President Woodrow Wilson stated in 1919 that boycotting of nations applied an economic pressure that could bring about peace without force. Implementing economic sanctions has gone on for decades, even by the United Nations, and most with limited success at forcing the offending country to make the needed changes. Other times the result is the country is later released from sanction to receive greater benefits in their desired path. For instance, the US imposed economic sanctions on India for testing nuclear weapons; however, even in the summer of 1998 sanctions were reduced while the US sought support, and finally in October of 2008, President Bush removed these sanctions completely, enabling India to begin working with American firms to access nuclear materials (“India in from the cold” 23). The effectiveness of economic sanctions, to achieve their goals, is drastically reduced due to continued failure to impose reasonable restrictions, maintain support from the global environment, and follow-through with initial requirements.
Sanctions are not able to achieve their goals due to the hidden costs of integrated economic systems that prevent countries from full support and often lead to half-hearted attempts to maintain the sanctions. At the time of India’s sanctions, in 1998, unexpected interests were negatively affected including US competitiveness; while in 2008 continuing economic sanctions make it difficult for Cuba to rebuild after destructive hurricanes. Reasonable restrictions that do not affect countries and companies, other than those with the sanctions, are almost impossible to determine due to continued international growth throughout the world. When economic sanctions negatively impact other economies, global support declines and restricts the ability to follow-through.
Prohibitions on trade, through boycotts, restrict trade in ways that can result in loss of competitiveness and increase in costs to all international firms. Secondary boycotts such as the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act in 1996, which prohibited all new business activities within those countries, demonstrated the complication of maintaining complete boycotts due to the value of resources (Jennings 242). While sanctions imposed on smaller countries and economic systems can effectively force surrender without violence, sanctions imposed on larger countries effectively reduces the economic value of many countries. The US must consider amending the current policies of sanctions or abolishing them in favor of maintaining steady growth of international markets and trading.
“India: Sanctions more detrimental to US interests:
Bhagwati.” Businessline 18 Jul 1998: 1. ProQuest Asian Business and
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“India in from the cold.” The Daily Telegraph [London, U.K.] 3 Oct. 2008. 23.
Jennings, Marianne. Business Its Legal, Ethical, and Global Environment. Mason: Thomson