The politics of sanctions

This course examines how international pressure, with specific regard to external sanctions, affects politics in targeted regimes. In the first decade since the end of the Cold War alone, the UN Security Council issued more sanctions than in its entire existence before. Also, the United States and the European Union regularly use coercive diplomacy to fight human rights violations, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the endurance of conflict in other countries. Yet various regimes such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea or Zimbabwe have proven to be extremely resilient to long-enduring pressure levelled against them. In response, this course aims to analyse (1) the imposition of sanctions and how it relates to other interventions such as diplomacy, naming and shaming, and military intervention and (2) the reactions of targeted regimes to external pressure. Building on insights from research on sanctions, other forms of international pressure, authoritarianism and violent conflict, we will identify the potential effects of international pressure and the specific features of those regimes which have resisted interventions to democratise, to stop nuclear proliferation or to end conflicts. Of particular interest are targeted regimes’ characteristics, strategies and actions. We will also analyse the interests of international actors such as the United Nations, the United States and the European Union, and also of China and Russia and will look at relevant cases such as Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe and Myanmar.

This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.