Economic warfare

Economic warfare, or economic war, is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as involving "an economic strategy based on the use of measures (e.g. blockade) of which the primary effect is to weaken the economy of another state".[1]

In military operations, economic warfare may reflect economic policy followed as a part of open or covert operations, cyber operations, information operations[2] during or preceding a war. Economic warfare aims to capture or otherwise to control the supply of critical economic resources so friendly military and intelligence agencies can use them and enemy forces cannot.

The concept of economic warfare is most applicable to conflict between nation states, especially in times of total war, which involves not only the armed forces of an enemy nation, but also a mobilized war economy. In such a situation, damage to the enemy's economy is damage to its ability to fight a war. Scorched earth policies have often been applied to deny resources to an enemy.

Policies and measures in economic warfare may include blockade, blacklisting, preclusive purchasing, rewards and the capturing or the control of enemy assets or supply lines.[3] Other policies, such tariff discrimination, sanctions, the suspension of aid, the freezing of capital assets, the prohibition of investment and other capital flows, and expropriation,[4] even if without war, may be referred to as economic warfare.