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Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy | Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Kofi Annan and Kishore Mahbubani on the disadvantages of sanctions

The global community must rethink the use of sanctions against states, the former UN general secretary Kofi Annan and diplomat and political scientist Kishore Mahbubani urge in the liberal daily Il Sole 24 Ore: "Today, the United Nations Security Council has more sanctions regimes in place than at any time in its history. Judging by this escalation, one might conclude that sanctions have proved a remarkably effective tool in promoting international peace and security. Unfortunately, that is far from being the case. In fact, academic studies suggest that sanctions have had limited success. But the potential problems with sanctions regimes extend far beyond ineffectiveness. There is also evidence that sanctions can be counterproductive, such as when targeted regimes enrich themselves by controlling black markets in prohibited goods. … Given the disputed impact of sanctions, a new approach is needed. After all, public policy should be guided by evidence, not intuition and emotion. And the evidence indicates that, in order to achieve success and avoid unintended consequences, carefully calibrated sanctions must be pursued in tandem with political engagement."

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