Embargoes and Sanctions - Sanctions and human rights, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation




The Carter administration enhanced the use of sanctions for human rights purposes in areas outside Africa as well. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and the administration of Gerald Ford resisted a 1973 congressional initiative that would have denied aid to nations that violated human rights, but Carter was more favorable to this tactic. With Carter's support, Congress attached riders to military aid bills denying aid to South Korea, Chile, Uruguay, the Philippines, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Ethiopia, Argentina, and Zaire. Carter used his presidential prerogative to expand further the list of nations denied security aid on human rights grounds to include Bolivia, Haiti, and Iran. Reagan reversed course on this and vetoed legislation that tied aid to human rights, but with the end of the Cold War, the United States once again adopted sanctions on human rights grounds, most notably against China, Iraq, and Serbia.

In the 1970s, the United States also began using sanctions specifically against terrorism. Congressional legislation in 1976 and 1977 prohibited aid and exports to nations abetting terrorism. At the behest of Congress, the State Department began issuing lists of nations supporting terrorism. These lists included Libya, Syria, Iraq, Cuba, South Yemen, and Iran.

In the same decade, the United States and many other nations began using sanctions to discourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons. These sanctions sought to stop trade in items related to nuclear weapons with nations that refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The nations most affected were Brazil, Argentina, India, Pakistan, and Iraq.

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