The mechanism of economic sanctions: Changing perceptions and euphemisms
20 March 2002 (Rev. November 2003)
“Economic sanctions”, a mode of coercion in international relations resuscitated in recent years, has prompted renewed and lively scholarly interest in the subject. Why have such measures become so popular? One answer is that they “constitute a means of exerting international influence that is more powerful than diplomatic mediation but lies below the threshold of military intervention”. Another answer is that “they engage comparatively less internal political resistance than other candidate strategies […]. They do not generate sombre processions of body bags bringing home the mortal remains of the sons and daughters of constituents”, in other words, they cost little to the side imposing the sanctions. The notable predilection by the United States for economic sanctions , suggests that such a tool is particularly useful for economically powerful states that are themselves relatively immune to such measures.