Those such as Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson who advocate increasing economic ties with China often argue, persuasively in my view, that China’s economic development is likely to lead to political reform and a more cooperative international disposition.
Why then do these same officials refuse to acknowledge the potential benefits of engagement with Iran?
Farah Stockman’s article in today’s International Herald Tribune explains how the Treasury Department is actively working to prevent Iranian nationals living in Dubai from partnering with locals to start their own businesses.
The article notes that, “[The government controls] an estimated 85 percent of Iran’s economy. But many of the Iranian businesses in Dubai are run by small traders from Iran’s tiny, struggling private sector, which is often at odds with officials in Tehran.”
These entrepreneurs seem like just the kind of outward-looking, progressive elements within Iranian society that we should be seeking to empower.
I hope that the next president takes advice from those like Flynt Leverett and others who have laid down the parameters for a policy of engagement.
— Ben Katcher