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The Economic Weapon


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About the Author

Nicholas Mulder is an assistant professor of modern European history at Cornell University and regular contributor to Foreign Policy and The Nation.


"Mr Mulder, of Cornell University, looks at sanctions over the three decades after the first world war-and reaches unsettling conclusions . . . The lessons are sobering."-The Economist

"Mulder charts how the rise of economic sanctions and blockade during the interwar years, as a tool to enforce peace, drove the autarkic policies of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, ultimately destabilising the international system rather than fortifying it."-Robin Harding, Financial Times

"Mulder argues in his impeccably well researched and, because of its timeliness, gripping book that "sanctions did not stop political and economic disintegration but accelerated it" in the interwar period...Mulder's book provides an uncomfortable warning that while sanctions have sometimes worked, they have also been contentious, ineffective and counterproductive."-Emma Duncan, The Times

"Valuable . . . offers many lessons for Western policy makers today."-Paul Kennedy, Wall Street Journal

"Original and persuasive analysis. . . . For those who see economic sanctions as a relatively mild way of expressing displeasure at a country's behavior, this book, charting how they first emerged as a potential coercive instrument during the first decades of the twentieth century, will come as something of a revelation."-Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

"As Nicholas Mulder shows in The Economic Weapon, a much longer history lies behind the invention of modern sanctions."-Tom Stevenson, London Review of Books

"A fascinating new book . . . Taken as a superbly researched work of history, it lights up key aspects of the 20th century in a deeply thought-provoking way."-Noel Malcolm, Daily Telegraph

"[A] superb study of sanctions during the interwar era...Mulder's fascinating story weaves together politics, economics and law [and] provides invaluable insight into the experience of sanctions one hundred years ago."-Max Harris, Times Literary Supplement

"An excellent historical study...Western countries have directed an unprecedentedly severe battery of punitive economic measures against Russia...For those of us seeking better to understand this reaction and gauge its likely efficacy, there is no better place to turn that Cornell historian Nicholas Mulder's erudite and uncannily timely book on the origins of economic sanctions."-Alexander Watson, Literary Review

"The Economic Weapon is a superb account of the history of sanctions, and their profound impact on international politics. Although sanctions were once heralded as a force for peace, Mulder shows they often fail and sometimes make war more likely or even produce a humanitarian nightmare."-John Mearsheimer, author of The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities

"This is a tour de force of historical research and argument. With great subtlety and richness, Nicholas Mulder transforms our understanding of twentieth century global and international history."-David Edgerton, King's College London

"Mulder reveals the history of liberalism&rsqup;s ultimate weapon. An essential contribution both to scholarship and to the present day debate on economic sanctions."-Adam Tooze, author of Shutdown: The Global Crises of 2020

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