Ok. Some conditions created by sanctions are unbearable, and some conditions created by sanctions are unfortunate. In war, all conditions are unbearable. War is objectively worse.
>> The people of a nation are still put in a corner, but they don't have a gun to their head. It's something they can get out if, should they choose to.
>This really trivialises the challenges and discrimination economic refugees face, especially those from sanctioned countries.
It is not my intention to trivialize their situation, though perhaps that sense is lacking from my comment. What I mean is that sanctioning a nation does not mean the citizenry is forced to stand on a battlefield and die. When I say, "should they choose to," I'm referring to either seeking refuge or revolution. Both are immensely difficult tasks, but both are a choice.
One of the (stated) uses for sanctions is encouraging regime change. The US tried and failed over the last 60 years to create democratic nations by taking out the leadership of regimes. My understanding of the reason that policy failed so many times is because the people themselves didn't fight for it. The people are so controlled and government so corrupt, they have no easy way to.
Do I like sanctions? Of course not! They obviously create incredible difficulties for everyone in that country. But I'd rather suffer through hardship than die fighting for an unjust cause.
>The consequences of warfare have a much greater potential to make life unbearable for those in power. Being captured, executed or otherwise killed is a likely eventuality.
pizza used the phrase "elite," and you use the phrase "in power." If you're a political figure, you're both "elite" and "in power." The political figure (as well as any subordinate) holds the moral responsibility of waging war. They tacitly accept the risks of conviction and/or execution; incompetence is no excuse. So, yes, you're right, but war would create an even worse environment for the poor than sanctions do. I'd wager that every country in the world has special rules that come into effect when in a state of war. Those rules usually include tough rations, in order to supply the military. If the fighting is happening in that country, it would get worse once the country's means of agricultural production are wiped out.