Evolution of Sanctions in Practice Sept 28.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Political Science
Justin Bumgardner

thEvolution of Sanctions in PracticeTheorySept 5 Rose GottemoellerSanctions as policy refugeSanctions have long been an important stage between the talking therapy of diplomacy and the use of military force they are less feeble than scolding an ambassador and less bloody than sending in the marines They provide a frisson of moral satisfactionAnalyst David Lektzian reported that since 1990 alone economic sanctions were used by the United States Greece Russia the United Nations and the European Union China Germany Belgium France Saudi Arabia England the Netherlands Spain Japan the OAU and ECOWAS Mercosur and Turkey to take on both internal and external problems The United States alone applied 85 new sanctions on foreign states between 1996 and 2001One reason sanctions became so popular in this period was their success in bringing about the end of apartheid in South Africa Pretoria faced comprehensive sanctions extending from a 1977 arms embargo to restrictions on trade in oil and a wide range of other products as well as in 1986 financial sanctions When apartheid came to an end in the early 1990s sanctions were hailed as an important contributor but not the only factor Many observers noted how sanctions would not have worked unless there had been a determined black liberation struggleExperts in sanctions theory noted a number of different factors that have been important to success or failure of sanctions Countries with functioning multiparty systems for example changed their behaviour in response to sanctions much more frequently than authoritarian leaders If voters have no refuge in other parties but the control authoritarian leaders can exercise over the media and opinion formation is also importantRecognizing this during Iraq sanctions where the UN was trying to implement comprehensive sanctions after the 1991 Gulf War In the latter half of the 1990s these sanctions began to fail decisively The failure of the oilforfood programme is a particularly dark chapter Begun in an attempt to relieve civilian suffering in Iraq after the UN imposed sanctions it became a means to circumvent the sanctions and enrich Saddam Husseins elites It descended into scandal when it became evident that oil traders were kicking back to Baghdad a portion of the premium they received for selling the oil The steps the UN Security Council took to resolve this problem in turn greatly reduced the funds available for the humanitarian relief programme The Iraq experience showed why sanctions often fail They often fail when they are directed against an authoritarian regime and when they are poorly implemented Comprehensive sanctions that are widely targeted against an entire economy and society bear a heavy moral burden because they impact vulnerable groupswomen children the poor and elderlybut leave the political elites largely untouched In fact in Iraq and in Serbia before it political elites enriched themselves by engaging in black marketeering to circumvent the sanctions regime
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