The Unintended Consequences of Arms Embargoes

Academic Article


  • Abstract To what extent do arms embargoes curtail the embargoed state's ability to get conventional weapons? We argue that arms embargoes rarely prevent states from receiving conventional weapons, and are one of the few events that push states to switch their supplier base. Using a new dataset on the place of origin of conventional weapons, we provide a more full and complete picture of the effects of arms embargoes imposed by the United Nations and European Union. We show that middlemen, a previously obscured category of states who sell, but do not produce arms, are crucial to skirting embargoes. This article suggests that arms embargoes are a more complicated foreign policy tool than scholars have previously appreciated, and that policymakers need to be cautious in imposing them.
  • Authors

  • Kuo, Raymond C
  • Spindel, Jen
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • December 10, 2022
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)


  • 19
  • Issue

  • 1