Sanctions as Instruments of US Foreign Policy 1
Sanctions as Instruments of US Foreign Policy
ISAAC OLUSEGUN OLUBO
US FOREIGN POLICY IN THE POST COLD WAR
The US is among the countries that widely use sanctions in efforts to compel a certain government(s) to change their policy appropriately. Usually, the embargos involve the restrictions on trade, investment and other commercial activities. The US mainly applies sanctions to countries which violate human rights, sponsor terror acts, trade unfairly or develop weapons of mass destruction. Depending on the level of the violation, the severity can be mild or extreme. Embargos have become the vehicles of non-military coercion, and the US does not hesitate to use them whenever necessary in order to reinforce the US foreign policy and promote the change of the victim countries for the better. However, the application of sanctions has attracted significant criticism following arguments that they affect the innocent civilians. As such, this paper will discuss how successful sanctions have been as the instruments of the US foreign policy. The discussion will borrow from the case of Cuba.
Failed Sanction Goals
It cannot be said that sanctions have been successful because they are not living up to the set expectations. The case is not only so in Cuba but also other countries such as Iran and North Korea which faces embargos from the US. As hinted earlier, the main problem with the sanctions is that they only hurt the people who the US government is intending to help. For instance, in the case of a trade sanction, a worker in a factory cannot receive raw materials and farmers are unable to export their crops. The US and Cuba has a long history in relation to sanctions. Since the 1960s, the US established strict restrictions barring Americans from investing in, trading with, and traveling to Cuba (White, 2014, p. 22). The primary objective for this sanction was to save this Caribbean Island from the dictatorial regime.
The Castro’s government was tyrannical. It prohibited free elections, and people who opposed the government were jailed, tortured or/and killed (Taylor 2009, p. 27). The country’s economic system was centrally planned, and it was one of the poorest nations. Despite having a small population when compared to other countries, the citizens did not enjoy free enterprise and private property. Hence, the US was determined to sap the regime of Castro and improve the livelihoods of the citizens in this Island. American then set strict measures against the nation hoping that the regime will be forced to hasten the process of liberalization and democracy. The argument was that the economic sanction would deprive Cube of resources thus undermining the Castro’s reign. Along the way, the sanctions also include a security rationale given that Castro served in the Soviet Union in 1991 (Clifford 1993, p. 161). However, service in the Soviet Union was short-lived following...