Economic sanctions have been largely unsuccessful and have generally resulted in heaping misery onto the voiceless and impoverished members of society. Most notable examples are Cuba (no regime change in over 5o years) and Iraq where 500,000 men, women and children died as a result of crippling economic sanctions. One notable exception is the successful economic sanctions directed at apartheid South Africa which resulted in the eventual release of Nelson Mandela and the end of the apartheid regime. According to numerous historians, the US, Britain, Israel and other Western nations propped this abhorrent regime for many decades.
It is tragic that the CIA under President Kennedy tipped off the South African government on Mandela’s whereabouts which led to his capture and 27 year incarceration. The CIA also collaborated with the South African government in an effort to undermine the people of Angola’s long struggle to repel the yoke of Portuguese colonial rule. Finally, the US and Israel collaborated closely and assisted South Africa’s nuclear bomb development program. As journalist and professor Linn observed in his recent article, "Obama Failed to Deliver Long-Overdue Apology to Mandela.’ It would have given Mandela some measure of comfort had we offered our remorse for our very serious transgressions to this Gandhi-Christ-like figure before his death.