Global Affairs: The rise of politically motivated sanctions

Used as a weapon of first resort, sanctions have grown more popular from the US to the EU, and now in China and Russia

LONDON • China's recent decision to impose sanctions against two United States defence manufacturers selling weapons and other military equipment to Taiwan is largely symbolic: The two companies in question are hardly likely to seek customers for their products in China, so the sanctions will not have the slightest impact on their future turnover.

Still, the Chinese move is politically significant, for it reaffirms a key international trend: the spread of the use of economic sanctions for political reasons as a key instrument in confrontations between states and, increasingly, as the preferred weapon of coercion.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2019, with the headline 'The rise of politically motivated sanctions'. Print Edition | Subscribe