The AtlanticThe Atlantic

The Three Rules for Canceling Russia Fairly

By Conor Friedersdorf

20 Mar 2022 · 6 min read

In the west, nearly every country has embraced draconian sanctions against Russia. Countless private actors have joined sweeping economic and cultural boycotts of the country, hoping to pressure President Vladimir Putin into ending his unjust war of aggression against Ukraine.

Whether this approach will work is not yet clear. Years of sanctions have failed to stop other murderous regimes from staying in power and waging war. Punishing Russia in a manner so harsh, sweeping, and shaped as much by “do something!” outrage as by carefully calculated strategy, may cause Russians to rally around Putin, or provoke further escalation, or harm the global economy in immiserating ways that make war elsewhere more likely. Or it may work, or at least prove less terrible than any of the other terrible options that are available.

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