A crude recap of topics relevant to my question:
- Sanctions imposed
- Russia deplatformed from SWIFT (other payment systems exist, but
- Drone/UAV support to Ukraine
- Harsh rhetoric from US
- Russia 'weaponized' gas
- Bilateral trade between Russia/China goes up
First and foremost, "isolating" any country in the digital/transportation age is nigh-hubris. But for the sake of argument, suppose it can be, at least to a degree. After all, how many Lloyds of London are there? A lot of the world's top insurers are in the "US and allies" umbrella; if no one underwrites Russia's cargo, it could have all the resources in the world but still feel major pinches on its income from the massive risk perceived by counterparties.
Flip side of sanctions
In the months following sanctions, we're seeing a tragedy of commons type of fallout: a few countries are benefiting while a large number are struggling. The US and its allies hold clout; but they are not the world. One expert on the subject, [Marko Papic](https://www.linkedin.com/in/marko-papic-geopolitics) contends that we are now in a multi-polar global system. This means the equilibrium is for more countries to cooperate and maximize competitive gains. In this sense, if some states take it upon themselves a moral or national security dimension, they will forego a level of commerce. This might not sound too bad on paper, but running out of funds or paying more during a time of scarcity can be very destabilizing for any country. Reshoring may work for some states, but the supply side of energy is very inelastic. Getting arable land when your country has none will be akin to terraforming Mars. We may turn to the plight of Sri Lanka to see the consequences of food shortages. Though Sri Lanka may be an extreme case with its own idiosyncrasies, I feel the point stands that emerging economies may be least equipped to adapt to a more expensive consumer staples regime. And even for developed economies, a cold European winter needs little explanation.
On the one hand, if Moldova or some other non-NATO member was annexed by Russia, then it would be hard to avoid escalating along the above measures. It would be difficult to defend non-isolationist policy at that point, if not something more aggressive. However, on the other hand, assuming status quo, then the cost benefit arithmetic may change, given all the aforementioned costs that the rest of the world shoulders.
I've seen an interview where a former white-house official said he supports isolating Russia "but of course is willing to engage on nuclear arsenals." In a way it seems dangerous to stratify one's policy to such an extent where you are having open dialogue on one thing but enacting the exact opposite policy on other areas (trade, investment). Assuming isolation is possible and works, then it could be argued that Russia's deterrence from "choosing the nuclear option" would decrease.
It could be choosing the best of a host of bad options, but what is the conventional political science viewpoint on this topic as it evolves and we have more evidence (as I laid out above) about collateral damage by isolating Russia?