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Sanctions put globalization under strain

The sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other Western countries pose a threat to the advances made under economic globalization, experts say in voicing concerns about the broader use of trade measures against economic rivals.

Neena Shenai, a nonresident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, or AEI, said the West has leveraged “Russia’s dependence on the global economy to put in place very significant sanctions” in response to its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Shenai was speaking at a webinar titled Economic Globalization after Ukraine, co-hosted by the Brookings Institution and the AEI.

“They’re really unprecedented given the size of Russia’s economy,” Shenai said of the economic actions taken against Moscow.

She cited the claim by the Group of Seven nations that Russia had defaulted on its debt, a contention that Moscow denies. In her comments at the event, Shenai also spoke of how the US and China have been sparring over trade matters in recent years, as well as the efforts to compete for technological supremacy.

‘Stark examples’

Shenai describes sanctions as “stark examples” of the “weaponization of interdependence”.

At the discussion, Henry Farrell, a professor of international affairs at Johns Hopkins University, said the goals of the sanctions placed on Russia were not clear, but the actions had generated a significant spillover effect.

“On the one hand, you need much, much clearer goals than the US and its allies have expressed so far,” Farrell said.

“So, it’s very, very hard to know from public statements at least whether the goal is … perhaps to try and degrade Russia’s military apparatus, whether it is to bring Russia to the negotiation table, whether it’s to permanently degrade Russia as a power.

“We don’t know which of these the United States and its allies are pursuing, which makes it very hard in some ways to actually figure out how successful they are.”

He pointed to the US actions against Chinese technology giant Huawei, which was added to the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List during the presidency of Donald Trump.

“Going after Huawei was a very provocative move that the US engaged in,” Farrell said. “I don’t think there was a strategic conversation about what that would mean.… I think there needs to be a broad policy conversation about just laying out the ground rules of this new world.”

Another panelist, Emily Weinstein, a research fellow at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology of Georgetown University, said that in the context of the US actions against Huawei, “we have to rethink what national security means”.

“We have to figure out what we are doing with them,” said Weinstein, adding: “What we’re seeing now with some of the issues, with inflation, with the energy sector and other things, we’re seeing those secondary side effects and elements.”

Shenai, looking at the broader context of the US-China trade conflict and the pandemic, said: “There’s just been a trend of acceleration in the metamorphosis of the nature of international economic relations.

“Global rules have been morphing and splintering in many ways and have also in many ways laid bare the underbelly of globalization. And the world appears to be moving increasingly toward what seems like different realities as well as polarized blocs.”

The panelists found a consensus in assessing that the risks of economic interdependence have been laid bare and that the situation raises important questions on what that means for emerging economic challenges. Moreover, it remains to be seen how countries will adapt to this new reality and what this means for economic globalization in the years ahead, the forum was told.
Source: China Daily

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