argument top image

Are economic sanctions effective?
Back to question

Economic sanctions as objections are not effective

Economic sanctions are statements made by countries in objection to behavior. The sanctions themselves rarely have a meaningful impact on the behavior that they are objecting to.
< (1 of 2) Next argument >

The Argument

Economic sanctions attempt to weaken another country's economy by limiting or restricting trade with them.[1] This change, however, is tolerable to the country as a whole. This is due to the size and diversity of the world economy and marketplace. There are usually other options available to a country that is being sanctioned, and these options help keep the economy running relatively unhindered. Within the country, the impoverished are hit the hardest, and the wealthy are usually the least affected. Since the wealthy are typically in positions of power within a country, this leads to little or no policy change.[2] Further, a lengthy sanction tends to bring about no change from the sanctioned country. This is because the longer these sanctions are in place, the longer the sanctioned country has to adapt to these challenges.[2]

Counter arguments

Countries who control a large percent of a given market have the ability to impose effective sanctions. For example, the 1973 oil embargo imposed on the United States by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was an attempt to get the U.S. to stop supporting Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. While the U.S. still supports Israel, the sanctions were effective in that the U.S. has become more neutral and has supported compromise in the form of a two state solution.


[P1] The primary intention of economic sanctions is to make a country change its behavior. [P2] However, they do not succeed in doing this and generally end up being no more than symbolic.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The primary objective of economic sanctions is to speak out against a country's behavior. Changing it's behavior is secondary.


This page was last edited on Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 07:43 UTC

Explore related arguments