Sanctions play a significant role in international diplomacy, whether they are applied to forward geopolitical objectives or to sway the choices of other governments.
Ahmed S. Cheema claims in an essay that since 1990, there has been a sharp rise in the usage of this weapon, particularly when used in accordance with Article VII of the UN Security Council.
Examples of sanctions include those placed on Russia, Iran, Yugoslavia, and Iraq.
In a globalized world, these policies frequently influence how nations make decisions, although this is not always the case.
Russia's recent decision to annex Ukrainian territory underscores its refusal to back down.
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has crossed the Rubicon, closing the door on the option of retreat.
The Biden administration, on the other hand, has said that the United States will never recognize the annexations.
In this situation, Russia has been punished and suffered significant economic harm.
The value of the ruble has considerably declined, and approximately 1,000 foreign businesses, or 40% of the Russian GDP, have abandoned the country.
Airlines are still stranded because the country lacks the capacity to import Western technological equipment.
However, the Russian Federation's army has not left Ukraine despite the economic hammer that has been placed on its head.
As long as the Ukrainian offensive does not weaken his forces, the Russian president will weather the storm.
According to Cheema, "The impact of the sanctions is being mitigated by the support of China, India and other countries.
And the effectiveness of sanctions in changing the behavior of nations is debatable.
This is because the policies of each sanctioned nation are determined by many different variables: security concern, policy goals, economic well-being, and public opinion.
Countries often employ a 'rational choice matrix'.
They evaluate the strategies available to them and then arrive at a decision.
Additionally, power dynamics between states and their ability to coerce one another also come into play.
States' ability to deliver economic blows is a determining factor in the final outcome.
Ultimately, the success of economic sanctions imposed by foreign countries or multilateral institutions depends on how these numerous variables affect the target country.
A practical example of the interplay of these variables involves the development of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan.
Indian leaders concluded that the country's economy was strong enough to overcome US sanctions, and the electorate supported them.
At the same time, Pakistan decided that non-nuclear energy posed a serious threat to its national security and that sanctions, while damaging to economic development, were acceptable.
Consequently, both countries proceeded to develop nuclear programs.
Pakistan avoided economic collapse thanks to Saudi Arabia, which provided aid and free oil.
This demonstrates that the decision of other states to abide by the sanctions is crucial.
Compared to India and Pakistan,Russia enjoys much greater leverage as half of the G20 countries have decided to put their economic interests above Ukraine's sovereignty.
Moreover, in his seventies, Putin still enjoys an approval rating of over 70% - far higher than any other sanctioned leader.
It is noted that the indefinite imposition of sanctions is not sustainable due to Europe's geographical vulnerability and its dependence on Russian energy.
About 40% of Europe's natural gas comes from Russia, and Putin's decision to cut those supplies will affect industry and the manufacturing sector.
In July, EU leaders agreed to cut natural gas use by 15% and reaffirmed their commitment to finding alternatives.
In the long term, Europeans could build LNG terminals and look for new suppliers.
However, such a project will take years to complete, so recession is inevitable.
Europe is set to contract GDP by 1% - or even 5% if there are no alternatives to Russian natural gas - a situation that will resemble the economic shock of the 2008 financial crisis.
To put it bluntly, Putin may waits two years, the economies of Europe, Japan and South Korea cannot.
In addition, almost a quarter of the world's wheat and grain supplies come from Ukraine and Russia.
Rising energy and food prices affect low-income countries, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, resulting in social unrest.
The inevitable result will be hunger, disease and waves of refugees immigrating to Europe.
Understandably, some low-income countries are willing to ignore the sanctions and buy food and goods directly from Russia.
When sanctions were imposed on Iraq, America's allies in the Middle East got involved.
In the case of Russia, this is not the case.
Sanctions are not imposed in a political or economic vacuum, and even coercive diplomacy has its limits.
Consider Iran's support for the Assad regime in Syria, which has helped it stay in power, or China's assistance to Iran to reduce the impact of sanctions.
Governments are also mindful of their domestic circumstances, so they often decide they have no choice but to live with sanctions.
For example, North Korea developed nuclear weapons despite crippling sanctions that starved its population.
Similarly, the Iranian regime may decide that it cannot risk liquidation or survive being removed from power, even at the expense of its economy.
Additionally, there are times when actions above and beyond sanctions are required.
Coalition forces—not economic sanctions—forced the Iraqi military to leave Kuwait in 1991.
Sanctions had little impact on the decisions of Serbian leaders during the Bosnian and Kosovo wars.
Serbia's GDP fell from $24 billion to $10 billion under the sanctions, but it took US military intervention to force Serbian leaders to negotiate.
Israeli airstrikes, not sanctions, have prevented the development of Iraq's and Syria's nuclear programs.
Also, we should not overlook the role of decision makers.
For example, economic sanctions and international isolation failed to persuade the Taliban to crack down on terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan in the 1990s.
These examples demonstrate that sanctions often do not change the strategic calculus of a country's leaders and demonstrate the effectiveness of military force and covert operations.
Consequently, the success or failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive will ultimately decide the outcome of the conflict.""
"In this case it is worth pointing out that an unintended consequence of the imposition of sanctions may be the decline of US economic leadership.
Countries will end up resenting what they perceive as an exploitation of American power.
For example, China and Russia are working on a payment system that can serve as an alternative to the US-dominated SWIFT payment system.
The harsh reality forces states to pursue national goals through the coordinated application of soft and hard power tools, including diplomacy, political intervention, economic policy, and military force.
Perhaps economic sanctions are so popular because there is nothing else between dialogue and violence that can be used to coerce a country.
Possible military action by the West is now increasingly unpopular and would be costly, especially against Russia or Iran.
However, history shows that stability and change are rarely achieved through dialogue alone.
In any case, Putin dealt a crushing blow to the arrogance of the West," the expert says.
By fLEXI tEAM