Serbian Political Thought 2/2018
Sanctions as an Ambiguous Tool of Economic Statecraft: The Case of Russia Post-2014
Trade and financial sanctions are regularly considered one of the most widely employed tools of economic statecraft, although their efficiency is occasionally disputed. In academic literature and political practice alike, it is often claimed that they can effectively be used to influence a particular state’s behavior and shape international political outcomes. Even the potential for sanctions to be imposed is sometimes enough to produce the wanted consequences. Some conditions are previously required, though, in order for sanctions to work. They pertain to the level of balance between the actors’ capabilities and vested interests. In the case of sanctions imposed to Russian Federation by a large number of Western countries, the conditions have clearly not been met. Given that the purpose of sanctions imposed is not to affect the targeted state’s economy, but to influence its behavior, it may well be stated that the tool has not been successfully used. Also, within the current, ever-larger global interdependence, the consequences produced by international sanctions have backfired and hampered the economies of many of the European Union member states, thus creating blocks of opposition within the Western club and demonstrating the ambiguity of the tool itself. It all goes to show that the way of handling the Ukraine crisis, regarding its reliance on international sanctions, was flawed. As such, it is not only significant as a roadmap of how not to handle international conflicts, but as a potentially valuable case study in the future economic statecraft textbooks
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