The U.S. government and its partners possess powerful financial and regulatory tools that help achieve foreign policy goals, but failure to use them appropriately will have major consequences for international trade, our alliances, and our own credibility. Conversations about national security and “sovereignty” cannot lapse into protectionism and special interest. Moreover, we should be mindful not to define economic statecraft only by punitive measures, but by potential incentive structures to deepen our ties with Allies and partners.

Featured work

China Economic Spotlight

Our experts review the individual China measures pursued by the US and its Allies and partners within their global political and economic context. Because taxation and accounting have never been so important. And because the whole is more than a sum of its parts, for the military and the markets alike.

Programmatic structure

Sanctions and Illicit Finance: Our goal is to clarify the role sanctions can (and cannot) play in advancing policy objectives, harness the power of our allies, and promote options that minimize consequences for the private sector. On the illicit finance side, the health and soundness of our financial infrastructure can be as important as military deterrence, and that protecting our financial system from abuse by illicit financial actors goes hand in hand with prudential supervision.

Transatlantic Trade and Regulation: Our program with check assumptions that transatlantic trade “should be easy” when two equal sized market powers with two equally viable regulatory frameworks stand their ground. We will also analyze the potential reshoring of foreign direct investment in light of COVID and attempts on both sides of the Atlantic to secure supply chains and also bolster domestic competitiveness in research and development, technology, and high-end manufacturing.

Tariffs, Investment Screening, and Export Controls: By bringing together stakeholders from economic, regulatory, military, foreign policy, and business communities, we will take an objective look at how restrictions on the movement of capital have emerged as a national security tool. By surveying D10 governments, private sector participants, business associations and academia, we will drive consensus among allies on what sectors of our economies deserve government interference, and which do not. 

Commentary and analysis

New Atlanticist

Aug 23, 2021

They aren’t listed, but make no mistake: The UN has sanctions on the Taliban

By Brian O’Toole

As the militant group settles in to rule Afghanistan again, sanctions remain one of the only viable points of leverage for the international community. Here’s what the UN’s own rules say.

Afghanistan Economic Sanctions

New Atlanticist

Aug 17, 2021

The Taliban now controls the Afghan economy. Here’s what that means.

By Alex Zerden

The reality of a strengthened Taliban running the Afghan government creates substantial and imminent economic policy challenges for the United States and the international community.

Afghanistan Economic Sanctions

New Atlanticist

Aug 11, 2021

Nord Stream 2: How to make the best of a bad idea

By Daniel Fried, Richard L. Morningstar, András Simonyi

The United States and Germany must work hard and fast to push back against Russia’s weaponization of energy.

Economic Sanctions Europe & Eurasia

New Atlanticist

Aug 10, 2021

Biden’s empty posts are a national security problem

By Brian O’Toole

The administration’s inaction on filling positions at the State and Treasury departments translates into real-world problems on everything from energy to rogue regimes to the US financial system.

Economic Sanctions National Security

New Atlanticist

Aug 9, 2021

The new US sanctions on Belarus: Strong, but not enough

By Daniel Fried, Brian O’Toole

A reasonable set of targets, the sanctions are welcome news for the Belarusian opposition. But are they powerful enough to rattle President Lukashenka?

Belarus Eastern Europe
President Biden and Chancellor Merkel at a press conference at the White House.


Jul 27, 2021

Why is Biden letting Putin win?

By Diane Francis

Russia and Germany, enabled by a distracted and increasingly isolationist United States, trample Europe and ignore the wishes of Central and Eastern European and Baltic nation-states. What does the White House think it’s doing?

Economic Sanctions Geopolitics & Energy Security


Jul 21, 2021

Money wars in Belarus

By Brian Whitmore

Belarus dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka is increasing financial pressure of his domestic opponents. Meanwhile, Western sanctions against his regime continue to mount, leaving Belarus more and more dependent on Russia.

Belarus Democratic Transitions

Fast Thinking

Jul 16, 2021

FAST THINKING: Biden’s China policy is coming into focus

By Atlantic Council

What do this week’s moves on Xinjiang and Hong Kong signal about the Biden administration’s emerging China policy? Our experts on economic statecraft connect the dots.

China Economic Sanctions


Jul 14, 2021

Putin and Lukashenka are locked in a dysfunctional axis of autocrats

By Brian Whitmore

Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka are bound together in an axis of autocrats but the two dictators are also locked in a game of cat and mouse over Kremlin efforts to expand Russian influence in Belarus.

Belarus Economic Sanctions


Jun 29, 2021

Global Sanctions Dashboard: 5th Edition

By Julia Friedlander, Michael Albanese and Castellum.AI

The Global Sanctions Dashboard aims to inform economic statecraft policies by analyzing sanctions globally and identifying trends across lists in partnership with Castellum.AI.

Belarus China