Ilhan Omar has written an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled Sanctions are part of a failed foreign policy playbook. Stop relying on them.
In the White House announcement on Oct. 14 of sanctions on Turkey, Trump said, “I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path.” He imposed those sanctions before lifting them Tuesday, only to threaten more “crippling sanctions.”
This is an unmistakable echo of the failed U.S. strategy of “maximum pressure” on Iran and Venezuela. And just as with those two countries, it would be a humanitarian and geopolitical disaster.
In so much of our foreign policy, we rely on muscle memory and a limited toolbox to decide the best course of action. And, too often, sanctions regimes are ill considered, incoherent and counterproductive.
Research has shown that sanctions rarely achieve their desired goals. In the worst-case scenario, they hurt the people of a country — generally the very people we’re purporting to help — without making a dent in the country’s behavior. And in the case of human rights abusers, research suggests that more abuses typically occur with economic sanctions in place than without them.
Yup, this is the same woman who openly supports BDS against Israel, even being one of the co-sponsors of a pro-BDS resolution in Congress.
This is not a catch-all criticism of sanctions. The use of the Global Magnitsky Act, aimed at specific individuals responsible for gross human rights violations, can be an important mechanism for accountability if they are used consistently and not simply for our geopolitical rivals. And locally led boycott or divestment campaigns, such as the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, can be meaningful ways for those impacted to seek a peaceful resolution.
Note how she avoids mentioning Israel, clearly so as to avoid more accusations of antisemitism and singling out the Jewish state. But as Erielle Davidson writes in The Federalist
Omar’s latest piece of literature reveals the depth to which Omar holds Israel as more deserving of punishing policy moves than say, North Korea, Sudan, or Iran. Again, some sharp journalist should ask Omar what makes Israel so special to her. Given her past comments in relation to Israel, I have a few guesses.
Yet to borrow her own words, she seems to have hypnotized so many that she isn’t one.