Towards a Framework for Applying Us Economic Sanctions

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US economic sanctions, in the opinion of most observers, have not succeeded in attaining the desired objectives. Sanctions often impact US businesses negatively as well as other domestic and foreign constituencies. Our review of economic sanctions suggests that the US should adopt a phased approach in imposing sanctions. In the pre-economic sanctions phase, the US Government should pursue a strategy of engagement using specific incentives (and penalties) to change a targeted country's offensive behaviour. If engagement is unsuccessful, the second phase should include identifying a range of economic sanctions to achieve clearly stated objectives and assessing their potential impact on various groups. In the third phase, the US Government would impose sanctions, monitoring them regularly to determine if they should be adjusted or rescinded. The framework in this paper for all three phases may help to develop a systematic process for applying sanctions.