Sanctions on Cuba are Good, But Not Enough

Whenever the question is raised as to whether the unilateral U.S. embargo on the Cuban government “works,” scholars and political critics usually answer no.1 A common argument is that it has failed to destroy Fidel Castro’s dictatorial regime and imposes unjustifiable costs on American firms in terms of forfeited businesses with Cuba. Critics of the embargo argue that engagement would be a more effective means to accomplish political liberalization and ultimate democratization in Cuba.

The question of whether economic sanctions work, however, cannot be answered without considering their objectives, which is to say the foreign policy goals that the sanctioning state expects to achieve. Although an imposer of sanctions may have more than one objective in a given case, the purposes of economic sanctions can be classified according to the main foreign policy goal sought…

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