krueger71_JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIERAFP via Getty Images_sanctions JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images

Why the Russia Sanctions Are Failing

While the United States and its allies have long used sanctions to influence other countries’ policies, such measures often fail to achieve their stated goals. The ineffectiveness of the current Russia sanctions regime underscores the need for G7 countries to reassess the costs and benefits of economic warfare.

WASHINGTON, DC – When bilateral talks fail to resolve disputes between sovereign countries, aggrieved parties may turn to an international judicial body, such as the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Alternatively, treaties or agreements often incorporate provisions for arbitration or mediation of disputes by a pre-designated entity.

Similarly, the World Trade Organization’s articles, which underpin the international trading system, outline procedures for member countries to follow when trading partners violate the organization’s rules, particularly the most-favored-nation principle. But the WTO rules permit countries to take unilateral actions they deem necessary for national security, even if these measures require breaching agreed-upon tariff ceilings.

When former US President Donald Trump, citing national-security concerns, imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, many of the United States’ trading partners viewed this as a fig leaf for protectionism and filed complaints with the WTO. But America’s refusal to appoint new judges to the WTO’s dispute-settlement body has left members without a functional mechanism to resolve such conflicts.