How Sanctions Work: A Framework for Analysis
How do sanctions work, if they work at all? Do they convince actors to change their behavior and/or beliefs, or do they primarily alter the capabilities of states? Alternatively, when do restrictions of customary interactions provoke defensive isolation or retaliation? The conventional wisdom, mirroring the League of Nations concept of collective security, assumes that sanctions must be comprehensive to be successful. For collective security to work, a potential aggressor must believe that all or most other states will rally against it. Similarly, scholars of international trade highlight the financial incentives governments and corporations have to sell restricted commodities to embargoed states, evident in the long historical record of sanctions “busting”. Does imposition and enforcement of sanctions have to be comprehensive, “watertight,” to be effective, or can “leaky” sanctions influence the target? Which types of sanctions are best suited for particular purposes? Are there “smart” sanctions that can be focused on decision makers and have little adverse affect on non-target populations within the target state and neighboring countries?
KeywordsCivil Society Foreign Policy Target State International Relation Import Substitution
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