NEW DELHI: As the world becomes more economically integrated, a complex web of asymmetric interdependences has emerged, allowing some states to wield disproportionate economic power. Consequently, recourse to economic coercion as a tool for compelling, deterrence, or co-optation has become much more frequent in current times. Debates around dependence-induced strategic and critical vulnerabilities have thus gained traction with an end objective to reduce or mitigate them. But a lack of conceptual framework underpinning the ideas of dependence, vulnerabilities, and strategic and critical vulnerabilities plagues the present decision-making apparatus, which runs the risk of treating subjects under each of these categories as synonymous. To prevent a one-size-fits-all approach emanating from the lack of conceptual differentiation, this paper presents a framework, in the form of a series of tests, to understand whether trade in a certain commodity between countries can be classified as a critical vulnerability.
In a world characterised by anarchy, states pursue goals based on their respective national interests. However, their relative capabilities (power) to meet those ends differ, thereby giving rise to a hierarchical structure to this anarchic global order. Military capabilities are a conventional tool of coercion, employed by states to pursue national interests in this global order. However, as the world has become deeply integrated, deploying the military option has become more challenging, owing to the increased cost associated with it. ...Read More
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