Prodding a Stick at an Angry Pit Bull

US-Iran Foreign PolicySecretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton released a statement today in Paris that if China did not place sanctions on Iran with the United States, it would “face economic insecurity and diplomatic isolation.” China, a major importer of crude oil from Iran, has invested in the country’s oil and gas sector and preferred to negotiate with Iran instead. The danger for the United States in this particular scenario lies within China’s ability to veto the sanction on Iran within the United Nations. However, the real question is asking what truly defines American national interest. 

For a country that is severely in debt to China, one would question why the United States is threatening the Asian power with “economic insecurity” to begin with. Furthermore, we see an unhealthy dependency between two state governments that owe one another money. With this comes the danger of governments hoarding private sector dollars. No matter how capitalistic economists may argue China is, both China and the US have functioned almost similarly in that government directs the flow of money through a central banking system, whether it is The People’s Bank of China or the Federal Reserve. And through that directing, governments now have the ability to threaten one another on behalf of what they claim is the greater good.

Not only is economic dependency dangerous, but so is prodding a stick at an angry pit bull.

Additionally, we also see the failures of collective action. The colloquial “Stag Hunt” or “Prisoner’s Dilemma” proves correct. Collective action always fails because there will always be an international player who defects before choosing to cooperate. In the case of the United Nations, a single veto can upset an entire resolution, hence the ineffectiveness of the UN or any association that believes in its productivity. Remember how easily the US was able to invade Iraq?

From an American point of view, the best solution to this issue is clearly the national interest. And what exactly is this national interest? “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” 

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