Global Economic Sanctions — Many of Them by Many Players — But How Effective?

Sanction Map (FT 3.31.14)
       In the last 13 years since 9/11 sanctions for domestic political and foreign policy reasons have exploded worldwide.
     They include financial sanctions, trade and investment restrictions, sanctions on travel, arms embargos, commodity restrictions, financial controls and disclosures, diplomatic sanctions, sanctions on aviation and shipping, among others.
      These sanctions have been imposed by the U.S., the EU, the U.N. and others.
      The real impact and effectiveness of sanctions are open to serious question. Sanctions are often  imposed as a default response when no other action is realistically available. All to often they are authorized to  appease domestic political pressures. They may or may not have realistic chances of  success. They are feel-good measures.
    Rarely do sanctions alter the targeted countries policies.  They impose undue burdens on their domestic populations not their leaders. It’s the U.S. and international business communities that feel the sting  of sanctions and retribution from counter-measures. Unexpected consequences impose new problems.
     My point is very simple. A sanction is an easy answer. But hard to undo.  It’s hard to find much international success.

 

…. “Sanctions: War by Other Means.” Financial Times (March 31, 2014).

 

 

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About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (School of Public Policy).
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