To compete and thrive in the 21st century, democracies, and the United States in particular, must develop new national security and economic strategies that address the geopolitics of information. In the 20th century, market capitalist democracies geared infrastructure, energy, trade, and even social policy to protect and advance that era’s key source of power—manufacturing. In this century, democracies must better account for information geopolitics across all dimensions of domestic policy and national strategy.
Speaker: Ariel Petrovics, Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom
Economic sanctions are one of the most common coercive tools of foreign policy, used regularly in an effort to change target state behavior. Yet despite their versatility and prevalence in international relations, sanctions are at best an unreliable tool of foreign policy. Indeed, many of the most important and publicized sanction attempts have failed to produce any desired change in the target. Existing literature on the effectiveness of sanctions has largely focused on whether or not sanctions eventually succeed, but this overlooks the arguable more policy relevant questions of when and under what conditions sanctions are effective tools of statecraft.
The speaker's research finds that sanctions with the greatest implications for international security — such as those that combat nuclear proliferation or foreign military aggression — fail even more catastrophically than their less salient counterparts. In addition, the implications of their failures can reverberate long after the immediate exchange. Sanctioners who fail to achieve their goals — especially goals related to international security problems — actually hurt their future credibility against any target, so their threats become even less potent in subsequent conflicts. This research contributes to the understanding of sanctions as a foreign policy tool as well as methodological approaches for evaluating policy effectiveness. It demonstrates the importance of considering when and how quickly sanctions succeed or fail, as well as the potential consequences of failure for future conflicts.
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Topic: International Security Program - April 9, 2020
Time: Apr 9, 2020 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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