The Road Taken: the Institutionalization of Economic Sanctions as an Instrument at Service of International Collective Security


  • Cristine Koehler Zanella Universidade Federal de Uberlândia and Universidad Bernardo OHiggins



economic sanctions, collective security, the Hague Conferences, League of Nations, United Nations


This paper addresses the institutionalization of multilateral economic sanctions from a historical perspective, aiming at to explain when, why and how economic sanctions became an instrument of deterrence and coercion in the toolbox of collective security. First, it is shown that a new concern emerged in the Hague Conferences, in which states began to institutionalize international arbitration as a pacific mean to solve international disputes: how to enforce arbitral sentences in an anarchic international system? Economic sanctions were then envisioned as an eventual remedy to pressure a recalcitrant state to comply with the terms of the sentence. Second, it is described the process that resulted in economic sanctions as an autonomous deterrence and coercion tool in the Covenant of the League of Nations. It is presented how the liberal-idealist framework shaped this process, the existing expectative behind the economic sanctions, and the cases in which economic sanctions were applied. Finally, the article describes the realist ideas that influenced the creation of the United Nations, whose Charter lists economic sanctions as an instrument to be used in the collective security framework but at that time less prominently than the use of force.


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Biografia do Autor

Cristine Koehler Zanella, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia and Universidad Bernardo OHiggins

Lecturer in International Relations at Federal University of Uberlândia (Brazil) and Research associate in the Faculty of Law and Social Communication, Department of Public Law at Universidad Bernardo OHiggins (Chile). Doctor in Political Sciences (Ghent University - Belgium) and Doctor in International Strategic Studies (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul - Brazil). Graduated in Law and in Economics and Master in Latin American Integration (Federal University of Santa Maria – Brazil).


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Como Citar

Koehler Zanella, C. (2016). The Road Taken: the Institutionalization of Economic Sanctions as an Instrument at Service of International Collective Security. Carta Internacional, 11(2), 53–73.