Why Does the President Sanction? Beyond the Conventional Wisdom
As I attempted to show in chapters 2 and 3, economic sanctions are quite complex. They can have a variety of different goals (improve human rights, stem communism, etc.), leaders may impose them for different reasons (placate the domestic public, punish, etc.), and the process through which they function—instrumental versus symbolic—differs. This complexity makes explaining accurately the outcome of economic coercion very difficult. The results in chapter 3 clearly show that what is generally accepted as the conventional wisdom is partially true at best. Further, even for those variables that are significant, the overall accuracy of the model leaves much to be desired. With a model that explains less than 12 percent of the variance, an outsider might think that economic sanction effectiveness is a random walk; after all, 88 percent of the question is left unexplained. It is not surprising that policy makers tend to make such contradictory and ill-informed comments—such as Vice President Cheney during the 1994 debate—they do not have an accurate, consistent base of knowledge from which to draw.
KeywordsForeign Policy Decision Unit Military Force Military Action Domestic Politics
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