In the reading Dueck “The Accommodator”, the author discusses how President Obama’s grand strategy is based on the theme of accommodating others in their interests, goals, and values as long as they did not conflict with the goals and values of the United States in the process. One of many policies that Dueck highlights is the New START Treaty with Russia. This is described as an accommodation to Russia and a diplomatic tool used to get them on board with economic sanctions for Iran.
The U.S. worked to convince China and Russia to enforce sanctions on Iran and once it happened Dueck argues that nothing really changed. While there were signs of clear economic devastation in Iran by the sanctions, it seemed to hurt the people, not the leader who made the decision to carry on with the nuclear program. The process of enforcing economic sanctions does not have a golden track record with effectiveness in both time frame and a noticeable effect. In order to even hope of forcing change, sanctions must be enforced by the entire international community at the same time, letting a country keep some major trade partners and stocking up on goods is not very effective. Even if sanctions are enforced by the entire international community, in the case of stubborn leaders it takes at best, a very long time for those sanctions to be effective.
After the experience with Iran, will the U.S. resort to economic sanctions again? And if so, will that be the only policy pursued? It does make sense to use economic sanctions as a public statement of disapproval to a countries policies which goes much farther than words, but why should we pretend that it is an adequate method of forcing change when it doesn’t seem to be an effective tool in doing so?