Financial Sanctions & Foreign Policy — Growing Complexity in Policy & Law.

Kennedy and For. Policy


     The inter-relationship of  sanctions policy, trade policy, foreign policy, and presidential leadership values have become even more important recently. To me this represents a maturing of U.S. foreign policy in an increasingly complex global environment. Today foreign policy is much more than diplomatic history and some political discussion. A renewed focus on core national interests and non-military aspects are welcomed.

    Foreign policy and foreign affairs today encompasses a wide variety of sub-topics meshing domestic with foreign and political with economic, finance, tax and the law. A multidisciplinary approach to studying and practicing in this area is absolutely essential. The financial aspect of foreign policy is becoming so much more important today.

     Here are some recent developments.


…. Financial sanctions on foreign banks for violating U.S. trade sanctions have increased. Raises issues in TPP trade negotiations. Not unexpected. Newer developing linkage between sanctions policy and trade policy. “BNP Paribas and Financial Sanctions.” New York Times (June 4, 2014).

…. Financial sanctions & foreign policy — new weapon. More connected a targeted country is to the global economy, more effective the sanctions. “Financial Weapons from Treasury’s War Room.” New York Times (June 4, 2014).

…. Financial sanctions & foreign policy — The Office of Terrorism & Financial Intelligence (Treasury Dept.) is playing a big role in formulation of U.S. foreign policy. Increasingly more important than military action. “Obama Presses Use of Financial Weapons.” New York Times (June 2, 2014).

…. Whose values? Obama’s values are clear. Use force only to protect critical national interests. This allows the U.S. greater freedom of action in formulating foreign policy and addressing a greater numbers of countries. “”Obama’s Values-Free Foreign Policy.” Washington Post (June 1, 2014).

…. Obama’s legacy ought to include tax reform concerning American multinationals. It’s long overdue. It would be good policy and law. “U.S. Companies Fleeing the U.S. Tax Code.” Washington Post (May 31, 2014).

…. Foreign policy leadership means knowing when to say ‘no’ to useless foreign adventures. “Obama’s Leadership is Right for Today.” Washington Post (May 30, 2014).





About Stuart Malawer

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