China Economic Review highlights this WSJ story on American diplomatic efforts to get the Chinese to buy more oil from Saudi Arabia. The idea is that if China buys less oil from Iran, they will be more inclined to support the sanctions the Americans are proposing.
What about a converse situation? Instead of pressuring the Chinese to abandon their Iranian contracts, we could be lifting sanctions and doing more business with Iran. Didn’t someone once say that if goods don’t cross borders, armies will? We should be increasing ties to the Iranians – including business, academic and cultural connections – so as to decrease animosity.
Some will say that this would “reward” the Iranians for “bad behavior.” Nonsense. What have sanctions brought us, except more hostility? Even the Iranian protesters who were out on the streets demonstrating against Ahmedinejad do not favor sanctions against the regime they have far more reason to despise than we do.
If we really care about the brave Iranian souls who were out fighting for democracy this summer, we should reject sanctions and work toward the normalization of relations, which means doing business together.