USA*ENGAGE Cites Destabilizing Effect of U.S. Sanctions on Pakistan and Indonesia

Thursday, 14 October 1999

"While numerous factors were at work, there can be little doubt that the isolating impact of sanctions on Pakistan worked to weaken U.S. influence and the democratic leadership," said Frank Kittredge, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE. "Pakistan has been a fledgling democracy and a strong U.S. ally in a very unstable part of the world. One has to question the strategic judgment of placing economic sanctions on a friendly nation that is heavily dependent on the U.S. for economic survival -- and remains vital to U.S. foreign policy interests."

News reports have attributed military leader General Pervaiz Musharraf as saying "the armed forces have intervened to save the country from an economic and political crisis ...and to prevent further destabilization."

"The situation in Pakistan is a blow to U.S. interests. We can only hope the United States will learn that unilateral sanctions are a blunt instrument that can do more harm than good. This is an especially important lesson as some in Congress seek new unilateral sanctions on Indonesia," Kittredge continued. "While recent events in East Timor are tragic, we must remember that Indonesia is just now shaking off the effects of decades of dictatorship. With a new parliament in place, and the democratic election of its new president imminent, this is no time to risk destabilizing another new democracy."

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of 670 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad.