Have Sanctions Lost Their Moral Purpose?

Have Sanctions Lost Their Moral Purpose? New U.S. penalties against Turkey, Iran and Russia have sent financial markets into turmoil. Some analysts say they have brought sanctions, into disrepute. It was all very different in previous decades when sanctions and boycotts were applied with near unanimity to racist white minority governments in Africa. Back then, resistance movements like the ANC called upon the international community to apply sanctions to their country – calls that, ironically, were ignored by the US and UK. But now, they are increasingly being used wildly to settle short-term scores in a way that is upsetting the international order. One example of this is the on-going diplomatic dispute between Qatar and several of its neighbours, which have boycotted the Emirate for over a year. So whereas previously the threshold for imposing sanctions was very high, many analysts argue that these days they are being imposed so wantonly, they are losing their weight and moral purpose, with the real victims being ordinary people. The Turkish Lira has lost about a quarter of its value, and several western corporations have pulled out of Iran. While American politicians say they’re trying to persuade these countries to ‘act responsibly’, analysts in Europe and the Middle East have accused them of irresponsibly using their economic muscle to bully other sovereign nations.

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