In a world going mad with war, European and US sanctions against Russia stand out as sane and measured. They will not stop Russia’s assault on Ukraine in its tracks, but they will help Kiev to weather the Russian blows. And by answering violence with economics, they can help to rescue the world from the current epidemic of military delusions.
Vladimir Putin is not alone in believing that military force can solve Russia’s political problems vis-à-vis Ukraine. Western powers wrongly believed that killing Muammer Gaddafi would resolve problems with Libya; that backing an insurgency to overthrow Bashar al-Assad would resolve political problems with Syria; and that toppling Saddam Hussein would create a stable, pro-western Iraq. Now Israel believes that a mass bloodletting in Gaza will make that trapped and desperate population compliant to Israeli might.