Economic Sanctions Essay

2769 words - 12 pages

In 2000 alone, 70 countries, consisting of two-thirds of the world’s population were subject to United States imposed sanctions (Van den Berg, 228). Currently the U.S. has sanctions imposed on countries such as Burma, North Korea and Cuba. The Cuban sanctions date back to the 1960’s. Sanctions can be imposed by one or several countries and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This paper will examine trade and economic sanctions, the effectiveness of sanctions, as well as evaluate the sanctions the United States has imposed upon Iraq, Cuba, and North Korea.
Trade sanctions, according to International Economics A Heterodox Approach, are trade restrictions imposed by a country in order to ...view middle of the document...

Trade sanctions have been used by the United States against countries such as North Korea, Cuba, and Iran for reasons ranging from market closures to the violation of human rights. The United States can also impose economic sanctions on other countries that along with the restrictions of trade restrictions include bans on cash transfers and other financial loans. Trade and economic sanctions restrain an economy and are considered by some to be one step short of war. Sanctions burden not only the target country, but also third party countries, for example The Helms-Burton Act of 2006 prohibited executives of companies that do business with Cuba to enter the United States. Similar acts prevent Americans from trading with foreign companies that invest more than $40 million in oil and natural gas projects in Iran or Libya (Foer, Economic Sanctions).
President Woodrow Wilson claimed that sanctions could be a “deadly force” as well as an effective diplomatic tool. Usually when a country imposes a sanction on another they are not merely trying to inflict a simple punishment on the transgressor. When evaluating the effectiveness of a sanction the appropriateness of the sanctions scope and type must be considered. The goals of the sanction must also be considered as well as determining the political and economic impact the sanction had on the target country. When a sanction is imposed upon a country and then gradually weakened through exemptions, the sanction will most likely be ineffective. This happened in 1987 when the United States imposed sanctions on Panama in an attempt to cripple the Noriega regime. The end result of the weaken sanctions was the invasion of Panama and taking Noriega by force. If the intended purpose of a sanction is to change the government of the target country it must be imposed quickly so that the target country does not have time to build other relations or establish other means of trade (Elliott, Hufbauer, and Oegg, Sanctions).
Sanctions are meant to destabilize regimes and governments, they do this by threatening the survivability of the regime. However, sanctions usually affect the individuals of a country rather than a particular government. The most affected are those who are in import oriented industries. Trade sanctions are meant to induce poverty, imposing governments hope the impoverished people will see their governments as the ones at fault, and place pressure on them to change their policies (Finegold, Unintended Consequences of Trade Sanctions).
On the surface, the objectives of sanctions seem pretty clear cut, but this usually isn’t the case. There are three main objectives of sanctions; primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary objectives are concerned with the actions or behaviors of the government or regime the sanctions are targeting, a primary objective of Bristish sanctions against Italy to stop Italy from attacking Abyssinia, as well as to return Rhodesia to legality. Secondary objectives relate to...

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