Iran, Cuba, North Korea … Do economic sanctions sometimes work?

Can they contribute to the outcome of the conflict as unprecedented Western economic sanctions are beginning to suffocate Russia? Until now, this strategy has rarely been successful.

The ruble that collapses, the Moscow Exchange that cannot be reopened, the Russian bank that was disconnected from the Swift communication network, the Russian assets that were frozen in Europe, or the Russian central bank that was soon seized are the keys to stop the overexpansion. I was forced to raise the rate by more than 10 points. .. International economic sanctions on Russia are beginning to produce their effects.

But are these often malicious sanctions really politically effective?

“Sanctions are believed to create a deteriorating economic situation that puts pressure on leaders,” researchers Fanny Coulomb and Sylvie Matery explain in an article in the International Strategy Review. increase. Articles on sanctions question their effectiveness and, in most cases, conclude that sanctions are invalid. “

A 2012 study by the Watson Institute, an American research center that analyzed 56 episodes of UN economic and financial sanctions covered between 1992 and 2012, showed desirable results in 31% of cases. it was done. However, this measure is basically related to measures aimed at preventing certain countries from engaging in activities prohibited by international law. When it comes to influencing enemy policy, whether national or not, its effectiveness drops to 13%.

Iran: Despite sanctions, the country enriches uranium

US embargo in 1980, international sanctions in 1995, international sanctions in 2006, subsequent relaxation under the Vienna Agreement in 2015, revival of strict sanctions in 2018 … Islamic republic has been the Washington cross for over 40 years Has been attached to. Iran was one of the only countries excluded from the Swift banking messaging platform in 2012, after which the United States withdrew from the Vienna Agreement in 2018. The economic impact was real. According to the Carnegie Moscow Center, the country would have lost almost half of its oil export revenues and 30% of its foreign trade. However, the goal of preventing Iran from developing a military nuclear program has not been achieved. On the contrary, the isolated country has accelerated its uranium enrichment program and announced in 2021 that it would reach the 60% enrichment threshold not far from the 85% required for the production of nuclear warheads.

North Korea: Without sanctions, the threat could be exacerbated

The most licensed country in the world. North Korea has been banned from the international community for over 70 years and is isolated from the world’s economic system. UN Resolution 1718 of 2006 imposes an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban on those involved in nuclear development programs. The latest UN Resolution 2375, enacted in 2017, strengthened them, for example, by banning North Korea’s textile imports and the delivery of gas or refined oil to the country. If these sanctions did not prevent the country from acquiring nuclear weapons, they might have helped curb the program.

“All measures have not yet been activated, and the fight against sanctions evasion could be amplified, especially on the side of China and many African countries,” said Benjamin, a researcher at the Strategic Research Foundation. Autokverter believes in Figaro’s column that North Korea’s plans are not mature enough to be considered a nuclear power with secondary offensive capabilities. ” ..

In other words, economic sanctions did not prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, but probably limited its importance.

Libya: Current embargo on “total inefficiency”

The current arms embargo imposed on Libya since 2011 is “totally ineffective.” This is what UN experts said in a 2021 550-page report. The presence of Wagner’s Russian mercenaries, avoidance of embargoes by supporters of Libya such as the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Russia, Syria and Egypt … Sanctions against Libya have not brought their results.

Libya, accused of supporting terrorism, has been banished from the international community since the late 1970s. This did not prevent funding for attacks such as Italy in 1985. .. In 1999, the country handed over two agents involved in the Lockerbie attack, and sanctions were gradually lifted in the 2000s. In May 2006, the country was removed from the list of United States supporting terrorism.

However, new sanctions have been voted by the United Nations Security Council following the 2011 crackdown on Arab Spring by the administration of Captain Kadafi in 2011. The government will collapse in a few months.

Cuba: embargo 60 years later, government is still there

On February 3, 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed an American embargo on all trade with Cuba, following a reconciliation between Cuba and the Soviet Union. This will be the longest embargo of our time. It was lightened in the 2000s, especially with food and pharmaceutical trade approvals, and was tightened again during Donald Trump’s mission.

The Cuban embargo is considered a failure by international observers. The original purpose of the collapse of the Castro administration has not been achieved. Castros (Fidel, Raul) continued to rule the country until 2021.

In particular, a resolution passed by the United States in 1996 aimed at internationalizing embargoes did not have the expected effect. Almost every state votes annually at the United Nations to condemn the US embargo.

South Africa: The embargo contributed to the end of apartheid

After a riot in Soweto that killed 79 people and injured 178 in 1976, the United Nations ordered a ban on the sale of weapons to South Africa. Sanctions were tightened by the United States in 1985 and 1986, banning the sale of computers and nuclear technology in countries implementing apartheid policies, followed by the import of uranium and raw materials.

Between 1985 and 1990, half of the 1100 foreign companies in South Africa left the country, and the average income of their inhabitants declined each year. In addition to this, international boycott calls and the exclusion of countries from many sporting events (FIFA in 1963, the first two Rugby World Cups, etc.) are required.

International pressure brought the government into contact with blacks, and apartheid was officially abolished in 1991. South Africa was an ally of the Western nations that coordinated the sanctions, although sanctions may have contributed to this.

How about Russia?

Since the annexation of Crimean in 2014, Vladimir Putin’s country has been subject to sanctions from the United States and the EU. Travel bans mainly for a few personalities and exclusion of access to European credit by Russian banks.

Obviously, the recently decided sanctions are out of all proportions. If Bruno Le Mer envisions the collapse of the Russian economy, the country has something to potentially hold. Vladimir Putin has been successful in de-leveraging his country in recent years, with the Central Bank of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves of $ 250 billion, sufficient to fund imports for five to six months. Its prices have skyrocketed for several days, not to mention the income from hydrocarbons.

However, sanctions on Russia are of unprecedented scale against such great powers, and the consequences of the conflict are uncertain.

“It has long been explained that the true new weapon of Western international policy is economic sanctions. We are in an asymmetrical conflict here. One uses military means and the other is essentially economic. Has a deterrent based on. Professor Bertrand Buddy of the Public Ceride Science Po on French Culture. Does It Work? It is very rare in history that there is a rationality conflict between the two protagonists. “

Frederick Bianchi