Smart Sanctions: Targeting Economic Statecraft

In This Review

Smart Sanctions: Targeting Economic Statecraft

Edited by David Cortright and George A. Lopez
Rowman & Littlefield, 2002
256 pp. $72.00

During the 1990s, economic sanctions became an increasingly favored tool of diplomacy. In the aftermath of September 11, the use of targeted sanctions has only increased in importance. Yet their effectiveness remains in question. This book focuses on "smart sanctions" -- selective penalties devised to put pressure on specific groups and avoid the unintended suffering caused by general embargoes. In examining 14 cases of un-mandated sanctions in the 1990s, the authors find that the measures fail more often than they succeed. In some instances, however, they do achieve modest goals. In Iraq, sanctions produced concessions in 1993 and 1994. In Libya, they helped trigger negotiations that brought suspected terrorists to trial. In Angola, sanctions and military pressure eventually helped to undercut the rebel movement. In Cambodia, they helped to isolate and weaken the Khmer Rouge. But in conflicts in Sudan, Liberia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia and Eritrea, they had little impact. Another conclusion: the effectiveness of sanctions depends less on whether they are comprehensive or targeted and more on whether they are seriously enforced. Concerted international action is therefore the key to success.

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