International emotional resonance: Explaining transatlantic economic sanctions against Russia

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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
Issue number1
Early online date24 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


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


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