The Collective Enforcement of International Norms Through Economic Sanctions [Abstract]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 8 (1994)

December 3, 1994

In the less than three-and-a-half year period from the Kuwait crisis to the end of 1993, the UN Security Council adopted sanctions as a means of addressing unrest in Haiti, Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, and Somalia. Damrosch examines the international community's shift from unilateral to collective enforcement and assesses the moral legitimacy and conclusive results of this policy. Several important questions are addressed: Are sanctions justifiable even if they penalize the civilian populations and not the targeted elites? Are sanctions the best way for the international community to enforce moral and legal norms? Can economic pressure eventually translate into positive political change for the recipients of sanctions? In recognizing the devastating effects of sanctions on civilian populations, Damrosch asks: Do the noble intentions of eliminating military aggression, dictatorships, and genocide justify the devastating hardship of citizens for whom the principled application is sought? When is it politically advantageous for the leading powers to direct sanctions against selected countries rather than employ sanctions on a consistent and internationally agreed upon basis?


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