top of page

Gauging the Impact of Economic Sanctions

Carl von Clausewitz thought of military war as a continuation of diplomacy through other means. Economic sanctions are economic war and should be similarly regarded as tactics subordinated to a diplomatic strategy.

Economic sanctions take many forms. The 1961 quarantine of Cuba targeted the whole country, but the 2014 Russia sanctions singled out a few economic sectors, enterprises and individuals. The Iran sanctions of a decade ago used asset freezes, an oil embargo and financial isolation, while the current sanctions against North Korea emphasize trade restrictions. And they can be imposed by single countries or multilaterally.

Sanctions can be designed to discourage behavior, punish actions, cause regime change or weaken a country’s economy. Or simply to advertise displeasure with certain behavior...

from The Washington Times


Ambassador Middendorf served as U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1969 to 1973. He was named Secretary of the Navy in 1974 after serving nine months as its Under Secretary. From 1977-1981, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of First American Bankshares, Inc., a bank holding company based in Washington. In 1981, he was appointed United States Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States. In 1985, Ambassador Middendorf was named the US Representative to the European Communities (now known as the European Union) and the same year President Reagan appointed him Chairman of the White House Task Force on Project Economic Justice.

bottom of page