Are Sanctions Really Working? Some Dispute Effectiveness in Foreign Policy

By Carter, Tom | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 15, 1997 | Go to article overview

Are Sanctions Really Working? Some Dispute Effectiveness in Foreign Policy


Carter, Tom, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Economic sanctions, an increasingly popular foreign policy tool used to express U.S. displeasure abroad, are coming under growing criticism from economic and policy experts.

Though favored by human rights activists as a way of registering displeasure with authoritarian governments, policy mavens generally sniff at the "blunt instrument" that rarely achieves its goals.

The United States currently has dozens of economic sanctions in place, on Iraq, Cuba, Libya, Iran and North Korea among many others. President Clinton imposed the most recent ones last month against Sudan.

In addition, according to USA-Engage (www.usaengage.org), which lobbies against sanctions, there are dozens of bills pending on Capitol Hill that if passed would impose new sanctions on dozens of countries for a host of noxious practices, including: building or selling biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, persecuting religious minorities, using child labor, environmental destruction, exporting terrorism and producing illegal drugs.

Between 1993 and 1996, 35 nations came under the U.S. sanctions gun.

According to the 1997 Report of the President's Export Council, 75 countries representing 52 percent of the world's population have been punished at one time or another by unilateral U.S. sanctions.

But policy experts across the political spectrum are coming to the conclusion that, in most cases, economic sanctions are ineffective.

RESULTS ARE MIXED

When introducing legislation in November to establish criteria for adopting sanctions, Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican, said sanctions "rarely achieve their foreign policy goals."

But Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican and a leading defender of the U.S. embargo on Cuba, disagrees.

"Sanctions express commitment to norms on international conduct, human rights and nonaggression," said Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen in an editorial published on the USA-Engage web page. "In the end, everyone wins."

Business interests, sometimes accused of sacrificing American values in pursuit of the deal, say commercial engagement inserts American values into otherwise isolated countries.

"Pulling business out of a country is like bringing all the missionaries home," said Michael Gadbaw, senior counsel for international law and policy at the General Electric Co.

A report published in the spring by the National Manufacturers Association, a group made up of 10,000 small U.S. manufacturers, said economic engagement is the best way to modify another nation's behavior.

"Unilateral economic sanctions do not work," said Marino Marcich, author of the NMA report on U.S. sanctions from 1993-1996.

"Do they change the behavior of the target government? In 90 percent of the cases, the answer is no. Barring investment and imports will not lead the people to rise up and overthrow a rogue regime."

ENGAGEMENT IS URGED

Mr. Marcich said the United States should always try diplomacy "before pulling the trigger" on unilateral sanctions.

The United States is currently engaged in both multilateral and unilateral sanctions.

"Sanctions work best when they are multilateral but they must be a part of a wider political strategy," said a White House official on the condition of anonymity. "We recognize sanctions often take time, and sometimes have unintended consequences.

"They work best when they are targeted narrowly against the offending party. For example, sanctions helped undermine apartheid South Africa and encouraged Libya to reduce its support for terrorism. . . . And sanctions are often preferable to force."

Still, he said there were times, when, for moral reasons, the United States was obligated to go it alone. Sanctions against Cuba is one example.

In early December, a Brookings Institution seminar titled "Economic Sanctions: Do They Work?

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Are Sanctions Really Working? Some Dispute Effectiveness in Foreign Policy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.