Sanctions are Stupid

by Will on October 26, 2010

It used to be, you couldn’t stop France and Germany from going to war with each other. They’re both great countries whose citizens have many admirable talents. They’ve given us, between the two, a lot of really good books and movies and beverages and mechanics. But unhappily, nature placed them right next to each other, and that used to cause a lot of problems.

Since the madness of World War II, the leaders of France and Germany have wisely sought to avoid further conflict. Instead of seeking conflicts, they have traded with each other. French people buy lots of German stuff and invest in German companies, and German people buy lots of French stuff and invest in French companies. As this has gone on for a long time, people in both countries now have a surprisingly warm regard for people in the other country. And there are no threats, and nobody expects the two countries to go to war again any time soon.

Trade seems to be the one thing that really works to prevent war. It seems to work really well. That’s important, because most of the things advertised as preventing war don’t work at all.

And yet, when there is a situation where tension occurs between us and some foreign power, our reaction is to suspend trade. To put it otherwise: when we fear the threat of war, we stop doing the one thing that makes war less likely. This is insane and must end.

Why not let Cuba, Iran, and North Korea buy our stuff? Why not buy anything cool they’re making? Isn’t it better if they’re busy trying to come up with cool stuff to sell us, rather than steaming and thinking of ways they can best us militarily?

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