Western Sanctions Are Slow, While Autocrats Act fast

Major Western democracies have decided to rely on economic sanctions to force improvements in human rights or the reversal of unwelcome foreign policy moves by despotic adversaries, notably Belarus, Russia and China.                                                                                                                                         

Still in jail

The punishments have been imposed gradually in the hope that the slow tightening of the screws will persuade the targeted government to make changes to avoid further pain later.

Such ratcheting-up has become the go-to form of consensus-building by the United States and its European Union, British and Canadian allies, as US president Joe Biden tries to promote restrained, united diplomacy. He has made a point of contrasting this method to the abrupt go-it-alone style of his predecessor, Donald Trump.

The measured approach presumably has the virtue of keeping international disputes from spiraling out of control while building allied agreements. It’s also meant to avoid moves that might lead to open conflict.

But the less hurried approach has a major downside: It allows the targeted regime to digest gradual punishments while moving full speed ahead with domestic and/or foreign adventures that the West opposes.

Daniel Williams

Published by Daniel Williams

I am a former correspondent who, for more than 30 years, did time in China, Southeast Asia, Central America, Mexico, the Middle East, Europe and Africa and covered wars that went from episodic to non-stop. My book, "Forsaken," about Christian persecution in the Middle East came out January, 2016. NextWarNotes is a news and analysis blog designed to fill gaps, provide background and think about what’s next. The name of the site comes from a 1935 article by Ernest Hemingway in Esquire Magazine called “Notes on the Next War,” in which he predicted the coming conflagration in Europe, told why it would happen and warned Americans to stay out.

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