Sanctioning Russia Is a Form of War. We Need to Treat It Like One.
The Russian political scientist Ilya Matveev recently described the impact of the West’s sanctions on his country as “30 years of economic development thrown into the bin.” He’s not exaggerating. Economists expect the Russian economy to contract by at least 15 percent of G.D.P. this year. Inflation is spiking. An exodus of Russian professionals is underway. Stories of shortages and long lines for basic consumer goods abound. The U.S. and its allies have turned to sanctions as a way of taking action against Russia’s atrocities without direct military intervention. But to describe these sanctions as anything short of all-out economic warfare is euphemistic. Measures like these might be cloaked in the technocratic language of finance and economics, but the immiseration they cause is anything but abstract. Nicholas Mulder is a historian at Cornell University and the author of the terrifyingly relevant new book “The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War.” In it, Mulder focuses on the