Should Trade Sanctions Be Stopped Essay

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To most of the world, sanctions are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, they reinforce trade rules and promote respect for them. On the other hand, they tend to undermine the principles of free trade and provoke a kind of ‘trade envy’(Charnovitz) in other international organizations.
     Trade retaliation goes back quite a ways; we see examples of it in much of US law:
-Antidumping Act of 1916, which has seen little use.(Charnovitz)
-International Labor Organization, from the Treaty of Versailles 1919, which served as an international dispute system, but no economic measures were ever recommended until 2000, against Burma.(Charnovitz)
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World leaders often decide that the most obvious alternatives to sanctions are no good – military action would be too strong and diplomatic protests too weak. Sanctions can provide a satisfying dramatic display, but avoid the high costs of war.(Library of Economics) This isn’t to say that sanctions don’t cost a thing, just that they’re often less costly than the alternatives.
     A second advantage to sanctions can be seen through foreign pressure to promote internal change, assuming that the sanctioned government wants to comply with the rules, but can’t because of domestic politics.(Charnovitz) We can see in many cases that sanctions are being imposed primarily for signaling purposes – either for the benefit of allies, other third parties, or once again, their own citizens. If the sanctions aren’t carefully targeted or the costs are too high for the sanctioning country, the intended signal may be lost.(Library of Economics)
     Sanctions intended to change the behavior or government of a target country are very difficult to design. They have to be imposed as quickly and easily as possible.(Library of Economics) By moving too slowly, it gives the target country time to adjust by finding alternative markets, finding new allies, and by gaining domestic support of its own policies.
     Another advantage of trade sanctions is the fact that they have the power to be enacted
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