How effective are the West’s sanctions on Russia?

COMMENT – The previous three Geoeconomic Briefing series discussed whether Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has aspects of a “new war.”

To better understand the conflict, it is also necessary to examine sanctions against Russia and the impact of such economic measures on Russian behavior.

When Russia was building up troops along its border with Ukraine ahead of its invasion of the country, the United States ruled out sending troops into Ukraine, giving up the option of hampering Russia’s invasion by use of force.

Instead, Washington threatened to impose severe economic sanctions as a means to prevent Russia’s actions.

It is not surprising that such threats of economic sanctions did not work as a deterrence. Generally speaking, economic sanctions are meant to appeal to economic rationality. They are aimed at urging a nation to stop taking certain actions because such measures, if put into practice, would lead to economic damage.

But a decision to start a war is not necessarily based on economic rationality, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is driven by Moscow’s national security interests and ambition to expand its territory, rather than by economic rationale.

This means it would have been difficult to deter Russia — which was trying to start a war under logic beyond economic rationality — with economic sanctions.

Read more about this comment written by Kazuto Suzuki on thejapantimes.