Do global sanctions work?

BY spectator events


March 23, 2021

6:00 pm



Andrew Neil, chairman of The Spectator

Lord Hannan, International Ambassador for the Conservative Party, adviser to the UK Board of Trade, and founding president of the Initiative for Free Trade.

Tom Burgis, investigations correspondent, Financial Times

Tom Tugendhat MP, chair, Foreign Affairs Select Committee

Maya Lester QC, barrister at Brick Court Chambers, specialising in legal issues relating to sanctions


This event is free and open to all.

Sanctions have long been viewed as an alternative to military intervention: instead of boots on the ground, economic pressure is applied to change a country's behaviour. But is this instrument really working? Despite America's export controls on China and Iran, the UK's financial sanctions on Russia, and many western countries' restrictions on Venezuela, the world's dictators are still storming ahead with their agendas. The West increasingly seems to be at a disadvantage, and geopolitical tensions continue to rise.

While sanctions have become an increasingly popular foreign policy tool, they have also become harder to navigate and assess. Can targeted, well designed sanctions force rogue states and human rights abusers to change their ways, or has their effectiveness worn thin? Are tariffs and embargoes really the best tools we have in our foreign policy kits, or are more innovative solutions needed? Should we be looking into the shadows at those who would help countries avoid sanctions?

Join The Spectator’s Andrew Neil as he chairs a panel discussion with Lord Hannan, Tom Tugendhat MP, Maya Lester QC and the FT’s Tom Burgis to analyse the effectiveness of sanctions and consider alternative solutions to make rogue actors change their ways.