Proponents of the US-led hegemonic global order have started to acknowledge that sanctions have lost their effectiveness as a policy tool.
Analyzing the Chinese brokered Iran-Saudi diplomatic agreement, the London-based MiddleEastEye.com quoted a prominent pundit on the American think-tank scene, Barbara Slavin, saying that “I would advocate that it means that the United States has to rethink its approaches, particularly towards the use of economic sanctions, which I think are backfiring more and more.”
Fareed Zakaria, another well known drumbeater of the US-centric global order recently wrote that “America’s unipolar status has corrupted the country’s foreign policy elite. Our foreign policy is all too often an exercise in making demands and issuing threats and condemnations. There is very little effort made to understand the other side’s views or actually negotiate.”
While unusual that pro-American pundits are at the forefront of exposing the dysfunctionality of Washington’s favorite non-military tool of aggression, they are not the only ones.
On March 30, the UN high court ruled that the US seizure of Iranian assets violated international law.
Contrary to the repeated assertions by American politicians, sanctions and embargoes do not target only governments that refuse to toe the US line.
The true intention behind such sanctions is to destroy entire countries.
They inflict extensive collateral damage upon societies that opt to exercise their political sovereignty in ways that do not align with America’s imperialist agenda.
This was confirmed as early as May 12, 1996 in an interview for the US channel CBS program “60 Minutes”, when Leslie Stahl asked then US ambassador to the UN Madelaine Albright whether the starvation of 560,000 Iraqi children to death because of US sanctions was justified?
Without hesitation, Albright replied, “I think it’s worth it.”
So, the question is what has changed which renders sanctions ineffective today?
The short answer is that US power has declined both economically and politically.
There are now economic alternatives that countries can pursue without having to rely entirely on organizations and trade mechanisms controlled by Washington.
This phenomenon is no longer confined to marginalized states.
On March 30, Brazil and China reached a deal to trade with each other in their own currencies.
Such agreements are gradually becoming the norm.
This in return will regionalize global trade, revamp trade agreements and re-organize logistics of trade globally.
Over the past 50 years, trade agreements, logistical routes, and manufacturing supply chains were built around the wants and needs of western countries.
As trade becomes regionalized and reorient towards developing markets, it is inevitable that trade agreements, logistics, and supply chains will be reorganized as well to meet the needs and wants of new markets.
Three years ago, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), pointed out a rapid increase of foreign direct investment into developing countries.
This shift in investment patterns has been driven by a combination of factors, including the rising middle class in emerging markets, growth of digital technologies, and changes in global production processes.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these trends, with many companies looking to diversify their supply chains and reduce their dependence on a single country or region.
Intra-regional trade is on the rise, particularly in Asia and Africa, as countries seek to reduce their vulnerability to external shocks and strengthen their economic ties with neighboring states.
As such, it is becoming increasingly clear that the old order of western-dominated trade and economic policies is giving way to a more multipolar world, in which developing markets play an increasingly important role.
This shift towards a more integrated global economy will require new approaches to policy making, including a greater focus on regional integration and cooperation, as well as a more nuanced understanding of the needs and priorities of emerging economies.
The Muslim world has the potential to rapidly position itself as a global economic hub if countries such as Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, and Pakistan coordinate their logistics and trade policies, removing bureaucratic red tape and combatting corruption.
With the global economy entering a new era, it is imperative for Muslim countries to take advantage of this opportunity right at the beginning.
This is necessary to enable them to become important economic players without relying on others.