US Sanctions and Rallying Around the Flag in North Korea and Cambodia

Critics of economic sanctions claim that they help authoritarian governments consolidate their power, but this is based on a reductive view of statehood.

Steve Hanke was an economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and has worked with governments around the world in the decades since.

He is now a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University in the U.S., and an influential proponent of the idea that the U.S. should not – in any circumstances – impose sanctions on foreign regimes.

In July 2020, the then U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Hanke to discuss the imposing of sanctions on Hong Kong as its autonomy was being undermined by China. Pompeo told him that a final decision would be made by President Donald Trump the following day and that Hanke’s opinion had been requested. Pompeo argued for sanctions, while Hanke was adamantly against them. The final decision was not to go ahead with the sanctions.

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