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The proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and missiles for these weapons' delivery is a major threat to international security. This study examines the United States' use of sanctions against foreign entities to prevent such proliferation. This study begins with a review of the objectives and provisions of the various U.S. nonproliferation sanctions laws. The legal provisions are compared at each step of the sanctions process. The study then reviews the history of the application of sanctions against proliferation, and the problems revealed by the experience. It then explores alternatives for dealing with these problems-including possible actions by both Congress and the Executive Branch, and concludes with recommendations.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Somewhere Between Diplomacy and War

  • Chapter Two

    The Sanctions Process

  • Chapter Three

    History and Lessons Learned

  • Chapter Four

    Problems with Sanctions

  • Chapter Five


  • Chapter Six


The research described in this report was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.

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