Home Are Trade Sanctions Ever Worth It: Part I

Are Trade Sanctions Ever Worth It: Part I

I’m thinking that, over the course of the next couple of days, I’m going to another “series” of posts like I did for my discussion of the FDIC last week. This time, however, the topic is going to be the historical implementation of trade sanctions by the United States against its political enemies. I intend for this to culminate in my column for the next issue of the Chronicle.

I’ve pulled a few essays that I’m going to use to refresh my memory on these things. Among them are two from Robert Higgs– “How U.S. Economic Warfare Provoked Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor” as well as “Truncating the Antecedents: How Americans Have Been Misled About World War II” –which are available either online or also as chapters 10 and 11 in Higgs’ newest book, Delusions of Power (which I can recommend quite highly). I will also be reading for the first time an essay by John V. Denson taken from the Mises Institute’s Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom . The essay is entitled “Roosevelt and the First Shot: A Study of Deceit and Deception,” and is available in .pdf form as chapter 16 of the aforementioned text.

I will provide a more detailed post on all of this tomorrow evening, but to give a brief overview of my thoughts on the subject, I’ll elaborate just a little bit here. Higgs, and actually a whole host of other scholars, argues that Japan was not targeting the US out of the blue in its attack on Pearl Harbor. Higgs points out that, up until that point, President Roosevelt had formulated a policy in both the Pacific as well as the Atlantic that endeavored to induce either Japan or Germany to fire the first shot, thereby drawing the US into what would otherwise have been an unpopular effort amongst the American public. Higgs draws from the memoirs of those close to the President to provide support for this position, and does so convincingly. Again, I will elaborate more on this tomorrow night.

In addition to fleshing out the historical considerations here, I’m also going to try to delve more into sanctions on the level of economics alone, and examine whether or not they can really be expected to achieve the ends that usually are ascribed to them. I’ll end with a verdict on the US sanctions against Iran, and perhaps some general predictions moving forward.

I got a lot of positive feedback for my last series of posts on the FDIC, so I’m hoping that this one will work as nicely!

One Response

  1. Bryan McMillan

    Look forwarding to these. I have added Delusions of Power to my wish-list. I haven’t looked at Higgs in far too long.

    Timely topic, here, as well, given the bloodlust for Iranian blood gathering strength…