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THE EVILS OF ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AND THEIR EFFECTIVENESS: THE CASE OF ZIMBABWE • • Introduction How economic sanctions work Critical overview of sanctions Brief historical background of Zimbabwe Reasons for sanctions and how they were applied Consequences of sanctions to Zimbabwe Possibility of effectiveness Conclusion.
Introduction • Sanctions, both economic and political have become prevalent in international governance since the end of Cold War • An alternative to military invasion • United States for instance has often used sanctions unilaterally as a regular feature of its foreign policy • About 75 of the world’s 200 countries were subject to U. S sanctions in 1999.
How economic sanctions work • • • changing the conduct of the target state The goal of economic sanctions, therefore, becomes one of forcing the target state to modify its behavior. The success or failure of the sanctions is assessed in terms of whether the appropriate (the desired) change has been made Effectiveness is tied to observable behavioral modification of the regime of the target state Economic sanctions are pursued under the assumption that the citizenry of the target states, those who will largely suffer the consequences of sanctions, will either remove the offending regimes or pressure them to alter their policies. Or the government will voluntarily change the policies after suffering from the consequences of the sanctions
Critical overview of sanctions • • Sanctions are generally ineffective e. g. Cuba, Afghanistan, Iraq… The cost of pursuing that policy is greater than the benefit gained from it. Economic sanctions deprive citizens of the target. The often high cost in life, liberty, and property on innocent citizens. (Kantian version of this argument is that sanctions target innocent civilians for suffering as a means to achieve a foreign policy objective, contrary to Kant’s categorical imperative that we treat “humanity, whether in [our] person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but also as an end. The argument here is that it is morally unacceptable to impose suffering on innocent sectors of the target state, as economic sanctions do, for an objective that does not involve the prevention of the deaths of other innocent people. At times the severity of these sanctions do in fact force those citizens to rally behind regimes that they do not like. In conclusion empirical evidence shows that economic sanctions do not often achieve the objectives for which they are adopted
Brief historical background of Zimbabwe • • • Land issue has been the most dominant agenda in the country’s politics before and after independence, but has not been resolved. Before 1980 Zimbabwe was a white-supremacist British colony and the British settlers took land from the indigenous Matabele and Mashona people in the 1890 s by force of arms using the British soldiers. By the turn of this century, in a country of 13 million, almost 70 percent of the country's arable agricultural land was owned by less than 1 percent of the population (mostly white farmers, British settlers). During national liberation, independence talks were held in 1979. Talks almost broke down over the land question, but Washington and London, eager for a settlement, agreed to ante up and provide financial support for a comprehensive land reform program. Britain would finance a resettlement scheme (£ 44 million), which involved buying farms and handing them over to landless peasants or to militants. United Sates also made a pledge to do the same. However, this was not honored in full. Frustrated, and under pressure from war veterans who had grown tired of waiting for the land reform they had fought for, and eager to gain political support, Mugabe embarked on a course that would lead him headlong into collision with Western governments. He passed legislation enabling the government to seize nearly 1, 500 farms owned by white Zimbabweans, without compensation
Reasons for sanctions and how they were applied • • Mugabe’s policies of expropriating white farmland Allegations of fraudulent elections Human rights violations in the country United States and Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, 2001
Consequences of sanctions to Zimbabwe • • foreign currency crisis in the country Between 2000 and 2007, the national economy contracted by as much as 40 percent, inflation vaulted to over 4530 percent, and there are persistent shortages of foreign exchange, fuel and food Currently the hyperinflation in Zimbabwe is over 7000 percent Foreign direct investment decreased from US$400 million per year to US$3 million in 2003 (any western investor trying to invest in Zimbabwe could be doing so against his country’s national interest) However, the poor economic policies of the government, have also affected the economic situation in the country. Rather than further opening the economy, the government has reversed some of its steps towards liberalization; for example, by introducing exchange rate controls, reintroducing import controls and have set price levels for all basic commodities on the market. The government printed ZWD 20. 5 trillion to pay IMF arrears in Feb 2006 In 2006 the government printed more money to pay the military and police 300 percent pay increase and 200 percent civil service pay increase.
Possibility of sanctions effectiveness • • • despite all these conditions and sufferings in Zimbabwe it is unlikely that the US and EU sanctions will be effective The sanctions themselves through economic suffering have weakened the civil society. ( Most literature indicates that people retreat from the mainstream and worse and they begin to adjust and adapt to the conditions of hardship. It becomes normal to queue for bread, fuel and to consume rationed meals every day. The scarce resources on the market have become perfect conditions for manipulation where food is used as a political weapon. Mugabe has managed to build a patron/client relationship whereby those who support his regime get the best from the scarce resources. ) Managed to manipulate the whole idea of sanctions in the country, especially with the issue of land redistribution Massive human capital flight out of the country Lack of African support for sanctions.
Conclusion. • • Sanctions have been devastating to the already weak Zimbabwean economy Weak members of the society are hard hit by the effects of the sanctions, while those in power continue to flourish. Should sanctions should be abandoned? Obviously NO, but be shaped in such a way that they minimize moral and material costs to the country and its citizen, Human rights violations in Zimbabwe needs the world’s attention. Zimbabwe economy is in crisis today mainly because of the economic sanctions, due to the United States stand in the International monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and African Development Bank. Zimbabwe cannot borrow any money to inject in its economy and generate income to pay its external debts. As a result they keep on printing more money in order to feed their citizens and a result of this the country has the highest inflation rate in the world.