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Cecile Fabre (Oxford): “Third-Party Economic Sanctions”

12 January 2016, 2:00 pm3:30 pm

Abstract: Economic sanctions have become a staple of foreign policy. The relatively scant philosophical literature on the topic tends to focus on three questions, and tackles one kind of cases. It focuses on the question of whether just war theory provides a useful normative framework for assessing the morality of sanctions; whether sanctions are effective; and whether the harms which they occasion to innocent civilians in Target are such as to render them impermissible. It tackles what I shall call standard sanctions – where Sender restricts economic relationships between, on the one hand, Target’s agents and, on the other hand, agents located on its own territory or its own nationals wherever they are located – in other words, agents who are subject to Sender’s territorial or political jurisdiction. In this paper however I focus on so-unilateral third party sanctions, such as have been imposed by the United States vis-à-vis Iran and Cuba. In such cases, a sovereign state, Sender, seeks to restrict economic relationships between, on the one hand, Target’s agents and, on the other hand, agents who are not subject to its Sender’s jurisdiction. My aim is to provide a cosmopolitan defence of unilateral third-party sanctions as a means to stop ongoing human rights violations. I proceed as follows. First, I outline the central tenets of cosmopolitan morality which I take for granted throughout this paper, and in so doing further delineate the contours of my justificatory task. Second, I briefly outline and reject the view that the jurisdictional problems raised by third party sanctions are best solved by multilateralism. Finally, I show that the cosmopolitan considerations which support standard sanctions also support third-party sanctions.




12 January 2016
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Event Category:


Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method


LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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