or diplomacy are not even discussed. Sanctions are widely regarded in other countries as assaults on sovereignty and as American coercion and bullying, and because the US dollar dominates international finance the US, with the cooperation of its European allies, has been able to wield the weapon of sanctions effectively. (Actually, the word effectively is misleading – historically, sanctions often backfire.)

Following Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear deal, European diplomats are now apparently completing work on a payment system that Iran can use, that will allow the Iranians and others to bypass America and its sanctions. Among the participants are China, Russia and India. If it can be successfully set up it could make countries like Iran politically independent and reduce the ability of the US to fight terrorism.

More worrying still would be a decline in the value of the dollar as the main currency of reference and trade. I well remember the time when the British pound was top dog. When it lost that status Britain lost mightily by no longer profiting from seigneurage, or the ability to create value simply by printing currency. That a single person, deeply ignorant as he is and unwilling to listen to any experienced advice, can be allowed to put the dollar at risk just shows how debased the system has become, threatening the very security and wellbeing of the country. Those who support Trump seem to be happy with swagger but know nothing about finance.

By the way, Iran is an example of how some Americans have a desperate desire for bogeymen. It was the Americans and the British who originally put the Shah in power by force. All these years later we are still scrapping with Iran, withdrawing from the only agreement we have had that might have improved relations. Isn’t it time to do a deal that would at last put history behind us? (the Epicurean way) Of course any deal needs two participants, but isn’t reconciliation what diplomacy is about? Or are four syllable words tough to understand?

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