Like so many I am appauled by the deaths of those on flight MH17 who just happened to be
passengers in a plane, in the wrong place at the wrong time - it would be difficult to see any justification for this slaughter of innocents.
Yet the West's response is based on a single tool philosophy, namely, apply sanuctions on Russia, even in the absence of robust evidence that Russia is directly responsible. There appears to be absolutely no evidence that sanctions against Russia work and to a certain extent the West could be both 'cutting of its nose to spite its face' or perhaps in the longer term demonstrating a lack of ability to make any meaningful impact on Russia. Is the objective to penalise or prevent perceived bad state behaviour in the future?
It is also clear that sanctions could backfire and perhaps inflict pain on the 'sanctionor' just as much, if not more, than on the 'sanctionee'. Perhaps it is therefore time to consider other alternatives.
For centuries the tool of trying to bring about world security and avoid conflict was marriages between the Royals of potential enemy states. The days when that strategy was effective have long gone. I wonder if an alternative would be, rather than impose sanctions, to develop stronger procurement interdependence between states, for example, contracts which create greater reliance on 'buy' from other inter-dependent states who have competitive advantage rather than 'make' within a protectionist independent strategy. Surely in such a strategy state inter-dependence would increase the stakes of conflict, and the greater the inter-dependence on strategic contracts, the higher the stakes. Such a radical idealist approach to the aspiration of 'world peace' would shift from reducing inter-regional trade barriers, like those the the EU to reducing barriers across separate economic trade regions, for example between Russia and the EU, and the EU and Latin American countries.
As I watch the daily news I feel as if we are sitting on the edge of a precipice with potential lethal alliances appearing all over the world. Sanctions have had little impact on so many of the major areas of conflict and are unlikely to have a major impact in the future. We need to consider alternatives beyond the existing toolbox, perhaps procurement and contractual inter-dependence is a tool worth considering.