They're a crude tool with many unintended consequences, as Drezner notes:
Peter Andreas looks at the consequences of the multilateral sanctions directed at the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s and finds a disturbing legacy. Economic sanctions, it turns out, can unintentionally contribute to the criminalization of the state, economy, and civil society of both the targeted country and its immediate neighbors. By trying to evade the sanctions, private entrepreneurs and public officials are encouraged to disregard the rule of law. This fosters an unhealthy symbiosis among political leaders, organized crime, and transnational smuggling networks. These criminal networks can persist even after sanctions are lifted, contributing to public corruption and undermining governance.
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