What to do about Syria? The inventive wonks at CGD think they have a neat answer:
“The main financial and legal centres of the world should declare that any contracts signed after today by a regime which has been designated illegitimate will be regarded as odious, and will not be enforceable in their jurisdictions.”
CGD’s proposal uses the location in US and UK of international financial centres and the courts that enforce international contracts, including for Syria’s oil and arms trade, to get round the UN sanctions bottleneck and raise costs for the Syrian regime. “It would stoke internal opposition, and reduce odious debts for a future Syrian government.”
Smart sanctions indeed. There’s also a two page briefing and CGD’s Kim Elliott explains all in a 4 minute video:
For those wondering how research institutions and think tanks can respond better to shocks, rather than just grind out their research plans and lists of recommendations, whether anyone in power is listening or not, CGD is not a bad place to start (but yes, it helps if you have core funding and so don’t have to spend your whole time chasing research grants, and CGD has that luxury).