Embargoes- Then and Now- Cuba

The United States badly overplayed its hand when it sought to punish the European world powers in the early 1800's and it's just as naive now to think that embargoes can work in the twenty first century.

Let's look at the effectiveness of embargoes against communist countries such as Cuba or North Korea.

There's a few easy to understand problems with imposing restrictions on trade with communist countries. It validates their world view that the United States is punishing the world through it's financial might and limits the channels in which foreign currency and goods can flow into those countries.

Communist dictators like Castro or Kim Jong Il control their people in much the same way that middle eastern dictators do- they take their money straight off the top rather than relying on the tax base of an economically productive society.

In the middle east, democracy doesn't flourish because the welfare of the citizens of those countries doesn't matter to their leaders since they can take their money straight out of oil export revenues. Whereas in democratic countries, unhappy citizens would throw out the current administration if they're unhappy, in those societies- the people need to simply not be angry enough to revolt.

Command economies that have limited amounts of goods flowing into their country through UN approved channels can also behave in this fashion since it will ultimately be up to them to distribute that 'aid' to their people who not coincidentally tend to be favored political allies.

Corruption flourishes in the dark and open trade policies shine light on the dark places of the world. Embargoes are nothing more than ceremonial statements by weak leaders.

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