Global Sanctions as Political Tactic | God's World News

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Global Sanctions as Political Tactic

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shake hands during a meeting in September 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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    A worker removes a McDonald’s sign in Russia. The chain closed all its restaurants in Russia after Russia invaded Ukraine. (Alexandr Kryazhev/Sputnik via AP)
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    A woman looks at empty shelves in a supermarket in Moscow, Russia. Many foreign brands suspended their operations in Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine. (Vlad Karkov/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/AP)
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    People walk past a TV showing a news program on a North Korean missile launch in 2022 in Tokyo, Japan. North Korea hopes to force the United States and other rivals to accept it as a nuclear power and remove sanctions. (AP/Eugene Hoshiko)
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    Posters denounce U.S. and South Korean policies against North Korea in Seoul, South Korea. (AP/Ahn Young-joon)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin sent North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a car. The gift defied global sanctions against Kim’s nation. Sanctions are increasingly common in modern diplomacy—but do they work?

Sanctions are fines, trade limits, asset freezes, travel bans, and other penalties. Governments often use economic sanctions to impose consequences for bad behavior such as human rights violations or threatening actions.

Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Russia are all under U.S. sanctions. So are some other organizations, such as drug cartels (Sinaloa) and terror groups (Hamas).

Supporters call sanctions low-risk ways to deal with international problems—action without war. Sanctions address challenges such as Venezuela’s human rights abuses, Russia’s Ukraine invasion, and Houthi rebels’ terrorist acts in the Red Sea.

Today, sanctions seem to be a favorite U.S. foreign policy tool. But many other countries and groups—such as the United Nations and the European Union—also impose them.

Yet critics say sanctions rarely change conduct. “These measures often fail to achieve their intended goals,” says Agathe Demarais, head of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Many countries find ways around the restrictions placed on them.

For example, sanctions forbid weapons-related trade with Russia. But Russia keeps receiving arms technology—possibly even from American companies, according to a 2023 PBS report. The report suggests the equipment travels from California to Russia via China.

Sanctions that weaken a country’s economy can have surprising downsides. Demarais says they “reshape relations between countries, pushing governments . . . closer to each other—or, increasingly, to Russia and China.”

That relationship-reshaping appears to be happening between North Korea and Russia.

North Korea is one of the most penalized nations in the world. Dozens of countries have sanctioned the Asian nation—starting with the United States in the 1950s.

The sanctions include a UN ban on weapons and luxury items shipments to North Korea. UN member Russia voted for the sanctions.

Yet several countries accuse Russia of supporting North Korea with weapons tech. They also accuse North Korea of sending arms to Russia for its war with Ukraine.

So when Putin sent Kim a limousine in February, it was a statement: Russia and North Korea stand together against the world.

There’s another message in Kim’s Russian limo: Sanctions don’t stop ruthless leaders. As in Afghanistan, Iran, Cuba, and other sanctioned countries, North Korea’s elite flourish. But on the streets, ordinary citizens pay the price in poverty, failing education, crumbling health systems, and lack of food.

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan. — Proverbs 29:2

Why? Diplomacy fails when corrupt rulers have no respect for the rule of law or compassion for their own people.

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