By Matthew Lee / The Associated Press
Source: Read full article at Truthdig
WASHINGTON — Call it the diplomacy of coercion.
The Trump administration is aggressively pursuing economic sanctions as a primary foreign policy tool to an extent unseen in decades, or perhaps ever. Many are questioning the results even as officials insist the penalties are achieving their aims.
Since taking office in January 2017, President Donald Trump has used an array of new and existing sanctions against Iran, North Korea and others. His Treasury Department, which oversees economic sanctions, has targeted thousands of entities with asset freezes and business bans. The State Department has been similarly enthusiastic about imposing its own penalties: travel bans on foreign government officials and others for human rights abuses and corruption in countries from the Americas to the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
At the same time, the administration is trying to reduce greatly the amount of U.S. foreign assistance, notably cutting money to Latin America and the Palestinians. The White House budget office is making plans to return billions of dollars in congressionally approved but unspent dollars to the Treasury. A similar effort was rejected by Congress…