Economic sanctions have become the weapon of choice in the United States’ diplomatic and strategic arsenal.
Trade tariffs, export controls and other financial penalties offer a quick means to punish ‘bad behavior’, whether by terrorist groups, drug cartels or national governments. Over the past two decades, the US has imposed more sanctions than the United Nations, the European Union and Canada combined.
From a government point of view, sanctions are low cost. They may be drafted by a handful of civil servants, but the burden of implementation falls on multinationals and banks.