Sanctions Are Bad, Okay?

Sanctions are the go-to tool for politicians and corporate boards and executives (who are now, unfortunately, politicians or believe that they have to be as well as business people in the disgusting mass of confusing and toxic 24/7, hyper-militarized, and heavily polarized partisan political news environment, a decrepit relic of the 20th century’s dreadful awkwardness) in need of looking like they’re leaders and doing something about the big problem we’re talking about in social media this week.

But they’re bad.

Politicians and pundits, professional activists, looking for a cause they probably don’t at all comprehend and have scant knowledge of over and over again, go to sanctions when the bad country is doing something the chattering classes say that our authorities don’t want them to do because they’re not going to go to a severe for-real ass shooting and bombing war. They’re not going to sit there and look like something could happen in other countries halfway around the world that they didn’t allow to happen, or at the very least that they are somehow, in any way possible, linked to as someone of importance who mattered to the outcome, so they can tell the voters that in three seconds in a thirty-second ad spot next to oops I crapped my pants™ and Don Lemon doing another segment where he’s not talking about Tulsi Gabbard or Bernie Sanders unless it’s not something pleasant.

And that’s why our friends in Russia who are not political may even oppose Vladimir Putin’s government altogether, if not just the Ukraine situation, are now finding that they cannot use their credit cards and other US-based corporate services this week. They are getting swept up in a policy that canvasses, as most policies do, and treats every person of a particular class, in this case, citizens of a country, as if they are all politically the same when of course, this is on the face of it likely to be an incredible proposition in any case.

In a case of something as complex as human societies comprised of human individuals engaged in the necessary conflicts and negotiations of society, policies that canvass are almost always sure to cause “friendly fire,” to trap the wrong people who the enactors and supporters of those policies did not hope to catch up in their scheme, which is why the United States in its very founding intentionally limited these to the most basic, essential, and universal policies necessary, allowing the people as free equals sharing federated power lawfully and prudently together, without the undue interference of political actors with an agenda to grind, treating government as a turn at the levers of power to gain a particular short term advantage in a conflict.

The banter back and forth is that opponents of sanctions against Russian citizens, or proponents of a more dovish U.S. foreign policy stance toward Russia at the moment, are somehow in cahoots with Putin, or even just supporting him because they’re white nationalists (! does not compute here anyone has any theories how supporting Putin could be aligned with U.S. white nationalist interests?).

But those on the right who advocate the most accessible possible markets and most open possible society have always been consistently opposed to extensive domestic or foreign policy government interventions as a matter of principle and compassion.