Shadow Government

A front-row seat to the Republicans' debate over foreign policy, including their critique of the Biden administration.

‘How Does This End?’ A Question for Economic as Well as Military War

For those interested in the challenge of economic statecraft, I would direct your attention to a bit of moonlighting I did with the competition: a short piece on the challenges of unwinding financial sanctions, posted over at Foreign Affairs. I co-wrote it with Eric Lorber, a former graduate student and now specialist in the new arts of ...

YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images
YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images
YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images

For those interested in the challenge of economic statecraft, I would direct your attention to a bit of moonlighting I did with the competition: a short piece on the challenges of unwinding financial sanctions, posted over at Foreign Affairs. I co-wrote it with Eric Lorber, a former graduate student and now specialist in the new arts of economic statecraft. (We previously posted a related piece here on Shadow where I belong.)

The gist of our piece, which draws on more extensive research we did, is that the new kinds of sanctions, which are becoming the favored tool of statecraft over the past decade, are particularly powerful -- but they are also particularly tricky to unwind. Unwinding sanctions is a crucial part of coercive diplomacy: You get the target to make the concessions you want both by credibly threatening that the pain will increase if he doesn't and by credibly promising that the pain will lessen if he complies.

For those interested in the challenge of economic statecraft, I would direct your attention to a bit of moonlighting I did with the competition: a short piece on the challenges of unwinding financial sanctions, posted over at Foreign Affairs. I co-wrote it with Eric Lorber, a former graduate student and now specialist in the new arts of economic statecraft. (We previously posted a related piece here on Shadow where I belong.)

The gist of our piece, which draws on more extensive research we did, is that the new kinds of sanctions, which are becoming the favored tool of statecraft over the past decade, are particularly powerful — but they are also particularly tricky to unwind. Unwinding sanctions is a crucial part of coercive diplomacy: You get the target to make the concessions you want both by credibly threatening that the pain will increase if he doesn’t and by credibly promising that the pain will lessen if he complies.

The strategic community has long understood that starting coercive diplomacy — that is, beginning the process of making military threats and carrying through with them — is easier than ending it successfully. We argue that analogous challenges attend economic coercive diplomacy. Given that the lion’s share of our efforts to push back against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adventurism will be in the realm of economic coercive diplomacy, understanding these challenges is a high priority for current strategy.

Peter D. Feaver is a professor of political science and public policy at Duke University, where he directs the Program in American Grand Strategy.

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.