International emotional resonance: Explaining transatlantic economic sanctions against Russia

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Abstract

Why did transatlantic policymakers target Russia with economic sanctions in response to its actions during the Ukraine conflict? Commentators perceived these sanctions as highly unlikely because they would have high costs for several European countries, and were surprised when they were finally adopted. Constructivist scholars employed explanations based on common norms and trust to explain the European Union’s agreement on economic sanctions in this case. I argue that the mechanism of international emotional resonance played a decisive role in altering the course of the United States and core European Union powers’ cooperation. A framework that combines resonance with emotional influence mechanisms of persuasion and contagion explains the precise timing of the policy shift, why European policymakers accepted sanctions at a substantial cost to their economy and how norms affected policy when they were empowered by intense emotions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number00108367211027609
Pages (from-to)25-42
Number of pages18
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Volume57
Issue number1
Early online date24 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work for this article was done as part of my PhD dissertation at Laval University and continued during my postdoctoral research at Frei Universität Berlin. I received the financial support of Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council both for my PhD and my postdoctoral studies. I am very grateful to Francesco Cavatorta, Jonathan Mercer, Jonathan Paquin, Andrew Ross, Brent Sasley and Simon Koschut for their helpful comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this article. I would also like to thank Frédéric Mérand and Antoine Rayroux for inviting me to the ‘Social power and the transatlantic space’ workshop at Concordia University in 2017. I also presented several versions of this article at scientific conferences where I received great feedback. Special thanks to Miroslava Kul’ková, Gerald Schneider and Fulvio Attina. Moreover, I am grateful to the participants who agreed to give me their time for interviews, and I want to thank the reviewers for their suggestions. The author received no financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.

Funding Information:
The work for this article was done as part of my PhD dissertation at Laval University and continued during my postdoctoral research at Frei Universität Berlin. I received the financial support of Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council both for my PhD and my postdoctoral studies. I am very grateful to Francesco Cavatorta, Jonathan Mercer, Jonathan Paquin, Andrew Ross, Brent Sasley and Simon Koschut for their helpful comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this article. I would also like to thank Frédéric Mérand and Antoine Rayroux for inviting me to the ‘Social power and the transatlantic space’ workshop at Concordia University in 2017. I also presented several versions of this article at scientific conferences where I received great feedback. Special thanks to Miroslava Kul’ková, Gerald Schneider and Fulvio Attina. Moreover, I am grateful to the participants who agreed to give me their time for interviews, and I want to thank the reviewers for their suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Keywords

  • Economic sanctions
  • European Union
  • Ukraine crisis
  • emotions
  • international cooperation
  • transatlantic security community

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