Sanctions vs. war (was: FoRK digest, Vol 1 #1585 - 10 msgs)

Russell Turpin
Sun, 19 Jan 2003 23:01:36 +0000

>What I can be repulsed by is the idea of sanctions in and of themselves. 
>They're a bad .. way to make a country change its bad ways.  I especially 
>liked this quote: "the issue is we cannot have the United Nations 
>sustaining a regime of embargo or sanctions on a people that impacts only 
>on the people, not on the decision makers, not on the government."

Here's a somewhat perverse thought. The idea
behind sanctions is for the west to deny some
nation the ability to pursue undesirable goals,
by refusing them the trade that would allow
this. The core criticism of sancions rests on
the premise that the state and the people are
morally distinct, so it is wrong to punish the
state in a fashion that mostly hurts the people.

Given that premise, one could argue that
engaging in war on the state is more acceptable
than enforcing sanctions, if war can be made in
a fashion that minimizes civilian casualties.
If we go to war with Iraq and overturn the
Saddam regime, will some talking head, in a
postwar analysis, make a favorable comparison
between the number of Iraqi civilians killed in
the war, to the number killed through the

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