Economic Sanctions in International Relations Essay

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Briona Coates ECONOMIC SANCTIONS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS On the world stage, states have a number of options for achieving foreign policy goals that really only fall into two categories: (1) military coercion (2) economic coercion. When one assesses the strategies involved in coercive diplomacy, there is a flexible, discriminating approach to the use of force—the goal is to alter the target state’s weighing of costs and benefits so it is convinced that complying with the ultimatum will be better than defying the pressuring state’s demands. With military coercion there are a considerable number of factors to consider: moral implications of preemption vs. preventive war, support at home or abroad for war, level of security threat presented, and the domestic government’s military budget. However, economic coercion is becoming more popular due to the less risky action of economic sanctions. An economic sanction involves the punitive use of trade or monetary measures, such as an embargo, to harm the economy of an enemy state in order to exercise influence over its policies (Kegley & Raymond, 2012, p. 214). As a foreign policy instrument, there are also costs and benefits, the benefits seeming more feasible on paper, while the statistics in costs state otherwise. Both the record and the dominant scholarly literature underestimate the likely effectiveness of post-cold war economic sanctions. The U.S. is the best choice to lead sanctioning efforts; other candidates for leadership are the permanent members of the UN Security Council. The overall 34 percent success rate is often quoted to show that sanctions are ineffective. However, this success rate is only low if measured against a severe standard of expected performance. In fact, since sanctions cost the United States (their biggest user) relatively little to impose, involve little risk, and have not been
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