Economic sanctions, Visa restrictions, political embargo are the part of US coercive diplomacy. These are not a modern development. These first recorded use was in ancient Greece. But despite all the evidence since then showing they are generally ineffective and often counterproductive; the United States has developed a penchant for imposing sanctions on countries as they enable it to act aggressively on the cheap.
For a long time, the United States has done everything possible to coerce other countries, and the United States has a very disgraceful “dark history” in coercive diplomacy. Today, coercive diplomacy is a standard instrument in the US foreign policy toolbox, and containment and suppression in political, economic, cultural and other fields have been used to conduct coercive diplomacy around the world for pure US self-interest. Countries around the world have suffered, with developing countries bearing the brunt of it, and even US’ allies and partners have not been spared.
Now time to evaluate the evil deeds of US coercive diplomacy in the world and make the international community better understand the hegemonic and bullying nature of US diplomacy, and the serious damages caused by US actions to the development of all countries, regional stability and world peace
In the past half century, the US has never stopped engaging in coercive diplomacy in spite of great changes in the international structure. From economic sanctions to technical blockade, and from political isolation to threat of force, the US has demonstrated what coercive diplomacy is to the world with its own actions.
The developing countries are the “worst-hit areas” of America’s coercive diplomacy. In 1962, the United States imposed an economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba which continues to this day. The US-Cuba diplomatic relations were restored in 2015, but the US did not fully lift its blockade against Cuba. In 2017, the Trump administration tightened sanctions on Cuba again. In 2021, the Biden administration twice extended the “Trading with the Enemy Act,” which has served as the legal basis for the blockade and embargo against Cuba. The 61-year-old embargo has brought enormous economic losses and grave humanitarian disasters to Cuba. The US sanctions and blockade on Cuba cover almost everything from fuel, food and daily necessities to medicine, leaving the island facing a chronic and severe shortage of supplies.
Since 2006, the US has imposed sanctions on Venezuela, preventing Venezuela from entering the US financial system.
Twice kicking Iran out of the SWIFT system and disrupting the international financial order. The United States first imposed economic sanctions against Iran in 1979, when it froze $1.2 billion worth of Iranian assets abroad and eventually expanding to a full trade embargo. In 2019, Jake Sullivan, who is now national security advisor to President Joe Biden, wrote an article criticizing the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran, saying that it has nothing but coercion and no diplomacy. No positive outcome of the US coercive diplomacy.
In 1993, the United States announced sanctions against Sudan. Years of US sanctions have led to a severe humanitarian crisis in Sudan, with a large number of children across the country dying of malnutrition, according to a report released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan. In addition, the United States has imposed targeted sanctions against individuals and organizations in African countries such as Burundi, the Central African Republic, Somalia and Zimbabwe.
All-round sanctions on Russia. In 2014 and 2018 the USA has imposed sanctions on Russia in a massive row. During the ongoing Ukraine war, this sanction has affected the world dangerously. The coercive diplomacy was very ineffective. Moreover, Sanctions couldn’t stop Russia. Southeast Asia’s Myanmar is another example. The more US and western sanction closed to the Myanmar, Myanmar edged close to China and Russia more.
Violating the principle of fair trade and imposing tariffs on China. In July 2018, the US launched a trade war with China. The USA has been imposing sanctions time to time.
The US imposed sanctions on Mumbai-based petrochemical trading company Tibalaji Petrochem in October 2022, which marks the first time that US imposed sanctions on an Indian company for engaging in oil trade with Iran.
Now, USA targets Bangladesh for serving its own geo-strategic interest in the guise of promotor of human rights, democracy, all we know.
In addition to the economic and financial sanctions, the US is also good at interfering, either directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of other countries by promotion of human rights, democracy. etc., to counter “disobedient” countries and regions. Since the 20th century, under the banner of “democracy” and “freedom,” the United States has promoted the “Neo-Monroe Doctrine” in Latin America, provoked “color revolutions” in Eurasia, and planned the “Arab Spring” in West Asia and North Africa, engaging in “peaceful evolution” in various parts of the world, wantonly engaging in hegemonic bullying and sending out a clear message that whoever follows it will survive and whoever defies it shall perish.
The United States has many means of coercive diplomacy
The hegemony of US dollar is an important foundation for US economic coercion. The promotion of the so-called democracy and human rights is a common trick of the US to carry out political coercion and interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. The United States has long promoted “American values” worldwide, played up “democracy versus authoritarianism,” wantonly interfered in the internal affairs of other countries, and attempted to shape other countries and world order with its own values and political system. They even interfere with and subvert the legitimate government of other countries in order to weaken rivals, pass on crisis, create chaos, and undermine stability.
The targets of US political coercion are all-encompassing. Be it an adversary or an ally, a developed or a developing country, a large corporation or a small organization, coercion is always the option for the US, as long as the US considers it profitable and the targets won’t bend to the will of the US. The US, under the banner of “promoting democracy,” carried out the “Neo-Monroe Doctrine” in Latin America, provoked the “color revolution” in Eurasia, and planned the “Arab Spring” in West Asia and North Africa.
The US frequently uses military force to initiate or participate in wars and conflicts of all sizes and forms. After World War II, major wars initiated or launched by the US include the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Kosovo War, the Afghan War, the Iraq War, the Libyan War and the Syrian War. Proxy wars are a common form of US military interventions, with countries such as Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen suffering.
Distorting the underlying theme of our times of peace and development. Peace and development, as the theme of our times, are the common cause for people of all countries around the world. The US coercive diplomacy has cast a shadow over the cause of global peace and development by instigating “color revolutions” in the world, pouring oil over fire and seeking interests from geopolitical struggles.
The US economic coercion has not only undermined global supply chains and industrial chains based on factor endowments and comparative advantages, reducing labor productivity, but also raised regional and even global production costs and hindered the process of regional economic integration.
Intensifying division and antagonism in the international community. In order to maintain its global hegemony and contain the development of other countries, the US is keen to force other countries to join the “democratic alliance” by means of drawing ideological lines and imposing tariffs.
Shrugging off the fact that the US itself has engaged in coercive diplomacy everywhere, the US, out of political self-interest, readily tags some countries with the label of promotor of human rights those who engage in coercion, sanctions, bullying, suppressing other countries and bringing chaos to the world, will eventually hurt themselves. The United States should address its old habit of wanton coercive diplomacy and return a just and rational international order to the world.