Alan Cafruny

During spring break, Alan Cafruny, the Henry Platt Bristol Chair of International Affairs and Professor of Government, participated in several academic events in London.

In a presentation for the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, he discussed “The U.S. Sanctions Offensive: Implications for the Transatlantic Relationship.” The talk was based on a chapter he contributed to the recently published Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Sanctions, edited by Ksenia Kirkham.

Cafruny suggested that the term “sanctions boomerang” aptly characterizes the impact of sanctions imposed on Russia over the past decade, and especially since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

“The sanctions on imports of natural gas alongside the sabotage of the Nordstream pipeline have been very harmful to the resource-dependent European economies and especially devastating to Germany,” he said. “By contrast, they have been largely (although not entirely) beneficial to Russia … [and have] also provided a commercial windfall to U.S. companies who have realized their longstanding desire to replace cheap Russian gas with their own more expensive supplies.

“When enacted against powerful and resilient countries such as China and Russia they are not only politically but also economically counterproductive in the context of nascent global multipolarity under which target countries can forge alternative trading and payment systems that reduce their dependence on the United States,” Cafruny concluded.

Cafruny also convened a workshop hosted by the Department of European and International Political Economy at King’s College London. Organized with Leila Talani of King’s College, the event included 10 authors of chapters in Cafruny and Talani’s forthcoming edited book, Globalisation in a Turbulent Era.

Finally, as a visiting fellow at the Royal Docks School of Business at the University of East London (UEL), Cafruny and UEL’s Vassilis Fouskas organized a workshop titled “Ukraine: Politics and Economics of War.”

It was based on recent articles on the political economy of war co-authored by the two, including “Europe, the World Economy, and New Imperial Grossraums,” published in March in Socialist Register 2024. The purpose of the workshop “was to assess under-examined aspects of conflict and broader implications including Eurasia’s new oil and gas landscape emerging from the two-year-long conflict, the resultant deepening de-industrialisation of Germany and Europe, and the role of China and India alongside the growing influence of the ‘global south,’” Cafuny said.

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