The Uses and Abuses of Weaponized Interdependence in 2021

Dan Drezner shares his thoughts on weaponized interdependence as a tool for economic statecraft, via his Washington Post column.
Daniel Drezner

Weaponized Interdependence: How Global Economic Networks Shape State Coercion.” The hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts were pretty big fans of the paper. Farrell and Newman were not the first to observe that states could exploit interdependence to engage in economic statecraft. That is a tale as old as Albert Hirschman. What was novel about Farrell and Newman’s work was the application of network theory to explain how coercing actors could exploit interdependence and why targeted actors would find it difficult to evade coercion attempts.

The highest compliment I can pay Farrell and Newman is this: I have worked on questions of economic statecraft for more than 20 years and was absolutely furious that they had observed bits and pieces of this idea floating in the scholarly ether, thought about it rigorously, and made it so darn clear and compelling for everyone else.

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