Do Sanctions Lead To War?

Mar 27 2012 @ 2:14pm

Trita Parsi fears so:

Along the way, as part of this escalatory sanctions dynamic, measures are adopted that at the time may not appear to be decisive, but in essence create an irreversibility that eliminates all non-confrontational options. This leaves the sanctioning countries with only two policies: Regime change or war. Or both.

This happened in 1998 in Iraq. Under President Bill Clinton, Congress adopted the Iraq Liberation Act. A full embargo had already been in place on Iraq for six years, which had a crushing effect on the Iraqi economy and society. But while the sanctions crippled the fabric of the ancient Iraqi society, it did not break the endurance of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime. Frustrated, Congress felt that more pressure was needed—after all, we could not afford to leave Saddam with the impression that we weren't serious. The Iraq Liberation Act raised the stakes to demonstrate that seriousness by making regime change official US policy. This meant that even if Saddam sought to capitulate, it would not suffice. His regime had to go. As desirable as that outcome was, its effect was to redouble Saddam's determination. His last theoretical exit ramp had been eliminated.