Sanctions Are No Silver Bullet

Posted July 28, 2015 at 5:10am

Peter Feaver and Eric Lorber : “Since 2005, U.S. policymakers have increasingly turned to sophisticated types of economic sanctions as a foreign policy tool of first resort. From the development of banking sanctions limiting Iran’s ability to secure financing from Western capital markets to new sanctions targeting Russia’s financial system and the development of its oil resources, U.S. policymakers have touted these innovative tools as extremely powerful while also being tailored and precise.”  

“But while these sophisticated sanctions have imposed substantial economic costs on Iran and Russia and do collectively constitute a more capable tool for coercive diplomacy, the developing narrative—likely to be bolstered by what the Obama administration sees as successful coercive diplomacy against Iran—that increasingly sophisticated sanctions provide policymakers with a no-cost silver bullet for addressing intractable national security issues is wrong.”