Sanctions Revisited: Some Thoughts on the Relevance of Messages
In her article, “Now is Not the Time to Lift Sanctions”, Sina Schüssler highlights some aspects of sanction politics that are only too often being overlooked. While sanctions are commonly considered a merely economic tool to effect changes by pressing or pulling a regime towards a more desirable position, she mentions two more mechanisms:
- International sanctions provide moral support to opposition groups and will therefore promote changes.
- Sanctions send a signal to the target state and other potential violators of international norms, showing that this behavior will lead to consequences.
You may want to summarize these two aspects under ‘communication’: Sanctions provide a channel for conveying messages where otherwise messages don’t get through, where sender and receiver live in different worlds with considerably distinct sign systems or where communication has developed in a way where words have lost their credibility and impact.
I personally like the thought that local opposition groups are fully admitted to the game. And, consequently, I ask myself why so many international players appear to have huge problems in recognizing the role of local democracy movements. Do they have a general lack of understanding of democracy as something that is made by people, or is their negligence limited to countries they only know from strategic map exercises? Or is their real interested limited to the stability and accessibility of foreign markets?