For the economy, fighter jets and fleets are deployed. For the economy, wars are fought. Bottom lines are very often red lines. Look at the United States in Iraq, for example.
The latest iteration is the US-British military response to the Houthis, which is in harmony with the wider US-Iranian ‘rules of engagement.’
Called Operation Guardian of Prosperity, it aims to end Houthi piracy in the Red Sea, which is proving to be very effective for the Yemen-based group.
Container ships, together with oil and gas tankers, have chosen to round Africa at the Cape of Good Hope since 19 November rather than brave Houthi missiles for the much shorter route through the Suez Canal.
When we think of economic sanctions, we tend to think of them as being imposed by major powers — especially the United States and its Western allies — to pressure and subjugate other countries, such as Iraq, Iran, and Russia.
Yet observers of the situation in the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, and the Red Sea in general, would be forgiven for thinking that sanctions had been imposed by Iran, which supports the Houthis and provides them with weapons.
These ‘sanctions’ are not only on the US for its support of Israel in its war of extermination against Gaza but on the entire international community, irrespective of its stance vis-à-vis Israel.
So far, the Houthis have succeeded in causing major disruption in world trade, which could be described as ‘collateral damage’.
This concept is familiar to great powers, who have long explained that every war has human or material repercussions — whether intentional or not.