Are Economic Sanctions Useful in Discouraging the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction?

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For the past two decades, the United Nations has imposed sanctions against countries that have been implicated in the use of terrorism and the development of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Can economic sanctions help curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? This paper investigates the nature and effects of economic sanctions as applied to Iraq, Iran and North Korea. The paper concludes that although sanctions may help slow down the development of weapons of mass destruction, they will likely be unable to prevent determined and well-financed countries from becoming members of the nuclear club. To reinforce the effectiveness of sanctions, policymakers should be ready to negotiate and offer positive incentives as a method of encouraging cooperation from target nations. The paper begins by considering the nature and effects of economic sanctions.


This article was originally published in World Economics. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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