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The Sanctions Decade: Assessing UN Strategies in the 1990s

David Cortright and George A. Lopez
ISBN: 978-1-55587-867-2
2000/274 pages/LC: 99-089665
A project of the International Peace Academy

"This book is a key reference on an essential topic."—Journal of Peace Research

"Perhaps most importantly, the work of Cortright and Lopez allows the reader to better understand what does, rather than what does not, lead to the implementation of a successful sanctions regime."—Michael H. Carriere, International Affairs

"Given that the superiority of multilateral measures has become something of a mantra in the sanctions debate, a book subjecting UN sanctions to the same rigorous analysis that unilateral ones have undergone is long overdue. With their new book, The Sanctions Decade, David Cortright and George Lopez fill this gap."—Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Survival

"Does the world really need another book on this topic? The somewhat surprising answer to this question is yes—if the book in question is The Sanctions Decade by Cortright and Lopez.... An excellent and needed addition to the sanctions literature."—Choice


Choice Outstanding Academic Book!

Since the end of the Cold War, economic sanctions have been a frequent instrument of United Nations authority, imposed by the Security Council against nearly a dozen targets. Some efforts appear to have been successful, others are more doubtful—all, though, have been controversial. This book, based on more than two hundred interviews with officials from the UN, the sanctioned countries, and with other involved actors provides the first comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of UN sanctions during the 1990s.

The authors develop a set of criteria for judging the full impact of sanctions—political, economic, and humanitarian—and then provide detailed studies of eleven cases. They conclude with far-reaching recommendations for increasing the viability of sanctions as a productive diplomatic tool.


George A. Lopez is vice president of the Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding at the US Institute of Peace. David Cortright is president of the Fourth Freedom Forum and a research fellow at the Kroc Institute. They are coeditors of Economic Sanctions: Panacea or Peacebuilding in the Post–Cold War World?


  • The Character of the Sanctions Decade.
  • How to Think About the Success and Impact of Sanctions.
  • Sanctions Against Iraq.
  • Sanctioning Yugoslavia.
  • Helping Haiti?
  • Taming Terrorism: Sanctions Against Libya, Sudan, and Afghanistan.
  • Cambodia: Isolating the Khmer Rouge.
  • Angola's Agony.
  • Sierra Leone: The Failure of Regional and International Sanctions.
  • The Failure of UN Arms Embargoes in Somalia, Liberia, and Rwanda.
  • Case Findings.
  • Recommendations for a New Sanctions Policy.