The Geoeconomic Diplomacy of European Sanctions

Networked Practices and Sanctions Implementation


When policy-makers opt for sanctions or other economic power instruments in response to geostrategic challenges, the stage is set for geoeconomic diplomacy. Challenging traditional conceptions about the interplay between governments and markets, this book sheds a new light on the diplomatic actors and processes that shape successful geoeconomic foreign and security policy-making. Unpacking the ‘networked practices’ through which diplomats advanced the early implementation of the European Union’s far-reaching sanctions regimes against Russia and Syria, the book demonstrates how geoeconomic diplomats depend on their abilities to navigate in complex actor-networks in the interfaces between the public, private, and non-governmental realm.

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Kim B. Olsen, Ph.D. (2020, University of Antwerp) is a diplomatic practitioner and has published widely on geoeconomics and EU foreign and security policy. A former Senior Adviser to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he is affiliated with the Danish Institute for International Studies and the German Council on Foreign Relations.



Introduction The  eu  in the Age of Geoeconomic Multipolarisation
 1 The Puzzle: Instrumentalising Economic Power in Europe’s Liberal Market Capitalism

 2 The Approach: Practices and Actor-Networks of Geoeconomic Diplomacy

 3 The Limitations: Neglecting the Outcomes of Geoeconomic Interventions

 4 Outline of Chapters

1Economic Power, Geoeconomics, and Sanctions
 1 The Realist-Liberalist Divide: Classical Conceptions of Economic Power in ir
 1.1 Realist Recognitions: Non-state Actors’ Influence on Economic Means of Power

 1.2 Realist Remainders: The Legacy of Geopolitics as an Analytical Category

 2 Geoeconomics: A Renewed Debate on Economic Power in the 21st Century’s Multipolar Order
 2.1 Geoeconomics as Global Governance: Managing International Interdependencies

 2.2 Geoeconomics as National Policies: Instrumentalising Wealth in Foreign and Security Policy

 3 Economic Sanctions: A Popular, Yet Challenging, Geoeconomic Instrument
 3.1 Conventional Analytical Approaches to the Study of Sanctions

 3.2 The Complex Institutional Framework of eu  Sanctions Implementation

2Geoeconomic Diplomacy Enhancing Abilities to Instrumentalise Economic Means of Power
 1 Geoeconomic Disparities in the ‘Multipolar’ 21st Century
 1.1 The (Overestimated) Structural Advantages of State Capitalism

 1.2 The (Underestimated) Structural Disadvantages of Liberal Market Capitalism

 2 Exploring the Paradox: Limited Governmental Control over Geoeconomic Levers

 3 Geoeconomic Diplomacy: Leveraging Economic Power through Diplomatic Relationship Building

3Sanctioning Russia The Domestic Drivers Behind the Geoeconomic Diplomacy of France and Germany
 1 Case i: eu Sanctions on Russia – an Inductive Search for Geoeconomic Diplomatic Behaviour

 2 European mfa s in the 2010s: Reforming Diplomatic Capacities in the State-Market Nexus
 2.1 Political Drivers behind French and German mfa Reforms

 2.2 The ‘Streamlining’ of the French and German mfa s in the Geoeconomic Field

 3 Handling Domestic Agency Relations: The Diplomatic Quest to Implement the Russia Sanctions
 3.1 Offices of Heads of States and Governments

 3.2 Other Ministries

 3.3 Legislative and Sub-State Actors

 3.4 Business and Market Actors

 4 Moving from Domestic Network of Actors to Practices of Actor-Networks

4A New Framework for Studying Sanctions ‘Networked Practices’ of Geoeconomic Diplomacy
 1 Theoretical Approach: Studying the Practices of Foreign and Security Policy Implementation
 1.1 A Pragmatic Understanding to Practices

 2 A Half Turn to Practices: The Problem of ipt’s Empirical Biases
 2.1 Empirical Bias  i: Focus on Decision-Making over Policy Implementation

 2.2 Empirical Bias ii : Disregard of Non-state Actors

 2.3 Moving beyond the Bias: Analysing ‘Polylateral’ Relationships of Policy Implementation

 3 Completing the Practice Turn: Networked Practices in Diplomacy’s Implementation Phase
 3.1 Actor-Network Theory in Diplomacy Studies

 3.2 The Framework: Bringing Actor-Network Theory into Diplomacy Studies

 3.3 Critiques, Limitations, and Competing Understandings of Social Networks

 4 Methodology and Data Collection: Challenges, Choices, and Consequences
 4.1 Accessing Practices through Praxiography

 4.2 Data Collection through ‘Multimethod Research’: Qualitative Interviews, Textual Analysis, and Ethnographic Observations

 4.3 The Researching Practitioner vs the Practicing Researcher

5Sanctioning Syria The Networked Practices Shaping eu Sanctions Implementation
 1 Case ii: eu Sanctions on Syria – a Framework-Driven Analysis of Networked Practices

 2 Defend or Dispute? The Heated Policy Debate about the eu Sanctions’ Role in the Syria Crisis

 3 Practices of Actor-Networks: Implementing the eu’s Syria Sanctions
 3.1 Enforcement Practices

 3.2 Monitoring Practices

 3.3 Refinement Practices

 3.4 Deterrence Practices

 4 Exerting Control over Actor-Networks? European Diplomats’ Successes and Limitations as ‘Obligatory Passage Points’

6Conflicting Practices? Ensuring Coherency across Geoeconomic Actor-Networks
 1 Expanding the Syria Case: Disentangling eu Sanctions from Other Geoeconomic Instruments
 1.1 Conflicting Practices between Geoeconomic Instruments: Caught between eu  Sanctions and Targeted Economic Assistance

 1.2 Conflicting Practices between Geoeconomic Partners: The Impact of US Sanctions

 2 The Geoeconomic Diplomacy of Economic Sanctions: Instrumentalising Market Shares, Managing Global Interdependencies

7Geoeconomic Diplomats as Sanctions ‘Shapers’
 1 Leveraging Geoeconomic Network Positions: Consequences for Policy-Makers and Diplomats

 2 The Explanatory Power of Pragmatism: Diplomats as ‘Shapers’ of Geoeconomic Practices

 3 Normatively Blindsided? Facing the Moral Dilemmas of Geoeconomic Diplomacy

Conclusions Identifying the Human Impact on Economic Power Politics



The book targets scholars and practitioners of sanctions, geoeconomics, and economic statecraft as well as those focusing on the intersection of diplomacy studies, international practice theory, and foreign policy implementation.
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