Where's the Influence?

Sunday, March 16, 2014
A favorite (silly) argument of anti-sanctions advocates is that we need to embrace the Castro dictatorship and hand (pay) it billions of dollars, in order to exert "influence" over its behavior.

Let's test this argument vis–à–vis two current international crises:

With Russia, the U.S. has "reset" relations multiple times, granted it permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) and scrapped missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic to avoid upsetting Putin. Moreover, the European Union is (overwhelmingly) the largest importer of Russia's natural gas.

With Venezuela, the U.S. is (overwhelmingly) the largest importer of its oil, has avoided confrontation with Chavez-Maduro at all costs and allowed "boligarchs" to use its financial markets, purchase real estate and luxury goods.

And yet, there seems to be no influence over either Putin or Maduro's rash and repressive behavior -- unless pressure is exerted.

There's another lesson to be learned here.

Anti-American tyrants are always going to blame the U.S. for everything under the sun and try to use it as a distraction. The question is whether they will do so with or without our billions in their bank accounts.

Preferably without. Moreover, their citizens are neither stupid, nor gullible, to believe their absurd rants.