European Economic Self-defense in the Face of Authoritarianism

Economic coercion by states has always been present in one form or the other, but the challenges have escalated to an unprecedented level in today’s globalized economy. Most notably, as China’s economy has strengthened its global leverage and Russia has weaponized its energy exports, authoritarian states have increased their coercive capabilities. This has been especially apparent for Europe in its relations with both China and Russia, but also Australia and South Korea, among others, have all experienced extensive economic coercion, according to reports from the Australian Foreign Policy Institute and European Council on Foreign Relations. Norway and Sweden, among several states, have been in the freezer for having the audacity to have opinions on China and have subsequently been targeted with economic sanctions and threats. Most recently, Lithuania has been exposed to Chinese coercion for asserting its sovereign right to make independent decisions on diplomatic matters. Russia has, of course, been utilizing its large deposits of fossil energy as a way of weaponizing its economy, something that has led to robust and necessary responses from the European economies, but also to immediate costs.


Read this piece by Niklas Swanström in CENTRUM BALTICUM.


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