Chicago Journal of International Law


The prevailing view among commentators (if not among policymakers) is that economic sanctions are a bad idea-bad economics, bad politics, bad law. Just a few minutes in the library turns up articles and books such as Economic Sanctions: Obstruction or Instrument for World Trade? (and you can guess the answer); Ineffectiveness of Economic Sanctions: Same Song, Same Refrain?; Feeling Good or Doing Good with Sanctions, Altering U.S. Sanctions Policy and so on. Most of the critique of economic sanctions has been directed at so-called "unilateral sanctions," which are sanctions imposed (alone or with the usual allies) by the United States. The fact that the UN Security Council has instituted a plethora of economic sanctions since the automatic Soviet veto melted away in 1991, has taken away one of the arguments against imposition of sanctions, but has generally not converted the opponents of sanctions to supporters of non-forcible measures of international diplomacy.