What are economic sanctions? The White House has recently issued new sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine. They are actions taken by one country or group of countries to harm the economic interest of another country or group of countries, usually to bring about pressure for social or political change. The first sanctions the United States issued were through the Embargo Act of 1807, a trade embargo aimed to force foreign nations to respect the United States' neutrality. Ultimately, the Embargo Act failed to meet its goal. The United States did not impose embargoes or economic sanctions again until World War I. The United States increased its use of sanctions even more after 9/11. The State Department enforces sanctions through its' Office of Economic Sanctions Policy and Implementation (TFS/SPI). It currently maintains over twenty economic sanctions programs.
What do the economic sanctions against Russia include? The US, UK and European Union (EU) have restricted exports on certain items to Russia including tech items that could have military uses. The UK and EU have banned Russian flights and restricted its airspace. The latest round of sanctions have cut Russia out of the SWIFT system, which facilitates global banking transactions. After these latest sanctions, Russian currency, the ruble, is worth less than one cent.
Do economic sanctions work? There are differing opinions on the effectiveness of sanctions. According to one expert, sanctions result in meaningful change in the targeted country around 40% of the time.
U.S. Sanctions on Russia: An Overview
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: New Financial and Trade Sanctions