Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs
[The following is a reprint of Under Secretary Stuart E. Eizenstat testimony before the Lott Bipartisan Senate Task Force on Sanctions, Washington D.C. on September 8, 1998]
Mr. Chairman, I welcome this opportunity to share with you the administration's views on the use of economic sanctions as a foreign policy tool. This bipartisan Task Force is a welcome initiative and can make a lasting contribution in developing a consensus in this important area of policy where both the Executive Branch and the Congress have clear responsibilities. As a representative of the Executive Branch, which is charged with the conduct of our foreign policy, I want to extend my appreciation to Majority Leader Lott and to Minority Leader Daschle for convening this panel, and to Senator McConnell for chairing the Task Force, and for the leadership of the ranking Member of the Task Force, Senator Biden. The Administration stands ready to work with you in the days and weeks ahead to develop an improved dialogue between the Congress and the Executive Branch on sanctions, forge an agreement and enhance our effectiveness in advancing American national interests.
We believe that properly designed and implemented as part of a coherent strategy, sanctions, including economic sanctions, are a valuable tool for advancing American interests and defending U.S. values. Used in an appropriate way and under appropriate circumstances, sanctions can further important U.S. policy goals.
Mr. Chairman, as examples, without economic sanctions Serbia would not have come to the negotiating table to end the war in Bosnia; Iraq would not be limited in its ability to sell oil and acquire weapons of mass destruction; Libya would not stand isolated for its failure to hand over the Lockerbie suspects; and South Africa might not have ended Apartheid. These sanctions achieved some measure of success because they are or were part of an integrated multilateral sanctions regime. There is also an important but more limited role for unilateral sanctions. Our unilateral sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Nigeria and Burma serve vital U.S. interests. However, in recent years, there has been an explosion in the frequency with which we turn to unilateral economic sanctions. According to one count by the National Association of Manufacturers, the United States has imposed unilateral economic sanctions 92 times since the end of WWII; 62-well more than half-have been imposed since 1993. The President's Export Council notes that more than 75 countries are now subject to some form of economic sanctions. Surely this must give us pause to question whether we are on the right track. Most of the sanctions imposed since 1993 have been non-discretionary measures required by Congress in law. In contrast, only three of the 62 unilateral economic sanctions regimes imposed since 1993 have been imposed by the Executive Branch as a discretionary matter using the President's authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA+the tightening of the U.S. embargo on Iran in 1995 and the imposition of a comprehensive embargo on the Sudan in November 1997. In addition, after the President determined that certain factual predicates had been met concerning Burma, he used his authority, again under IEEPA, to impose a new investment ban on Burma in May 1997, as required by law.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to begin today by focusing on two specific cases in which flexible sanctions have been effective because of the waiver authority Congress gave the President- The Libertad Act (Helms-Burton), and The Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA). Each of these cases illustrates how we were able to use presidential flexibility, such as the prospect of a waiver, to advance effectively the objectives of the statute. I will then outline the overarching principles that, in the view of the …