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Examine the effectiveness of economic sanctions as a tool of statecraft.

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Examine the effectiveness of economic sanctions as a tool of statecraft. Introduction Since the end of the cold war the international community has seen the significantly increased use of economic sanctions as a tool of statecraft. Economic sanctions 'appeared to offer the promise of effective Security Council action to resolve conflict and enforce international legal norms without the use of military force' (Cortright and Lopez, 2000, p.2). This report will evaluate if the aims of political leaders, who have increasingly used economic sanctions, have been realised or if they have failed to achieve their intended impact. Measuring Effectiveness It appears that political scientists in this area of study harbour differing views on how the effectiveness of economic sanctions should be measured. Baldwin argues that 'the mere imposition of economic sanctions should automatically qualify as success' (Baldwin, 1985, p.372) therefore if this is to be believed then an economic sanction should be considered a successful just because of its implementation, even if it is ineffective in its goals hoped for by the sender countries government. However most scholars are not so quick to brand economic sanctions a success with Hufbauer, Schott and Elliot agreed that 'in judging the success in sanctions, we confine our examination to changes in the policies and capabilities of the target country' (Elliot, Haufbauer and Schott, 1990, p.3). So the effectiveness of sanctions, if their analysis is to be considered, is ultimately measured by whether the target state changes a certain policy that might stop sanctions, or if its capabilities militarily, economically or politically are hindered. ...read more.


(Source: UNITED NATIONS FOOD & AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION'S, 1996) If sanctions are killing thousands of children and they are not reaching their targets in Iraq and other countries, which is evident through Saddam's continuing reign of terror and obvious wealth then sanctions cannot be labelled effective. This pursuit of national interests through sanctions appears to link them with realist political thoughts. The U.S is a prime example of this with it being a 'state forced to help itself and give priority to its own national interest' (Heywood, 1997, P.143). If sanctions are implemented to prevent any kind of hardship or grievance to the sender country, even if it means adverse humanitarian effects then they are part of a realist form of statecraft. * Sanctions have caused humanitarian crisis in the past Bosnian conflict. Seemingly doing the right thing the U.S and her allies imposed an arms embargo on Bosnia so that fighting would be forced to a stop once the ammunition ran out. However 'the arms embargo weakened the Muslims since the Bosnian Serbs and the Croats had larger stores of military supplies and greater access to outside sources' (Haas, 1997, P.77). This shows how sanctions in the past have been very difficult to implement without there being adverse humanitarian consequences, and highlights how in the past sanctions have not been thought through and have proved ineffective. The simple implementation of this sanction as a symbol of U.S opposition to military violence, as taken from Baldwin's perspective, holds no credibility in this case. ...read more.


This greater effectiveness of multilateral sanctions depends on 'two expectations: that greater co-operation will increase the economic punishment on target states and, more critically, that increased punishment will make targets more likely to concede' (Pape, 1997, P.108) so greater co-operation is fruitless if it signals no extra cost to the target country. Overall it is the findings of this paper that 'economic sanctions are ineffective in the aggregate' (Drury, 2000, P.624) and have been over used in the past by states who are reluctant to embark on a military campaign but still want to signal to the world that they will not put up with the behaviour of the target state. Most of the literature supports this with most scholars agreeing that 'sanctions should rather be implemented as part of a broader strategy' (Barber, 1997, P.374) with the threat of military force if sanctions fail. It has often been the case that without the threat of military force behind them, sanctions have failed to convince the rulers of the target states to concede to the sender's demands. Also the humanitarian consequences in the past have been so great that it appears that sanctions have no place in a Liberal Democratic world, even though they have only been used more recently since the consolidation of Liberal Democracy in the majority of the world's politics. The preventing of Humanitarian consequences should be seen as vital in ensuring the future use and effectiveness of economic sanctions. Until all of these problems are resolved and politicians rethink their strategies regarding sanctions we will continue to see, overall, the ineffectiveness of economic sanctions. ...read more.

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