June 02, 2020

What bananas in Belize can teach us about North Korea sanctions
The case of John Zabaneh reveals the economic and political spillover effects of targeted sanctions

Targeted sanctions are an increasingly attractive method for the U.S. to accomplish its foreign policy goals. More agile and customizable to different cases across varying degrees of illicit activity and different geographic and geopolitical contexts, the approach has many advocates in Washington and has rapidly expanded in application over the last two decades.

However, such sanctions are not a perfect solution, and can have disruptive and obstructive effects that go far beyond the stated parameters. Such considerations are no doubt understood by Pyongyang, as leader Kim Jong-un seems sincere about reforming his economy.