HOW COME EVEN COUNTRIES UNDER US ECONOMIC SANCTIONS ARE HANDLING CORONAVIRUS BETTER THAN THE US?
How countries handle the pandemic seems to have little to do with sanctions, although there are some cause-effect relationships. Iran, for example, would definitely have suffered less from the pandemic if the US had not imposed such barbaric and inhumane sanctions on it – although friendly countries like Russia, China and the EU have been heroically defying these sanctions to send aid. Further, Venezuela is not harder hit by the virus than most other countries, despite the harsh sanctions imposed on it, but that is due in part to the early quarantine of Caracas and 6 Venezuelan states by President Maduro (https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-51902733) and to the fact that there is little immigration to that country. Russia, which is hammered hard with sanctions, has a relatively low incidence of the infection, mostly because it is more isolated than the rest but also due in part to proper handling of the crisis by the government. In particular, immigrants cannot easily enter its borders and there are few illegal immigrants there – in contrast with the EU, which in fact pays people and provides housing for immigrants from war torn countries. Europe has been called the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic. Italy and Spain, the hardest hit by the pandemic, have very liberal immigration policies. Spain is the main entry port for illegal immigrants in Europe (Meeting Spain's new migrants) and Italy is also a key point of entry, notably via the island of Lampedusa (Lampedusa immigrant reception center - Wikipedia). The immigrants come because of Europe’s open door policy.
The irony is that Europe originally wholeheartedly supported the Arab Spring, which gave rise to uprisings all over the Middle East and saw thousands of armed radicals invade Syria, while France and the UK participated actively in the barbaric air war over Libya that ousted Ghadaffi and led to Libya becoming the second-biggest source of illegal immigrants to Italy. Significantly, Italy provided logistic support to NATO during that conflict. It is amazing that no one mentions these facts in connection with the migration waves that occurred as a result of these Western-backed uprisings and military actions. Perhaps it is just too painful to admit that Europe and the US enthusiastically supported the movements that caused the migration crisis, but that is what happened, as I showed here at Quora: https://www.quora.com/Are-there-any-sources-for-American-involvement-in-the-Middle-East-since-9-11-It-s-for-a-paper/answer/Vince-Dhimos
The archived document linked below shows just how dangerously naive and Pollyanna the EU’s attitude was in 2011:
If the West’s contribution had been limited to just this, the results still would have been disastrous, producing conditions conducive to mass immigration. But it did not stop there. The rigid policies vis-à-vis Syria of European states demanded a “political solution” by which was implied that the democratically elected Assad must finally step down and yield much of his power to the unelected opposition – even though it was largely extremist and Islamist, counter to the desires of most Syrians – as a prerequisite to receiving loans and aid for reconstruction. Thus, after foisting hordes of foreign militants on Syria to the extent of destroying much of its infrastructure and impoverishing millions, Europe – along with the US, which to a large extent imposed these policies on Europe, refused to help the war-torn country get back on its feet without demanding unpalatable concessions of it. Now they groan under the colossal migrant crisis they have created and partly as a result of this, are losing the war against a pandemic. Thanks in large part to their uninvited wars on Middle Easterners under “humanitarian” pretexts.
And as if that were not enough, the Europeans, as veritable vassals of their US ally, refused to relax the heavy-handed sanctions that denied Syrians the God-given rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that Americans were promised in their founding documents. In fact, the EU, along with the UNSC, imposed sanctions on Iraq that targeted vital projects in irrigation and electricity and in all vital industries – obviously with the aim of denying the Iraqis the right to make a living. Started in the 1990s, the UN and EU waited until as late as 2020 to lift some of these sanctions. A sanctioned economy means less jobs and less food to eat. Naturally, Iraqis were and are leaving for Europe. Even in the midst of a pandemic.
And as if that were not enough, Europe acquiesced to the US’s criminal seizure of Syrian resources that Syrians needed to maintain a living income, and to the illegal US occupation of large swaths of Syrian territory. All of these are powerful factors driving immigration toward Europe. And immigration is a major factor in the spread of COVID-19.
Thus the creation of subhuman conditions in the Middle East by Western countries is precisely the crux of the problem at hand. Europe – along with the US – chose this path. And now many Westerners blame China!
And to make matters even worse for Europe, the EU foolishly concluded with the notoriously unreliable Turkish government a deal to host exiles from Syria and other countries and this has created a further crisis because, for one thing, Turkey is allied with Islamist militants whom it now sends as mercenaries to fight Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army that seeks to defeat terror and injustice in Libya. Turkey, like the US, sympathizes with Islamist militants in its bid to overthrow stable, secular governments like Syria and military groups like the Libyan National Army. In fact, should Erdoğan’s pro-Islamist adventures in Libya fail, there is nothing stopping Erdoğan from sending these dangerous misfits to Europe. Recently, by way of blackmail, he reportedly released over 76,300 undocumented immigrants toward Europe, which is a further contribution to the social instability that fosters the spread of COVID-19. https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/03/01/76300-illegal-migrants-exited-turkey-towards-europe/?amp
In the broadest of terms, we can say in conclusion that the reckless decisions of European nations and the EU at large since about 2011 and before were the underlying cause of the conditions conducive to a spread of COVID-19 far in excess of the rate of spread in countries that take better care of their borders. The political recklessness that created these conditions is still manifested in Europe today. For example, the EU insisted that its member states respect the Schengen Agreement that essentially abolishes all borders between EU states, allowing free passage of people and goods at all times. This rigid adherence to Schengen in times of the pandemic, despite the enormous risk involved, is threatening the further survival of the Union, and if the results turn out to be as cataclysmic as they may, this rigidity on the part of the EU leadership could be its death knell as member states rebel against policies that endanger them.
As for the US, which has the highest number of cases in the world, the federal government also suffers from a rigid adhesion to an ideology that threatens the security of the nation, and that is, the idea that it is improper for the national government to impose tight controls on a threatened population because such controls are the domain of the states. Thus some states may impose a lockdown while others choose not to, deeming individual freedom more important than the survival of the community as a whole. And the administration has so far remained aloof to this critical problem.
OIL IS SOMETIMES WORTHLESS
Will oil always have value?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Actually this particular moment is seeing valueless oil. The reason for this is that there is not enough storage to put the oil but capping wells is expensive. Therefore, there are some producers who are paying people to take their oil.
Oil producers paying consumers to take crude? Yes, in a corner of US market
If oil has a problem, gas producers are in worse shape because the solution gas that used to be torched off before environmental regs tightened is more plentiful now and there is nowhere to store it either. It too is sometimes sold at negative prices.
West Texas Oil Companies Will Pay Customers to Take Their Natural Gas
CAN RUSSIA SANCTION THE US?
Why can't Russia sanction the United States?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Russia already has put the US under sanctions, but in a creative way, and no one calls them sanctions. A few months ago, the Trump administration imposed tough 3rd-party sanctions on the Russian pipeline project Nord Stream 2 and effectively shut down the project, costing Russia billions.
As a countermeasure Russia waited until the latest OPEC+ meeting and politely told the Saudis “we’re done with production cuts.” Saudi followed suit and oil prices plummeted. I think both countries were, de facto, imposing sanctions on the bully that likes to throw its weight around.
It was the perfect payback.
More than that, it was a shot over the bow.