Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance


Date of this Version


Document Type



Yeutter Institute International Trade Policy Review, June 16, 2023



Copyright © 2023 E. Wesley F. Peterson


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to extensive economic, financial, trade, and other types of sanctions directed at individual Russians and the Russian economy. Most European and North American countries as well as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Korea have enacted sanctions and many of them are also supporting Ukraine with military and economic assistance. Many other countries including China, India, and Brazil do not support the sanctions although 141 countries belonging to the United Nations (out of a total membership of 193) voted to condemn the war. Although the use of economic sanctions to influence the behavior of foreign adversaries has a long history, they have become a more prominent foreign policy tool since the end of the Cold War. Their effectiveness at changing the undesirable behavior of political leaders in countries such as Russia, Iran, or North Korea, however, has generally been unimpressive. While economic sanctions did eventually result in an agreement with Iran to control its development of nuclear arms, an agreement with which the Iranian government was complying, the Trump Administration withdrew from that compact, and it has proved difficult to re-instate it. Meanwhile, Iran may be resuming its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

Past experience with sanctions suggest that the current measures taken against Russia are unlikely to lead to an early termination of the war in Ukraine.