Missing the Point on SWIFT Sanctions

Missing the Point on SWIFT Sanctions

What President Biden would rather leave unsaid are the reasons why we can’t fully cut Russia off from the system that makes global commerce go.


hen the news broke Saturday night that the Biden administration and our allies in Europe, Canada, Japan, and elsewhere were reversing course on their refusal to cut Russia off from the SWIFT communications system that facilitates global commerce and finance, my first reaction was: I’ll wait to see the fine-print.

And sure enough, subsequent reporting elucidated that, while SWIFT channels to Russia are being narrowed, they are not being closed. The West cannot afford to close them. Furthermore, SWIFT — the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, the messaging consortium that makes global commerce and finance go — is too valuable …

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