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April 27 , 2008

American Sanctions Against The Soviet Union From Nixon To Reagan


This study has three main purposes. The first is to submit to critical review selected cases during the Nixon-Reagan administrations (those which received the most public attention) in which the United States Government has imposed economic, trade, or noneconomic sanctions against the Soviet Union for foreign policy purposes. The basic concepts, underlying assumptions, logic, and supporting evidence are all reviewed. Dr. Boudreau argues that given the nuclear arsenals of the two superpowers, alternatives short of military action are particularly crucial, and that the international signaling function provided by sanctions can assist in maintaining international peace and security. He contends that the standards of evaluation commonly applied are mistaken because they neglect an essential aspect of sanctions: their signaling effects. The second purpose is to present a discussion of the pros and cons of United States sanctions toward the Soviet Union with a view toward dispelling some of the criticisms concerning their ineffectiveness by pointing to neglected, but crucial goals, and attainment of sanctions. The third purpose is to shed light on a number of common issues, allowing a fuller policy debate, and offering general conclusions which (notwithstanding substantial differences in the selected cases) can be applied constructively in the future. Dr. Boudreau’s thesis is that American Presidents and the United States Government have attained some foreign policy objectives through such techniques, and that in viewing them as useful tools, will continue employing them in the future under certain circumstances.

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