What is Economic Statecraft?

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.

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. 

Featured work

China Economic Spotlight

China Economic Spotlight provides deep insight and analysis into the China policy – how the US and its partners are tackling critical issues ranging from markets and statecraft to technology and manufacturing.

Global Sanctions Dashboard

The Global Sanctions Dashboard provides a global overview of various sanctions regimes and lists. Each month you will find an update on the most recent listings and delistings and insights into the motivations behind them. This is the only sanctions resource where global sanctions list data are aggregated in one place.

Commentary and analysis

New Atlanticist by Brian O’Toole

Aug 10, 2021

Biden’s empty posts are a national security problem

New Atlanticist 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

BelarusAlert by Daniel Fried, Brian O’Toole

Aug 9, 2021

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

BelarusAlert 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.

UkraineAlert by Diane Francis

Jul 27, 2021

Why is Biden letting Putin win?

UkraineAlert 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

BelarusAlert by Brian Whitmore

Jul 21, 2021

Money wars in Belarus

BelarusAlert 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 by Atlantic Council

Jul 16, 2021

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

Fast Thinking 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

BelarusAlert by Brian Whitmore

Jul 14, 2021

Putin and Lukashenka are locked in a dysfunctional axis of autocrats

BelarusAlert 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

EconoGraphics by Julia Friedlander, Michael Albanese and Castellum.AI

Jun 29, 2021

Global Sanctions Dashboard: 5th Edition

EconoGraphics 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

UkraineAlert by Anders Åslund

Jun 27, 2021

Ukraine’s Russia sanctions target Putin’s inner circle

UkraineAlert by Anders Åslund

Ukraine’s recently updated sanctions against Russia are the most comprehensive since 2014 and demonstrate that the Ukrainian government understands the value of targeting people close to Vladimir Putin.

Conflict Economic Sanctions

BelarusAlert by Brian Whitmore

Jun 22, 2021

Belarus sanctions target dictator’s Russian enablers

BelarusAlert by Brian Whitmore

When the US, EU, Canada, and UK announced a new Belarus sanctions this week, one name in particular stood out: Russian businessman Mikhail Gutseriyev.

Belarus Economic Sanctions

Fast Thinking by Atlantic Council

May 25, 2021

FAST THINKING: Europe strikes back at Belarus

Fast Thinking by Atlantic Council

Europe has imposed economic sanctions and restrictions on Belarusian planes, while US President Joe Biden has indicated that he will follow suit. What made Europe act with unusual swiftness and boldness?

Belarus Crisis Management

GeoEconomics Center

At the intersection of economics, finance, and foreign policy, the GeoEconomics Center is a translation hub with the goal of helping shape a better global economic future.

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