Belfer Center Home > Publications > Academic Papers & Reports > Journal Articles > Diplomatic Sanctions as a U.S. Foreign Policy Tool: Helpful or Harmful?

EmailEmail   PrintPrint Bookmark and Share

 
"Diplomatic Sanctions as a U.S. Foreign Policy Tool: Helpful or Harmful?"

Gene A. Cretz, the first U.S. ambassador to Libya in 36 years, at a ceremony opening the visa services section at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, Libya, Apr. 2, 2009.
AP Photo

"Diplomatic Sanctions as a U.S. Foreign Policy Tool: Helpful or Harmful?"

The Center Page

Journal Article, PS: Political Science and Politics, volume 43, issue 4, pages 826-827

October 2010

Author: Tara Maller, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2010–2011

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security

 

Advocates of diplomatic engagement with states of concern argue that talking to both allies and adversaries is essential for advancing U.S. foreign policy interests. President Obama has repeatedly expressed the view that the United States "should be willing to initiate diplomacy as a mechanism to achieve our national security goals" (Congressional Quarterly Transcripts Wire 2009). Critics of this approach argue that engagement with these regimes is tantamount to appeasement and signals acceptance of behavior that ought to be condemned. In their view, little can be gained by talking to these states. Thus, diplomatic sanctions are seen as a low-cost means of isolating and delegitimizing regimes. This perspective, however, fails to recognize that maintaining diplomatic sanctions may actually entail a number of substantial costs to the United States and may even undermine economic sanctions' effectiveness.

Seeking to weigh in on this debate, my doctoral dissertation focuses on two central questions: (1) What are the effects of diplomatic sanctions as a foreign policy tool? and (2) Do diplomatic sanctions increase or decrease the likelihood of target state compliance with U.S. demands? I develop and test a new diplomacy-based theory of sanction efficacy focused on the role of information, communication, and diplomatic ties. A more thorough analysis of the costs of keeping diplomatic sanctions in place is essential for crafting and evaluating U.S. policies with regard to states of concern, such as decisions about the appropriate level of engagement with Iran, re-institution of the U.S. ambassador to Syria, or engagement with the leadership in Sudan....

Continue reading: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7910903&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S1049096510001666 (log in required)

 

For more information about this publication please contact the ISP Program Coordinator at 617-496-1981.

Full text of this publication is available at:
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7910903
&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S1049096510001666

For Academic Citation:

Maller, Tara. "Diplomatic Sanctions as a U.S. Foreign Policy Tool: Helpful or Harmful?." PS: Political Science and Politics 43, no. 4 (October 2010): 826-827.

Bookmark and Share

SUBSCRIBE

Receive email updates on the most pressing topics in science and int'l affairs.

<em>International Security</em>

The Fall 2014 Issue of the quarterly journal International Security
is now available!

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev.