Be careful, they can end up hurting you as much as your target

Thanks to techniques perfected by the US Treasury, sanctions have reached a peak of effectiveness. However, it seems they have hit their high water mark.

The World Today Updated 19 February 2021 Published 5 December 2014 5 minute READ

Lord Malloch-Brown

President, Open Society Foundations; Former Deputy Secretary-General and Chief of Staff of the UN

Harry Gibson


Amid the buzz around new US and EU sanctions being imposed on Russia, sanctions on another country, on the other side of the world, were being gently lifted. In October, following elections, America and Australia removed all remaining sanctions on Fiji, which had included travel bans for top officials, an embargo on arms sales and limits on financial assistance.

The sanctions can be at least partly credited for holding President Frank Bainimarama, the retired rear admiral who seized power in a bloodless 2006 coup, to his promise of holding elections in 2014, albeit having failed to persuade him to move the timetable forward.

The sanctions post mortem is never simple, but in the long history of sanctions, this can be marked up as a moderate victory on a decidedly mixed scorecard.

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