The Sanctions Debate and the Logic of Choice/Diplomacy

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The Sanctions Debate and the Logic of Choice/Diplomacy (David Baldwin)

Sanctions are understood to be one policy option for influencing other states. (N.B other options include: diplomacy, propaganda, military force, do nothing)

This article highlights the need to distinguish between:
1)Whether sanctions “work” (are they effective?)
2)Whether they should be used

It is not enough to discuss the disadvantages of implementing sanctions, rather one should go one step further in discussing possible alternatives. •A successful policy choice is one which maximizes the utility of the policy-maker in a given situation. •A “rational” policymaker weighs up the costs/benefits of sanctions and alternative policies.

Defining Success: (Answering the first question)
To define success, one must establish the goals that need to be fulfilled so that one’s policy is successful. Political leaders (who need a positive image) purposely set the criteria for success at a low level so that success is easily achievable. •Effectiveness of sanctions: whether they meet their policy goals Changing the behaviour of other states (belief, emotions, expectations, opinions, attitudes) Imposing costs on targets

Manipulation to change the image of the parties involved •Effectiveness:
Scope: range of issues affected by sanctions (e.g. human rights, tariffs) Weight: degree to which the target is affected (e.g. low, medium, high) Domain: number of people affected (e.g. countries, IOs)

Costs to User:
Lower costs increase the degree of success
Costs to the Target:
The degree of costs experienced by the target as a result of non-compliance is another measure of success Analogy: no use in investing money to create a bullet if another person invests in making a bullet-proof vest. •Stakes for User: (What you’re prepared to gain or lose) Bigger the stakes, more valuable the contribution

Stakes for Target:
More difficult the undertaking, more valuable...
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