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You Get a Sanction, and You, and You

Everybody gets a sanction!

Words: Laicie Heeley
Pictures: Marc Johns / Cast from Clay
Date:
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  • At their core, sanctions are a way for countries to say, “We don’t like what you’re doing, and we’re going to make your life harder for it.” When they’re at their best, sanctions can isolate corrupt financiers, stigmatize human rights violators and even get entire countries to change their behavior. But they don’t always work[...]
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At their core, sanctions are a way for countries to say, “We don’t like what you’re doing, and we’re going to make your life harder for it.” When they’re at their best, sanctions can isolate corrupt financiers, stigmatize human rights violators and even get entire countries to change their behavior.

But they don’t always work that way.

Economic sanctions are really hard to do right. They have to be precisely gamed out, or they can backfire in any number of ways. They’re often hard to get rid of. And, more often than not, they hurt real people.

But the US likes sanctions. Congress likes sanctions.

On this episode of Things That Go Boom, what does all of this mean for some of our oldest sanctions? And some of our newest?

Listen and subscribe now on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotifyPocket Casts, or wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks.

Guests: Jason Bartlett, Center for a New American Security; Ricardo Herrero, Cuba Study Group; Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Artist and Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Fine Arts, Vanderbilt University; Inna Melnykovska, Central European University; Paul Carroll, Charity & Security Network; Konrad Körding, University of Pennsylvania; Elnaz Alikarami, McGill University; and Nosratullah Mohammadi, University of Geneva (formerly Zanjan, Iran)

Additional Reading:

Can Sanctions Stop Russia?, Annie Lowrey, The Atlantic.

The Russian Sanctions Regime and the Risk of Catastrophic Success, Erik Sand and Suzanne Freeman, War on the Rocks.

The Impact of Western Sanctions on Russia and How They Can Be Made Even More Effective, Anders Åslund and Maria Snegovaya, Atlantic Council.

Boxing Cuba In Benefits No One, Christopher Sabatini and Lauren Cornwall, Foreign Policy.

Special thanks to Maria Snegovaya.

Laicie Heeley

Editor in Chief

Laicie Heeley is the founding CEO of Inkstick Media, where she serves as Editor in Chief of the foreign policy magazine Inkstick and Executive Producer and Host of the PRX- and Inkstick-produced podcast, Things That Go Boom. Heeley’s reporting has appeared on public radio stations across America and the BBC, where she’s explored global security issues including domestic terrorism, disinformation, nuclear weapons, and climate change. Prior to launching Inkstick, Heeley was a Fellow with the Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program and Policy Director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Her publications include work on sanctions, diplomacy, and nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, along with the first full accounting of US counterterrorism spending after 9/11.

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  • As civilian casualties in Gaza mount and conflicts around the world kill and displace vulnerable people, we ask, "What can feminist foreign policy do about war crimes?" The international community doesn’t have a great track record of timely intervention to stop atrocities. But one-sided military intervention can also be a recipe for disaster. In this[...]
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