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PSC 1003; Lecture 10

by: Eleanor Parry

PSC 1003; Lecture 10 PSC 1003

Eleanor Parry
GPA 3.81

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About this Document

These notes cover lecture 10
Introduction to International Politics
Farrell, H
Class Notes
International Politics; Political Science
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Eleanor Parry on Friday February 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSC 1003 at George Washington University taught by Farrell, H in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see Introduction to International Politics in Political Science at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 02/12/16
Sanctions Debates over Economic Sanctions • Economic Sanctions - trade and market based tools intended to exert pressure on actors to change their political behavior. • Examples - ◦ Recently weakened sanctions regime on Iran - sough to cut off Iranian access to trade and capital markets. ◦ Apartheid era sanctions against South Africa. ◦ Current sanctions against Russia. Sanctions and Targeting • Sanctions can be hard to target well. • Sweeping sanctions against a regime will hurt that regime. ◦ Bu may also hurt victims of the regime. ◦ May also hurt broader population. ◦ Raises particular questions when sanctions are imposed to redress domestic wrongs in the sanctioned countries. South Africa vs Iraq • South Africa sanctions during Apartheid era. • Clearly hurt economic growth. ◦ But supported by large majority of South African population. ◦ Were plausible highly successful in communicating that regime was an international pariah. ◦ Led to change. • Iraq sanctions ◦ Hurt innocents (played badly in regime propaganda). ◦ Didn't hurt regime as much as they should have. ◦ Widely regarded as debacle. Sanctions and Support • Paradox of sanctions - the more successful they are likely to be, the worse they are going to hurt the deliverer. • Sanctions - typically involves restrictions on trade and financial flows. • To be successful requires that these flows are significant. • But this also makes them hard to impose and retain. ◦ Allies and somes firms may balk. Sanctions and Blameshifting • Sanctions may be self-undermining if administered thoughtlessly. • Iraq sanctions - most sweeping ever imposed. • But led to humanitarian catastrophe - deaths of many, many children. • Also, enormous corruption. • And placed blame for these sanctions directly on great powers who insisted on maintaining them. Counterblast against Sanctions • Pape argues that sanctions are effectively useless. • Very few examples of success - and figures of supporters are fundamentally wrong. • Fail to take account of other factors (such as use of force). • In fact, sanctions are only useful 5% of the time. • Hence - a very poor use of statecraft indeed when compared to other policies. Drezner Response - Targeted Sanctions • Emerges from both academic and policy debates. • Academic skepticism and policy maker skepticism over sanctions reinforce each other. • Too blunt an instrument, and too hard to sustain. • So does it make better sense to employ a scalpel than a bludgeon? Smart Sanctions • Smart Sanctions - economic and financial measures that are aimed against individuals or companies, not against whole countries. ◦ Can target members of regime responsible for undesired action. ◦ Or prominent business supporters. ◦ Or other actors who might influence the party who you want to target. • Potentially answers some of Pape's objections. Difference with Smart Sanctions • Do not focus on basic goods and technologies. ◦ Instead focus on luxuries and other items that are disproportionately valuable to regime supporters. ◦ Or travel bans on named individuals and their families. • Combined with economic targeting of specific individuals, corporations etc. • Hence, potentially avoid perverse consequences of sanctions possibly empowering rather than disempowering targeted actors. Success of Sanctions • Depends on activity being targeted. ◦ Is it cheap for the state to stop doing it? • Depends on the ends of sanctions employed. ◦ Travel bans etc probably not very effective ex post. ◦ Arms sanctions may be relatively ineffective. ◦ Financial sectors sanctions may be relatively effective for US and EU - if they can agree. ‣ Us financial predominance is very important. Best Sanctions may be those that never happen. • Literature on effects of sanctions concentrates on cases of sanctions that have occurred, and asks whether they changed state behavior. • But these may not be the most important sanctions. • Perhaps sanctions deter other states from carrying out activities. ◦ Nuclear proliferation. • IF so, their impact is much harder to measure. Russian Sanctions:ACase West Russia and Ukraine • Russian invasion of Ukraine poses a series of dilemmas to US foreign policy. ◦ Death of "reset" ◦ Difficulties of military retaliation. ◦ Potential destabilization of large part of Europe. • Plausible target for sanctions. ◦ Russian economy dependent on trade with the West. ◦ Specific aspects that are particular weaknesses. Difficulties I - Domestic Opposition • Most effective possible sanctions are most politically difficult. • Energy sector key to Moscow ◦ Needs technical expertise to develop energy resources. • But also key to the economic plans of major US based energy companies. ◦ They aren't making new gas/oil fields. Difficulties II - Unwilling Allies • European countries are more directly affected by new insecurity. • Also - more directly engaged with Russian economy (making cutoffs more costly to Russia). • But this creates problem of mutual dependence. ◦ Role of Russian gas supplies. ◦ Dense business links. ◦ Friends relations with figures in Hungary, Bulgaria and Germany. Obama Administration Strategy • Targeted Sanctions ◦ Aimed at key figures possibly benefitting from invasion of Ukraine. ◦ Also political targeting of important figure in shadow regime. ◦ Gradual expansion of targeting list. • Gradual Escalation ◦ Makes it easier to bring business allies along. ◦ Hope to bring Putin to the negotiating table, and discourage future adventurism. Successful Aspects • Has brought allies along • Increased willingness from Europe to impose serious sanctions on Russia. ◦ German disenchantment. • Policies that will impose substantial and targeted costs on Russian power elite. • Possibility of more serious sanctions from Europ down the line. ◦ The SWIFT threat. Unsuccessful Aspects • Has not led Russia to back down in any substantial way. ◦ Some rhetorical changes • Has not measurably increased security for Ukraine or Baltic States. • May alienate Russia completely from Western System. • May also impose increased pressures on US elsewhere (move to Syria). Possible Russian Response • Counter sanctions against European products. ◦ Tough to impose, except on limited array of goods. • Support for targeted companies. • Retaliation via air routes etc. ◦ Possibly but likely marginal. • Retaliation through expropriation of foreign property. ◦ Law under consideration but long term consequences. • Counter measures on energy. ◦ Economic problems given importance of EU as customer • Increased belligerence Limits of Sanctions • Russia story illustrates limits even of targeted sanctions • Will not get states to bak down on matters of basic nations interest • May be counteracted by sufficiently motivated state. Why Economic Sanctions Don't Work 1. Economic Sanctions A. Seek to lower aggregate economic welfare of a target state by reducing international trade in order to coerce the target government to change its political behavior. B. Effective alternative to military force. C. Important to not conflate economic sanctions with trade disputes. D. Successful if: a. Target state concedes to coercers demands. b. Economic sanctions were threatened or applied before target state changes its ways. c. No more credible explanation accounts for targeted states actions. 2. Economic Warfare A. Seeks to weaken an adversaries aggregate economic potential in order to weaken its military capability. 3. Trade Warfare A. When a state threatens to inflict economic harm or actually inflicts it in order to persuade the target state to agree to more favorable terms of trade to the coercing state.


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