Assessing the net effects of sanctions on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
Alexander, Kristopher S.
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This thesis examines the usefulness of economic sanctions in the prevention of the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Focusing on nuclear proliferation and utilizing the existing sanctions literature, this thesis examines three cases where sanctions played a role in U.S. policy. The cases are South Africa, Libya and Iraq, and the thesis findings demonstrate that sanctions are a useful nonproliferation tool. Further, this thesis delivers several insights into what factors ensure policy success when using economic coercion to convince countries to give up their WMD. Security assurances, for example, can be useful in using sanctions as a nonproliferation tool. By contrast, threats of regime change can create disincentives for leadership to alter WMD-acquisition strategies. This is especially true when the U.S. Congress adds other conditions to WMD-specific sanctions. Inconsistencies in U.S. nonproliferation policy can also motivate states to acquire WMD, if countries believe Washington has turned a blind eye to an enemys WMD programs. This thesis takes these insights forward to examine the evolving sanctions regime against Irans nuclear program. It concludes that, without cautious adjustment to U.S. policy, these sanctions are likely to fail.
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