The conventional wisdom is that economic sanctions do not work in international affairs. If so, why do countries wield them so often? Daniel Drezner argues that, paradoxically, countries will be most eager to use sanctions under conditions where ...
they will produce the feeblest results. States anticipate frequent conflicts with adversaries, and are therefore more willing to use sanctions. However, precisely because they anticipate more conflicts, sanctioned states will not concede, despite the cost. Economic sanctions are thus far less likely to be effective between adversaries than between allies.