Tuesday, March 01, 2022

What's It For Then

The push for Maximum Belligerence, as always, obscures what that might realistically achieve and whether or not those likely outcomes are good.
The thing is, as satisfying as it might feel in the moment, “imposing costs” cannot be an end in itself. Sanctions should be a means to achieving a larger end. Maybe the goal is to nudge Putin’s elite coalition — you know, the guys sitting at the other end of the long table — into forcing him out. Maybe it is to delegitimize Putin in the eyes of a country that remembers the pre-Putin 1990s as a time of humiliation.

If the goal is to compel, then the sanctioners need to be explicit about what Russia can do to get the sanctions lifted. I saw nothing in the joint statement that suggested any demands that could cause these sanctions to be lifted. That lack of clarity undermines coercive bargaining, because the targeted actor believes that sanctions will stay in place no matter what they do.

I'm not sure what this is for! (sorry - that tweet was deleted, explanation): I would think (again, I am dumb) a reasonable part of all of this should be, "We want the best for the Russian people, but Putin is bad," and this does not do that!