Chicago Journal of International Law


Two seemingly contradictory trends-globalization, epitomized by the free flow of goods and capital across nations, and the frequent disruption of these free flows for foreign policy reasons-emerged in the 1990s. Economic sanctions were so routinely imposed in the early 1990s that scholars came to call it the "Sanctions Decade" (see Figure 1). Economic sanctions were the policy tool of choice to address an increasing number of foreign policy concerns. What are the reasons for this proliferation of economic sanctions in the early 1990s? First, while the United States remained by far the most frequent user of economic sanctions in absolute terms, this period saw the emergence of new sender countries. The end of the Cold War and superpower rivalry brought with it new enthusiasm for international cooperation within the United Nations framework. Cooperation among major powers manifested itself in a remarkable increase in UN peacekeeping missions and humanitarian operations-and these were often accompanied by the imposition of economic sanctions. Since 1990, the UN Security Council has imposed mandatory sanctions thirteen times, compared to just twice-against South Africa and Rhodesia-before 1990. [CONT]