Do Sanctions Work?

While reading the news recently, I have been seeing the word ‘sanction’ multiple times. While listening to the news on various channels, many report on countries that are being sanctioned in the world by international organizations or by various countries.  Pondering about what do sanction exactly do, I thought about the implications of a sanction. Some countries use sanctions as a way to punish another country to stop doing things that may be harmful to the world or to their own people. Of course, this is their opinion, but doesn’t the sanctions ultimately hurt the general base population more than the more privileged in the society.

One way to sanction a country is to stop its international trade and to stop its international transactions with its central banks, which both lead to a heavy impact on the economy of the country. Ultimately, it will leave less money in the peoples’ pockets as a whole, which means less money circulating in the economy, which leads to less economic growth. The consumption is lowered, investment will take a hit since their is no strong investment that will be profitable, and the government has a cut in funds since the tax revenue will decrease. My intuition states that if all these negative events occur simultaneously, won’t the people begin to revolt and question the government or the particular reason they are being sanctioned? With a riled population, the government may become afraid because their power will become undermined leading to a possible regime change. This will probably be the ultimate result that the countries or organizations enforcing the sanctions want.

There are some instances where I can understand why this process is effective, however, doesn’t it show that the country or organization that has the power to sanction, has too much power? If someone has enough influence to stop another country’s economy, basically it can control that country on the basis that money is the very important to any country’s existence. From another aspect, what if the government that the sanctioned country was voted by its people. Now after being voted by the people, a foreign country imposes sanctions. This seems to me that this does not give the general population of that country the proper rights as they deserve to elect their own officials who they feel represent them.

After learning more about what is happening in Syria and the sanctions that are being imposed on that country, a person who supported the opposition to the Syrian government stated that they general population want the sanctions because it will threaten the current government to clean up its act on its corrupt ways. He admitted that the Syrians are sacrificing today for a better tomorrow. But, how long will they be able to handle this and will their economy be hurt for sometime to come in the future? Will they be able to handle a new lifestyle after their is a regime change?

I hope that I at least brought another side to the impact of sanctions. If I made have stated something incorrectly, let me know, however, if you have an opinion, I would love to hear it.