The U.S has used sanctions to influence geopolitics for decades, including measures targeting the oil and gas trade. Most recently, the U.S. and other G7 nations put a price cap on Russian oil as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine.
In the past, sanctions focused on trade embargos—like the grain embargo against the Soviet Union in 1980 and much broader restrictions against Cuba in 1960. Today, they focus on financial impacts. It’s an effective strategy for a country with significant global financial clout like the U.S., but unilateral sanctions can fuel tensions with allies and result in unintended consequences.
So how does the U.S. use financial pressure to address conflicts with other nations? What are the geopolitical and economic impacts of current sanctions? And how could they affect America’s standing in the global order?
Today on the show, Bill talks with Agathe Demarais, global forecasting director of the Economist Intelligence Unit and former economic advisor for the diplomatic corps of the French Treasury.
Agathe is the author of Backfire: How Sanctions Reshape the World Against U.S. Interests. The book explores how sanctions affect multinational companies, governments, and millions of people around the world. It’s part of the Center on Global Energy Policy’s book series published by the Columbia University Press.
Bill speaks with Agathe about what’s in the U.S sanctions arsenal and why they’ve become so popular in the past two decades. They also discuss the use of sanctions as a foreign policy tool in the past, present, and future.