Embargoes have long been a popular foreign policy tool for the United States to use against persistent foes. The U.S. embargo hurts countries like Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, and Cuba, to name just a few. The US may exert pressure on the enemy without spending money to send troops on the ground by using economic penalties. However, these solutions come with additional expenses that disproportionately hurt common people just trying to survive in hostile nations.
Embargoes have the potential to backfire because they encourage violent behavior from those who oppose American interests. The extensive sanctions against the entire regime haven’t done much more than exacerbate regional conflicts already in place. Because they have narrower scopes and provide less risk of compromise, well-defined, targeted penalties have a higher chance of success.
Embargoes can also pose a challenge for American businesses shut out of sanctioned markets. Alf Nucifora, a marketing expert, stated in a piece regarding the Cuban embargo that “the rest of the world is benefiting from the fury of the United States. There are 700 international businesses conducting business with Cuba, 51 of which are in Canada. Spain, Canada, Italy, and France account for the majority of their business in the 140 nations they operate in.
The United States was still Cuba’s seventh-largest trading partner in 2010 notwithstanding the blockade. Nevertheless, the Caribbean island nation favors trading with nations that don’t demand upfront payment. Cubans adore American goods; the market is present, but restrictions keep enthusiastic American businesses from reaching Cuban customers.