On Wednesday’s “Mornings on the Mall” on WMAL 105.9 FM in Washington, D.C., Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul argued the best means for the United States to influence rogue nations like Iran and North Korea would be to flex its economic muscle against those nations’ trading partners, especially China and Russia.
Paul noted the United States doesn’t have trade relations with either North Korea or Iran, so it would have to be done so through intermediaries like Russia and China.
“I think the first thing we have to do is understand that the answer to a lot of the vexing problems in the Middle East, as well as North Korea, I think do involve engagement and this means engaging with some of the people who have been the trading partners of both Iran and North Korea,” Paul said. “You know, we don’t have any trade with them, so it’s not like we influence either nation through withholding trade. I have been in favor of sanctions, and I think they have helped to a certain degree. But I think ultimately we need to convince people like Russia and China that it is in their self-interest to trade with America, that we are a much bigger self-interest for them than either North Korea or Iran is.”
Paul said in the end it would be China and Russia own self-interest to put the United States’ interests ahead of Iran or North Korea, since the United States can provide much more trade wealth than either of those two countries.
“The leverage is basically trade, I think,” Paul said. “The leverage is our engagement and our ability to provide through trade wealth to these countries. And it goes both ways. It’s in our self-interest to trade with China and to trade with Russia. But they need to be aware that that trade is dependent on them trying to get their client states to cooperate. And I think if that lever were used and if Russia could be convinced, and China convinced, that it’s in their self-interest to help bring these rogue nations back from the brink, then I think it’s possible that could happen.”