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Scrutiny
  
Sanctions or no sanctions?
Sanctions have mostly proved counter productive! But the jury is still...
30/09/2010

The concept of sanctions dates back to 431 BC when Athens imposed a ‘Megarian’ sanction on Megar, resulting in the prolonged Peloponnesian war. It didn’t work then; it doesn’t work now! As a study by the Institute for International Economics at revealed in 2003, sanctions have only succeeded 33% of the time globally. In 2010, the Institute further reported that US had achieved its foreign policy objectives only in 13% of the cases where it imposed sanctions from 1970 to 1997!

The US has been the lead runner in this sanction imposing race since long, even in the previous decade. From 1995 till 2001, the US had imposed around 85 economic sanctions on other countries. A New York Times review showed how, even in 1996, US firms were losing more than $95 billion. The US has continued from thereon. On June 9, 2010, the Obama administration slapped harder sanctions on Iran; banning delivery of major military equipment and prohibition on international transactions of finance and assets of Iranian corporations. However, the Iranian establishment defied this sanction citing that sanctions on Iran “will leave 150,000 to 200,000 people jobless in Western countries while creating job opportunities for Iranians”. The US trade embargo against Cuba is five decades old and is referred to by Obama himself as “ineffective and detrimental”. On similar lines, military sanctions against Pakistan by the US (a 15 year embargo that ran from 1990 to 2005 on the sale of F-16 fighter/bomber aircraft) didn’t deter the country from purchasing weapons from elsewhere.

If sanctions don’t work, why should we still have them? The reasons for having sanctions are also quite strong. It avoids direct war. In 1960, the Cuban missile crisis was avoided and America did not attack Cuba purely because of Russian intervention and imposition of sanctions as an alternative. Therefore, while researches show economic business that is lost, these reports are never able to quantify political gains. The jury is still out...

By:- Sray Agarwal
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