March 30, 2019

Why Trump’s sanctions aren’t working

By David Cohen

On March 22, President Trump tweeted that he ordered the “withdrawal” of North Korea sanctions. It is still unclear whether he pulled back an upcoming package of North Korea sanctions or ones that had been announced just the day before. And although the president didn’t explain his reasoning, Sarah Sanders offered that he canceled the sanctions because “President Trump likes Chairman Kim, and . . . doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”

This policy-swerve-by-tweet reflects a chaotic national security process. But it also lays bare a broader problem with the Trump administration’s overall approach to sanctions: Despite their extensive use against North Korea, Iran, Russia and Venezuela, sanctions are not working particularly well to solve any of these national security challenges.

The problem is not a lack of effort by the Treasury Department, which has been churning out innovative sanctions at a breakneck pace. But sanctions are not an elixir that, through extensive application, magically achieve desired foreign policy outcomes.

Read the full article in The Washington Post.

  • Reports
    • January 14, 2021
    Sanctions by the Numbers

    Sanctions designations remained high in 2020, with 777 designations compared to 785 in 2019....

    By Sam Dorshimer & ​Francis Shin

  • Commentary
    • December 9, 2020
    Sharper: North Korea

    For decades, North Korea's authoritarian dictatorship has threatened Northeast Asia's regional stability, challenged U.S. interests, and subjected its own citizens to an unpar...

    By Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt, Jason Bartlett, Chris Estep & Cole Stevens

  • Video
    • November 18, 2020
    The Financial Footprints of North Korea’s Hackers

    As North Korea continues to successfully evade U.S. and UN sanctions, what can the United States do?...

  • Reports
    • November 18, 2020
    Exposing the Financial Footprints of North Korea’s Hackers

    How North Korea conducts intricate and sweeping cyberattacks against the United States and its allies to acquire funds to support its illicit nuclear proliferation efforts....

    By Jason Bartlett

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia