US-led sanctions are traditionally considered as the prelude to war.
President Bush initiated adopting additional economic sanctions for Syria. According to the US legislation, after imposing sanctions of this kind Syrian authorities fit the category of the “criminal regimes violating international law”. War follows this, and the war must break out soon.
There are 2 categories of the US trade sanctions: the sanctions protecting the economic interests of the state (so-called “trade wars”), and the sanctions caused by the US foreign policy interests. The USA imposed the sanctions of the first kind on the leading developed countries, including its traditional allies from Western Europe, many times. These countries responded with imposing similar sanctions on the USA. For example, in 2002 there was a “steel war” between the USA and Europe. In 2002 the USA imposed anti-dumping import duties on importing uranium from Great Britain, France, Germany and Netherlands. In the second half of 2001 the USA decided to lift its trade sanctions from some European goods, such as British bed linen and French bags.
The trade sanctions of this kind are not extraordinary things, they are a regulator for international trade. Аs for the sanctions resulted from the US foreign policy interests, they may be followed with war. After the World War II, the USA imposed such sanctions on China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Cuba, Libya, Sudan, Serbia, Montenegro and some other countries.
As for the recent sanctions to Syria, the USA accuses this country of supporting terrorism, occupying Lebanon, the desire to have weapons of mass destruction and missile systems, and undermining the US efforts to stabilize the situation in Iraq. Mr. Bush said that these actions "pose extremely big threat for national security, foreign policy and economy of the USA”.
”Economic sanctions are an important tool of our foreign policy, they are somewhere between diplomacy and use of force. They are applied when all other measures do not work, and there is a possibility that economic sanctions can change the policy of the country violating international law. In general, these sanctions should be imposed only on the criminal regimes violating international law”, said Stewart Aizenstat, Deputy US Secretary of State in an Economic Perspectives interview in 1997.
Syria seems to realize that the recent sanctions can mean a prelude to war. 10 days ago new Defense Minister was appointed in Syria – general Hasan Turkmani who previously was the chief Commander of Central Staff. Former Defense Minister general Mustfa Tlas had been in this post for 34 years, but put in retirement recently. Syrian President Bashar Asad probably started preparations for possible fight with the USA and its allies.
There are many alarming signals about the future war. For example, Israel is considering the option of bombing some objects in Syria if the information of Syria’s financing HAMAS is confirmed, Israeli TV reported on May 11. Al-Jaseera quoted anonymous US Congressman that Washington can follow with “tougher measures to Damask”.
It is hard to name the reasons why Americans need a new war in the Middle East. Probably, Pentagon and the US Department of State believe that weakening Syria somehow will allow to establish more order in Iraq. George Bush could turn to the old traditional American technology of a “small victorious war” to improve his position on the eve of the US Presidential elections. The USA is unlikely to occupy Syria – the country has not sufficient funds even for supporting its troops in Iraq, and the US military budget will not tolerate extra military expenditures. The USA will probably pursue the Yugoslavian scenario – endless bombings until Syria will replace its leaders and surrender.
The USA intends to oppress Syria before soling the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some people may admire with the messianic determination of Bush’s administration to bring democracy to the Third World countries by force, other people can laugh at this, somebody can be glad that the high prices for oil will be preserved for indefinite period of time. But some people will say that no superpower managed to fight the entire world and establish its values all over the globe. The USA is not an exception in this case.
Maria Cheglyaeva, Nikolai Ulyanov