Document Type



Law and Economics


For over one hundred years, the attraction of economic sanctions as a middle path between talk and violence has prompted the use of sanctions for a wide variety of purposes ranging from weakening adversaries, toppling governments, and promoting human rights to opening foreign markets, promoting intellectual property, and protecting the global environment.

In recent years, however, economic sanctions have been subjected to stricter scrutiny than ever before, due to a sustained media and lobbying blitz by the U.S. business community under the banner of "USA*Engage." The campaign, begun in 1997, has produced a deluge of newspaper editorials and stories, virtually all critical of sanctions. One result of the campaign has been the introduction (though not yet the passage) of legislation that would impose procedural shackles on all new sanctions. Most of all, the movement appears to have begun to alter long-standing attitudes in the public and in Congress, shifting the historic presumption in favor of sanctions towards a more cautious approach and perhaps even a presumption against them.