Rethinking economic “sanctions”

Journal article

Nili, Shmuel. (2016) Rethinking economic “sanctions”. International Studies Review. 18(4), pp. 635 - 654.
AuthorsNili, Shmuel

What do democracies do by refusing to trade with dictatorships? The conventional view assumes that: (1) a democratic refusal to trade with dictators is an exception that requires special justification; (2) following customary international law, dictators should normally be recognized as legitimate in selling their peoples' resources; (3) a refusal to trade is one policy option which democratic governments may choose; and (4) a refusal to trade succeeds only when contributing to change in the “target” country. Focusing on natural resource trade, I develop an alternative view which holds that: (1) democracies owe no special justification for refusing to trade; (2) dictators have no right to sell their peoples' natural resources; and (3) democratic refusal to purchase natural resources from dictators should be the norm. It follows that (4) such refusal achieves an important moral goal simply by preventing corporations based in democratic countries from partaking in crime.

Keywordsnormative IR; sanctions; international law; natural resources; resource curse
JournalInternational Studies Review
Journal citation18 (4), pp. 635 - 654
PublisherOxford University Press
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85019590560
Page range635 - 654
Research GroupInstitute for Humanities and Social Sciences
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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