Sanctions in the Twenty-First Century

Project Expert

Robert Kahn
Robert Kahn

Steven A. Tananbaum Senior Fellow for International Economics

About the Project

The imposition of financial sanctions in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea represents a new application of sanctions to address foreign policy disputes. After September 11, the United States began targeting financial systems, effectively cutting off adversaries' access to financing. Over the next decade, sanctions were used successfully against al-Qaeda, Iran, and North Korea. The use of sanctions against Russia in 2014 is different, though, not only because of Russia's size and global importance, but also because the scale and complexity of Russia's ties to global economic markets may make it particularly vulnerable to sanctions that restrict access to trade and investment. My research assesses the short and longer-term cost of these sanctions, as well as the implications for their use elsewhere. Will we see a greater reliance on sanctions in the future? If so, will the risk of their misuse also grow? I will also consider what policymakers will need to keep in mind when considering their use. U.S. policymakers need to balance the benefits of financial sanctions against the costs of weakening the deep global financial markets for countries that adhere to international norms. These results will be presented in a CFR Council Special Report.