Are Sanctions Meant to Work?

Image from Library of Congress, hosted on Wikipedia

Image from Library of Congress, hosted on Wikipedia

Do sanctions work? The jury remains out on this question, but two preliminary issues bear further examination also. What are sanctions intended to achieve? And do states actually want sanctions to work? These essentially political questions depend on two discrete dynamics that are the subject of this article, which focuses on sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. The first is the political context of the Council and how the intentions of key actors are channelled into sanctions regimes. The second is the political economy in which those sanctions operate. Through a survey of UN practice over the past decade the two areas are examined in turn, followed by an examination of how to advance debate both inside and outside the United Nations.

Simon Chesterman and Béatrice Pouligny, “Are Sanctions Meant to Work? The Politics of Creating and Implementing Sanctions Through the United Nations”, Global Governance, Vol. 9, pp. 503-518 (2003). Available in full on SSRN here.