Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Karen Feste, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Thomas Rowe

Third Advisor

Douglas Allen


Humiliation, Power, Punishment, Resistance, Revenge, Sanctions


This thesis analyzes the use and unintended outcomes of power in international politics through an examination of economic sanctions in selected countries. A theoretical argument is derived from punishment theories and analyzes the effects of punishment on the target, including subjugation, humiliation and resistance. Seven cases of economic sanctions are studied: Cuba, Burma, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Iran where the United States, either unilaterally or as the leader of a coalition, sought to influence political outcomes in the target state, such as regime change or curbing WMD proliferation. Economic sanctions were generally unsuccessful in achieving the expected outcomes and instead generated unintended results, such as: strengthening existing leadership and forcing negative humanitarian consequences on the population of the target state. Outcomes of punishment lead to humiliation and blowback against the United States, the sender state. The central argument is that power exercised by a strong state against a weaker state often generates resistance to punishment, because unintended outcomes occur.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Rebecca A. G. Liftman


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

117 p.


International relations