Coercion in the Time of the Coronavirus

April 8, 2020


Jarrett Blanc


Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Related Country: 

  • United States

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is infatuated with the power of economic sanctions. It has used economic coercion to act forcefully and unilaterally and to achieve tactical aims such as dramatic reductions in Iranian and Venezuelan oil exports. But the administration has not been able to turn tactical advantages into strategic accomplishments. Nicolás Maduro is still president of Venezuela, and Iran is no longer abiding by nuclear restrictions and has increased its regional military provocations at least as dramatically as Washington has increased sanctions.

Now, the novel coronavirus has turned Trump’s overreliance on sanctions into an immediate threat to the health and well-being of the American people. As UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said, “In a context of global pandemic, impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all.”

Right now, sanctions are shaping coronavirus responses. But both the virus and U.S. responses to it will also shape the future of sanctions.

Read the full article at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.