In the period of 1990 to 2000, politicians around the world were all more concerned on the stabilization as a whole. The massive increase of international trading encapsulated the fascination that global trading now is way more powerful than actual war as a tool to achieve a specific politic goal. In the particular case of Iraq after the Persian Gulf War, the U.S. and the free world leaders failed to remove Saddam from his position with the hope of keeping the region’s stabilization in the Middle East. Instead of full military invasion, they used the full sanction tool and expected Saddam will eventually be removed from his position by angry people in Iraq. However, sanction failed to serve as a politic tool to topple Saddam’s regime.
The full sanction didn’t stopped Saddam’s regime from exporting oil to the global market. Wherever is a trading barrier, there is a black market. As a matter of fact, full sanction requires multi-nation cooperation. If one party plays dirty, it will destroy the merit of full sanction in seconds. In fact, behind the United Nations’ decision of full sanctions, there was disagreement among relevant countries. Oil-hungry countries such as China and South Korea publicly expressed the desire to lift the sanction and import oil from Iraq . Even every nation agreed and honestly to do so, by only leaving minor military presence, U.S. / U.N. were unable to prevent Iraq’s oil trading in black market . In Iraq’s reality, during the full sanction years, Saddam’s regime managed to consistently export large volume of oil to global market and made profit from it personally.
The full sanction is a two side blade. It not only worsened the Iraq economy, but also made it impossible for U.S. companies legally import oil from one major oil production country. Left Saddam ruling power survived, the U.S. has no way to protect its oil interests in Iraq. No U.S. companies could involve in the Iraq oil production or exportation because of the sanction policy. U.S. oil companies such as Total even lined up with foreign governments in seeking to enter Iraq oil production . By implementing the full sanction honestly, the U.S., financially speaking, failed to meet the oil interests which drove us first into the war .
The full sanction worsened the human rights situation in Iraq, therefore it dramatically strengthened Saddam’s ruling power. Iraq, although has plenty of oil reservation, is a dessert country. Water, food and medical, essentially all the commodities for basic living in this country were depends on importing. The sanction made it is hard for international non-government organizations to provide any necessary aids to people in Iraq. The Saddam’s regime became the only dependable source of basic living for most Iraqis. The situation in Iraq also disappointed human right advocates around the world who were fighting hard against dictators in China, North Korea, and Cuba etc. It created a rather negative perception that in order to keep a stable world, the International community, namely the leaders of the free world were willing to let the human right situation in other countries become worse.
The full sanction measure as a specific political tools prevented the U.S. taking more aggressive yet fruitful actions. The global trading is, under the skin, just a business. It cannot and shouldn’t be used as a “continuation of politics by other means”. The naive belief that sanction can solve problem without casualty made U.S. lost its best chance to create a model democracy country in the Middle East with cheap price. Instead of full sanction, the U.S. had option to support the uprising of Shi’ya and Kurds within Iraq, and potentially, it could remove Saddam’s regime once for all. However, since Saddam and his followers found a consistent route to make profit and maintain his living standard, he could only put people against him in poverty. The tragedy actually causes later distrust between U.S. and the large part of Iraq population. It turns out that the psychological effect made people more tend to blame direct cause rather than indirect ones. Thus, rather than going through all the logical arguments and realizing Saddam’s invasion to Kuwait led the poverty in Iraq, people blame the sanctions implemented by the United States and the United Nations. It eliminated the U.S. option to ally people within Iraq in the future potential military operations.
The sanction in policy makers’ eye is an attractive resolution with minimal casualties comparing to other options such as military invasion. They were afraid that since major Iraqi Republican Guard were untouched in the Kuwait combat, the casualties for a full invasion to Iraq expected to be high. However, as  pointed out, sanction method if applied successfully should only be a short-term policy with other following resolutions. In Iraq situation, prolonged sanction served no good for overthrowing current regime. The following military resolution is almost inevitable. However, if the policy makers could leverage and put effort to support the Kurds and Shiya’s uprising within Iraq, the military cost should be only marginal comparing to what we get 12 years later. Besides, in the time when the terrorism was not a common scene in the Middle East, the U.S.’s intervene in Iraq may receive much more positive feedback.
The failure of full sanction which had worsened the situation in Iraq taught us an uneasy lesson. By all means, global trading is business; it cannot be manipulated as a certain extension to politics. The full sanction only worsen general population’s situation. It is an uneducated and rude policy which just like in middle Ages people punish servant for their master’s mistake. Therefore, the U.S. foreign policy should never use them. Instead, a wider and more generic support to people from other nations who fight against dictatorship should be an important aspect of U.S. foreign policy in the hope of creating a more open and dynamic world.
 Fareed Mohamedi, Roger Diwan, Political Economy: The Saudis, the French and the Embargo, Middle East Report, No. 193, The Iraq Sanctions Dilemma. (Mar. - Apr., 1995), pp. 24-25.
 Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Jeffrey J. Schott, Economic Sanctions and U. S. Foreign Policy, PS, Vol. 18, No. 4. (Autumn, 1985), pp. 727-735.
 Sarah Graham Brown, Chris Toensing, A Backgrounder on Inspections and Sanctions.
 Richard Haass, Orial History on the Gulf War, PBS Frontline: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/gulf/oral/haass/1.html.