The perfect sanction would penalize Putin and his cronies while causing no harm to ordinary Russian citizens or to the United States and its allies. Alas, such a sanction does not exist, says Emily Kilcrease, senior fellow and director of the energy, economics and security program at the Center for a New American Security in Washington.
“We do need to be willing to take some of that pain as well,” Kilcrease told me. “We’ve already used the sanctions that don’t cause us a lot of pain,” such as travel bans on Putin allies and a ban on providing technology and loans to the Russian oil and gas sector. New sanctions would hurt companies that do business with Russia and could lead to retaliation. “Western banks should be prepared for cyberattacks,” Kilcrease said. “Clearly there is a scenario here where there’s a further escalation.”
Russia has braced itself for sanctions by building its stockpile of foreign-exchange reserves. Likewise the West has braced itself by, among other things, asking oil and gas producers to be prepared to raise their output if needed to offset the loss of fuel from Russia.
The West’s strategy must be a calculated combination of clarity and ambiguity, Kilcrease said. “The piece you want to be clear about is the range of options you’re considering,” she said. On the other hand, she added: “We don’t want to give him the entire playbook because then he could say, ‘Well, we can live with that.’ We want to leave room for escalation if needed.”
The share of U.S. local daily newspapers owned by private equity funds increased from about 5 percent in 2002 to about 23 percent in 2019. What was the result? To find out, Michael Ewens of the California Institute of Technology and Arpit Gupta and Sabrina Howell of New York University’s Stern School of Business painstakingly built and then analyzed a database of 1,610 newspapers, 262 of which have ever been owned by private equity.
In a working paper circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research this month, Ewens, Gupta and Howell conclude that private-equity ownership leads to higher digital circulation and lower chances of newspapers’ shutting down. However, they write, “the composition of news shifts away from local governance, the number of reporters and editors falls, and participation in local elections declines.”