While troops on the ground may not be feasible to counter Vladimir Putin and Russia in Ukraine (nor should that be considered), if the powers that be are bent on retaliating against Russia for breaking international treaties by invading Ukraine, Robert Kimmit and Stephen Myrow (both former Treasury officials) point out that America’s best leverage would be economic.
The U.S. is not in a position to confront Russia militarily over Ukraine, nor is it in our interest to do so. But that does not mean America and its allies are without options. If we exploit the full range of national-security tools available, especially economic and financial leverage, Russia may learn that the appropriate historical analogy is not the Georgia crisis in 2008, but rather the ruble crisis in 1998—which led to devaluation and default and marked the beginning of the end for President Boris Yeltsin. In this instance, Mr. Putin may find that trying to maintain his hold on domestic power by fending off a recession is more important than sowing instability among Russia’s neighbors.